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Documenting food insecurity, sovereignty

Director Tsanavi Spoonhunter talks about her award winning film and our Associate Editor Vincent Schilling joins the newscast with the Native Nerd Report.
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Tsanavi Spoonhunter is on today's show to discuss her award winning documentary Crow Country: Our Right To Food Sovereignty.

Plus while you spend the holiday's at home, our associate editor Vincent Schilling has all the latest on movies that feature Indigenous actors and stories in his Native Nerd Report.

Some quotes from today's show

Tsanavi Spoonhunter:

"I'm glad that you brought my fellowship up with Indian Country Today during that summer, because that's kind of what led me into researching a little bit more about the film and the issue, which stems from the court case Herrera versus Wyoming. I was actually closing out my fellowship with Indian Country Today, and I remember Mark Trahant talking a little bit about the court case. And even though Herrera won, the state of Wyoming still needed to set boundaries for Crow members to hunt. So currently tribal members can still get cited and fined right now in the state."

"I'm glad that you brought that up because a lot of people who I've interviewed with previously, they automatically assume because I'm Native American I'm already welcomed and it's different because like you said, I am Arapaho and Paiute, I’m not Crow. And so going into the community, it's just like with any work in journalism, trying to do some interviews, get to know people. And for myself with filmmaking, it was trying to cast. And so going out there, a journalist named Luella Brien who works at the Big Horn County news. And so she was wonderful. She put me in contact with tribal members that I was able to talk to that were actually working hard to overcome the food insecurity issue on the ground."

"I had one last shoot to go out to Crow and do some more filming of the film. It would have been a little bit longer, unfortunately like two days before I had to fly out for my last shoot my professors are like you can't go. The majority of the decision making was because on my part, if I went to like a vulnerable community, I was in California, so I was more of a risk than anything else. So I had to stay. And then the whole film festival circuit, it's online. It's my first film festival run and I've never experienced it before, but it's just different, I guess. I don't know how to think any other way than what I am right now in the process that I’m going through right now. So I guess that's a little bit positive in a way."

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Vincent Schilling:

"The New Mutants it's been one of those films that was kind of hit hard by Coronavirus in terms of being released. And they were one of the last, if I'm not mistaken to sign a contract where they actually had to appear in theaters first, which really kinda diminished how many people could see it at first. And the reason it's significant for Indian Country is the lead actor is Blu Hunt. And she's a Native person who plays Danielle Moonstar, who was a Native lead character. Back in the eighties Chris Claremont created the New Mutants and it was a diverse cast." 

"It was pretty exciting for me anyways. I actually interviewed Blu Hunt before it came out and the reviews weren't great on it when it first came out and I just finally saw it. It just finally came out on video on demand. I know it's on YouTube and you can buy it there as well as a couple other movie places anywhere I think. But I saw it and I'm like what are the critics railing about? I actually really enjoyed it. You know I'm a true comic nerd of course so I really enjoy the psychological complexities of things and I thought it was well cast and well done and I really enjoyed it. We can even watch the trailer we'll we'll we'll we can watch some of that now."

"Yellowstone is now in its third season and you can go to the Paramount movies site or they now have it on Peacock. Kevin Costner plays a rancher in the Dutton family against Chairman Rainwater of the Broken Rock reservation played by Gil Birmingham. And it's a pretty intense series. They actually talk about a lot of the issues that affect Indian Country. A lot of things like people who come onto reservation territory looking to abduct a woman and things like this and the backlash between families and then the backlash between a rancher who owns a lot of property and how the chairman feels about it and fracking and it's a very intense, very high energy series. And Gil, Birmingham ham pulls it off as well as Moses Brings Plenty, and a lot of the other Native actors and actresses on here. And Kevin Costner does a great job. So it's a great show. It's pretty intense. Honestly, I enjoy it."

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider

Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, is associate editor of Indian Country Today who enjoys creating media, technology, computers, comics and movies. He is a film critic and writes the #NativeNerd column. Twitter @VinceSchilling. Email: he is also the opinions’ editor,

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