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Awake, A Dream from Standing Rock is a powerful visual poem in three parts that uncovers complex hidden truths with simplicity. The film is a collaboration between indigenous filmmakers: Director Myron Dewey and Executive Producer Doug Good Feather; and environmental Oscar-nominated filmmakers Josh Fox and James Spione. Moving from summer 2016, when demonstrations over the Dakota Access Pipeline's demolishing of sacred Native burial grounds began, to the current and disheartening pipeline status
This short animation by acclaimed First Nations filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin creates a charming study of life at Christmas time in Moose Factory, an old settlement mainly composed of Indian families on the shore of James Bay. Composed entirely of children's crayon drawings and narrated by a little girl, the film illustrates incidents big and small with childish candor, conveying to the viewer a strong sense of being there.
View the full movie at the link. Provided free by the filmmaker.
In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. “When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator… As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn’t get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it’s one of those dreams that bothers you night and day.” Now, four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retrace the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution.
Haida artist Robert Davidson is one of the foremost cultural icons of the age. This film features candid and revealing conversations with the artist himself, along with commentary from art historians, politicians, musicians and family members detailing the importance and impact of Davidson's work.
Reveals the inner beauty of the young women who compete in [the Miss Navajo Nation beauty pageant]. Not only must contestants exhibit poise and grace as those in typical pageants, they must also answer tough questions in Navajo and demonstrate proficiency in skills essential to daily tribal life: fry-bread making, rug weaving and sheep butchering. [The film] follows the path of 21-year old Crystal Frazier, a not-so-fluent Navajo speaker and self-professed introvert, as she undertakes the challenges of the pageant.
Filmmaker Tracey Deer left the Kahnawake Native reserve, eventually graduating from Dartmouth University. Now she has returned to explore with insight, humour and compassion the lives of three teenagers as they tackle the same issues of identity, culture and family she faced a decade earlier.
Directed by Drew Hayden Taylor, this feature documentary hilariously overturns the conventional notion of the "stoic Indian" and shines a light on an overlooked element of Indigenous culture: humour and its healing powers. Featuring an engaging cast of characters, the film is an in-depth, laugh-a-minute tour of complex issues like identity, politics, and racism.
View the full movie at the link. Provided free by Grand Portage National Monument.
The film's narrator gives voice to a contemporary Ojibwe man recalling his family's and his peoples' enduring culture, and brings to life a story of a time when the Grand Portage Ojibwe were one of the most powerful tribes on the Great Lakes and vital trading partners with the storied North West Company. Ojibwe actress, Gloria Ranger, portrays our storyteller's great grandmother, Adaawaweikwe. During the fur trade era, hers was a position of power and influence. She used her skills as a guide and translator to advocate for her people. She and other Ojibwe women were influential in creating successful trading agreements between the Ojibwe and the North West Company.
Northeastern Minnesota COVID-19 Community Archive Project Interviews
In this music video, the Jaakola-Ripley family plays a song written by Jagger Ripley-Jaakola and Xander Ripley-Jaakola entitled "Couch Potato." The video also contains an artist statement from Lyz (Elizabeth) Jaakola: “Couch Potato” is a song we came up with during COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order. Hopefully our song and video will encourage others in our community to be safe, active, creative, practice social distancing when not with their families, and be kind to each other. The song lyrics were written by my 7-yr old, Jagger, and 13-yr old, Xander. Once they wrote the words, we put them to a rhythm. The rhythm inspired a beat made by the 20-yr old, Hunter. Then came the bassline, the chords followed and voicings in a jam session around the beat. We realized that these seemingly disjointed lyrics had a cool symbiosis with how we were trying to get through COVID self-isolation, especially after performing them for one of our nightly "Isolation Band" Facebook Live sessions.
Ivy Vainio discusses her photography, work, and home life during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a digital photographer who enjoys taking photos and portraits at events. She shares stories about struggling to find the "spark" to do her own digital photography while sheltering at home, a struggle she feels she shares with many other artists during the quarantine. She discusses how it is hard for artists to show and sell their work right now. She shifted some of her focus to vegetable gardening at home, something she hated as a child. Now she sees her garden as a place where "all that stress and all that day-to-day stuff just goes away" and she feels good about the hard working paying off in tomatoes and lettuce. She also discusses her many roles as Program/Events Coordinator, Communication Specialist and Cultural Arts Coordinator at the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). (and other topics)
Jeremy Davis shares his experience of living during the time of COVID-19. He talks about the challenges of being an essential worker as a drywall taper, where many of his coworkers do not wear masks. Jeremy is a pow wow dancer, and plays drums and sings with a group called Cedar Creek. The annual in-person pow wows have all been cancelled this year, which he misses greatly. He speaks with optimism about the new opportunities that have emerged, including social distance pow wows, that are bringing people together in a new way. o close, Jeremy offered a prayer of love and safety for each and every person. He then spoke in Ojibwe, and shared that he wishes for all people to be thankful for our lives, every day. (and other topics)
Karen Savage-Blue shares her perspectives, as an artist and art teacher of Ojibwe descent, related to the COVID-19 quarantine. She discusses the changes to education, including how her college suddenly closed in March of 2020 and it felt like an emergency such as a tornado. She describes using her skills as a teacher to adapt and change her teaching methods as needed for distance learning. She discusses recent changes to the Land O' Lakes butter packaging removing the "Indian Maiden" image painted by a Native American artist many years ago. She relates that removal to the pandemic and the lack of Indigenous representation in mainstream society. (and other topics)
Moira Villiard discusses her experiences as an artist and active community organizer in Duluth during the COVID-19 pandemic and the summer of 2020. She describes leading a community-engaged mural art project at the Clayton Jackson McGhie memorial after the death of George Floyd, partly in response to some graffiti on the memorial. Moira explains how her artistic and work life changed during the quarantine, from cancelled trips for speaking engagements or art projects, to needing to stay home more and not create art in public places such as coffee shops. She discusses the perspectives of friends from around the world and how the United States does not feel like a secure place to be during a pandemic. She describes how COVID-19 seems to be revealing inequities in this culture and making daily life more challenging for everyone. (and other topics)