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Indigenous representation in entertainment, arts

On Wednesday's newscast: highlights from the Sundance Film Festival, the "pretend Indian" problem, plus ICT Editor Mark Trahant shares a crowd sourced poem.

Sundance Film Institute’s Indigenous program offers a fellowship to an Indigenous female filmmaker annually. This year, Marja Bal Nango, Sami, from Sweden, was selected. This year’s Sundance Film Festival went virtual like everything else. ICT’s reporter Vincent Schilling covered the event.

Also on the newscast, Jeff Bear gives background on the “pretend Indian” problem. And, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences crowd sourced a poem, the project was in partnership with PBS and ICT’s Editor Mark Trahant was a part of it.

Some comments from Wednesday’s newscast:

Marja Bal Nango:

“I want the ownership of our films to be within our Sami community ... because as many people know the biggest producing companies in the areas where Indigenous people are, are non-Indigenous. That often makes it non-Indigenous produced production and of course that impacts the art.”

“It’s called, "I Love My Reindeer Herder." It’s about a young Sami boy, works as a reindeer herder, he has struggles with his sexual identity and gets in a conflict with his family. He gets entangled in an illegal setting because he wants to hide his identity. It’s set in the reindeer herder community in the cold arctic winters.”

“The cold has like its own character also. ”

Vincent Schilling:

“I joined the online world premiere of ‘Wild Indian’ with Michael Greyeyes.”

“Toughest part about the feature films, deciding what I should watch ... I watched 20 feature films.”

“I also loved ‘The Blazing World’... another standout was ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’.”

“There’s a lot to be excited about in this year’s Sundance, especially if you’re Indigenous.”

Jeff Bear:

“This has a long history in our country, going back to the creative arts, we have a fellow...he claimed to be Metis but he couldn’t identify that more than the word Metis. He was outed by the literary community.”

“The system is all about self-identification, all you have to do is self-identify, it’s checking a box ... It’s got to stop. It’s a crime to be taking jobs away and money away from Indigenous producers and writers who can come forward with their own stories.” 

Mark Trahant reads Lindsey J. from Mobile, AL:

“Fighting the good fight, lending their voices, demanding love, peace, change, justice, joy and liberation, their fists high in the sky for my people.”

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Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock, is editor of Indian Country Today. On Twitter: @TrahantReports Trahant is based in Phoenix.

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