INDIAN COUNTRY MEDIA NETWORK

NO MORE WAHOO: Cleveland Indians To Discontinue Chief Wahoo Logo in 2019


While Cleveland Indians’ fans may express a fondness for the cartoon caricature Chief Wahoo, many voices in Indian country have long fought against the stereotypical logo. On Monday, Major League Baseball (MLB) made an announcement that the Cleveland Indians will discontinue the use of the Chief Wahoo logo starting in 2019.

The decision was a mutual one between the MLB and the Indians franchise who have been in the spotlight the past several seasons due to their appearance in the MLB World Series’ games.

“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release. “Over the past year, we encouraged dialogue with the Indians organization about the club’s use of the Chief Wahoo logo. During our constructive conversations, [Indians owner] Paul Dolan made clear that there are fans who have a long-standing attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.

We’ve announced changes to our uniform for 2019. https://t.co/oVvWkSXjsZ pic.twitter.com/E7pGY59v9o

— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) January 29, 2018

“Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that removing it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course,” said Manfred.

Cleveland Indian Logos Since 1928

Since 1928 – A Pictorial History of the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo Logos

Cleveland Indians owner Paul Dolan also issued a statement / response: “We have consistently maintained that we are cognizant and sensitive to both sides of the discussion,” said Dolan.”While we recognize many of our fans have a long-standing attachment to Chief Wahoo, I’m ultimately in agreement with Commissioner Manfred’s desire to remove the logo from our uniforms in 2019.”

The MLB and the Cleveland Indians have made the decision to have Chief Wahoo removed from the on-field uniforms starting 2019, yet the logo will have a minor retail presence in order for the Indians to maintain the trademark. This is a legal maneuver to ensure another group cannot seize it and profit from the Chief Wahoo logo.

According to the MLB site, the Cleveland Indians may consider a new logo in the future, but will promote the capital letter C for now. There are no current plans to change the Indians’ team name.

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

April 8, 2002, file photo, fans hold up Chief Wahoo signs as they celebrate the Cleveland Indians’ win over the Minnesota Twins, in Cleveland, Ohio.

A strong force in Indian country, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) have already released a statement applauding the decision by the MLB and the Indians team owner.

“NCAI applauds today’s announcement by Major League Baseball that the league’s Cleveland franchise will retire the Chief Wahoo mascot and logo in 2019. NCAI has advocated for the eradication of offensive Native American-themed imagery from sports since 1968, and today’s announcement represents an important milestone for Indian Country in this effort.”

“NCAI has worked to educate Major League Baseball about this issue in recent years, sending several letters to the league highlighting the importance of removing this harmful mascot and logo, which resulted in a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last year. Damaging imagery like the caricature of Chief Wahoo denigrates Native people and is harmful to their self-esteem, particularly for Native youth. Commissioner Manfred recognizes this fact, and thus kept his word, fulfilling his commitment to work with the team to retire the Chief Wahoo logo. NCAI commends Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred for choosing to stand on the right side of history.”

Vincent Schilling

Jefferson Keel NCAI President

“Today’s announcement marks an important turning point for Indian Country and the harmful legacy of Indian mascots,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel. “These mascots reduce all Native people into a single outdated stereotype that harms the way Native people, especially youth, view themselves. Today’s news is a big step in the right direction, but much work remains, and NCAI will press on with this struggle until every single one of these harmful mascots is gone from the sports landscape.”

 

The NCAI also asserted that the MLB is setting an example for how professional sports leagues can and should respect Native peoples.

“NCAI encourages all major professional sports leagues to follow the lead of Major League Baseball by retiring all offensive Native American-themed mascots, names, and imagery.”

“Over the past four decades, NCAI, hundreds of tribal nations, and their many partners have succeeding in eliminating more than two-thirds (roughly 2,000) of the Native-themed mascots from sports at all levels (nearly 1,000 remain today). NCAI is pleased to add the Chief Wahoo mascot and logo to that long list.”

For more information, please see NCAI’s Proud to Be Initiative to learn how you can join the movement to eliminate harmful Native-themed mascots from sports.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post NO MORE WAHOO: Cleveland Indians To Discontinue Chief Wahoo Logo in 2019 appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Brigette Lacquette is 1st First Nations Woman on Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team


For the first time in Canadian Olympic history, a First Nations woman will be on the roster of Canada’s Olympic Hockey Team. Brigette Lacquette, 25, is a member of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan.

“To represent Canada being the first First Nation is such an honor to me,” said Brigette Lacquette, in a CBC news article by Brad Bellegarde. According to the article, Lacquette says watching Nunavut’s Jordin Tootoo play for Team Canada in the 2003 World Junior Championships was her inspiration.

A member of the Cote First Nation, Brigette Lacquette (@briglacquette) will play defence for Team Canada at the #PyeongChang2018 Winter Games. https://t.co/Vvs6rzw0fy

— Twitter Moments Canada (@CanadaMoments) January 26, 2018

Though she will be playing defense for the Canadian women’s Olympic team in Pyeongchang, Lacquette has previously represented her country in the 2015 IIHF women’s world championships.

Lacquette started playing when she was five years old and grew up in the rural community of Mallard Manitoba. She says her father was her greatest motivator. “I spent a lot of time on the outdoor rink with my dad,” she said to the CBC.

Lacquette’s family history of the Cote First Nation has strong ties to the Saskatchewan’s First Nations sports world. Lacquette told the CBC, one of her great sports memories was playing in the Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games with the Yorkton Tribal Council.

“My late grandpa was there watching. It was always nice to have him support me. He would always make it out. I know that weekend my parents couldn’t make it so my grandpa [did,]” Lacquette told the CBC.

“Just having him there and watching the games, and spending time with him that was one of my memories.”

Lacquette expressed excitement in a tweet after the announcement last month, “Words can’t describe this feeling… So humbled and honored to represent this amazing country.”

Words can’t describe this feeling… ?? So humbled and honored to represent this amazing country?? #PyeongChang2018 @HC_Women @TeamCanada pic.twitter.com/sAlTczX9ha

— Brigette Lacquette (@briglacquette) December 23, 2017

In addition to her time on the ice, Lacquette also serves as a role model for a kids. As an athlete with Classroom Champions www.classroomchampions.org,  Lacquette participates in the charitable organization’s year-long program connecting kids in Canada and athletes who share an Indigenous heritage.

Lacquette told the Calgary Herald, “I want to be the role model for them, just be the best player, the best person I can possibly be.”

What a great day! My @ClassroomChamps from Piitoayis Family School honoured us with a traditional drum song after practice #TheyAreRockstars pic.twitter.com/SgWaOpQwD6

— Brigette Lacquette (@briglacquette) January 18, 2018

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post Brigette Lacquette is 1st First Nations Woman on Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

An Extensive Conversation with ‘Hostiles’ Movie Director: Scott Cooper


Known for writing and directing such feature films as Crazy Heart (2009), Out of the Furnace (2013), Black Mass (2015) and most recently Hostiles (2017), Scott Cooper is an American director making a serious name for himself.

In Scott Cooper’s latest film Hostiles, starring the likes of Wes Studi, Christian Bale, Adam Beach and others, he addresses the American frontier and a budding Industrial Revolution that existed in 1892. Though the film is not directly a ‘Native American’ film, Cooper says the authenticity of Native representation and the accompanying accurate story was critical.

Courtesy Le Grisbi Productions - Waypoint Entertainment

An intense moment between Captain Joseph J. Blocker portrayed by Christian Bale and Chief Yellowhawk portrayed by Wes Studi in Scott Cooper’s film, Hostiles.

In an interview with Indian Country Today via telephone, Scott Cooper discussed why he decided to do a Western film in a world where cultural awareness is increasing, why he chose the name ‘Hostiles’ and why he says, “I have never learned more on any film that I have on this.”

Thanks so much for speaking with Indian Country Today. Have you read any reviews of your film Hostiles?

I generally try not to look at reviews. People treat films like blood-sport, which they don’t quite do with book novels or music. Sometimes people are in search of a different film then you are making, and they let you know it.

Although this film has been heartily embraced by some, it hasn’t been so much by others. My work tends to be a bit divisive.

I wrote a positive review in Indian Country Today.

This is much more important to me by the way, as opposed to a review written by someone who is not Native American and what their thoughts are on the film.

See related story: Hostiles Movie Review: A Profound Respect For Native Culture, A Gut Punch of Reality

Courtesy Waypoint Entertainment

Hostiles stars Rosamund Pike, Christian Bale and Wes Studi.

I also wrote that your film was a film ‘with respect for native culture,’ yet it was a ‘gut punch of reality.’

There is a lot of truth to that. How have the readers of Indian Country Today taken to that?

A lot of folks in Indian country have stated on social media they were waiting for a review from a Native perspective on whether or not they would watch the film. The response from the Native community has been overwhelmingly positive.

That is so great to hear.

Vincent Schilling

Hostiles is a movie about the world of American soldiers, white settlers, American Indians and the world that surrounded them all in 1892. Among the most notable Native actors in the film is Wes Studi, who portrays the Cheyenne Chief Yellowhawk.

I believe this to be one of Wes Studi’s best performances.

I am so happy to hear that. That means a lot to me. This is what Robert Duvall told me as well. Duvall is a long-time admirer of Wes Studi’s work.

The film lives up to its name Hostiles and wastes no time in getting into the action. What motivated you to complete such a film?

It was important for me to explore and remind people of a dark and unforgivable past and the genocide of Native American peoples. This historical trauma is continuing today.

I just showed the film to the Northern Cheyenne people last week in Montana. I spent the day at the Lame Deer reservation. To see and hear the stories of historical trauma continuing today is heartbreaking. I will never be able to shake the images and the feeling I had of being in the company of the Cheyenne. I tried to understood as much as I can as a white man, what they are dealing with on a daily basis.

In this film, It was critical for me to understand what our past as Americans was and how it continues to be an influence on Native people today. That is why I wanted to make this film.

Why did you choose this genre? Westerns are not often well-received in today’s culturally-aware climate.

I have said, that almost any self-respecting American director at one point or another in their career probably wants to make a Western. This is simply because, as Robert Duvall once said, ‘the English have Shakespeare, the French have Molière and we as Americans have Westerns.’

Westerns are very difficult to make. They can be expensive, and people say there isn’t an audience for them. I hope our film proves that to be wrong, as so many others in the past have. It was important for me to understand where we came from quite honestly.

Distinctly, this film is not about Native Americans, nor did I make a film about the US Cavalry. I made this film about America in 1892.

What makes things difficult, is when you make a film like Hostiles, which can be much more open to criticism than most films, given the lineage of Western films, to include the politics, the racism and dealing with one of the best genres ever made, automatically have a target on your back. I’m sure I’ve taken quite a few since making this movie, but as long as people can find a bit of themselves in the story, and the truth in the story, I’ve done my job. Oscars or no Oscars …

Out of curiosity, is this film based on any sort of true story?

No, not that I am aware of. I just peppered it with things that I have read in the past that are based on truth but this is not specifically a true story, no.

Director Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit were two Native consultants on the film. They expressed to me your concern in telling the Native aspect of the story with authenticity.

It was important for me to not pull punches in any way regarding the very real oppression the US Cavalry inflicted on Native Americans. I also did not want to shy away from how murderous some of the Comanche people could be toward American soldiers, settlers and even other Native Americans.

The title of the movie Hostiles, a reference to the United States government’s regard for incarcerated Native Americans as hostiles, the fact is, everyone in this film is a hostile in one way or another.

Courtesy Lorey Sebastian

Scott Cooper (kneeling with hat) on the set of ‘Hostiles’ speaking with Native actors. Native Director Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit (standing in the background) were on set each day as cultural consultants.

Native people seldom see such a level of cultural consideration and dedication to be authentic, why was this important to you as a director?

When you look at so many films that are considered to be some of our great American films that deal with the American West and Native Americans–most specifically the 40s and 50s–they are not populated with Native American or Indigenous peoples. They were populated with white, Armenians or Italian actors portraying Native Americans. That is just unforgivable.

If there is anything I strive for in my work, it is authenticity. Some people tend to like this authenticity, while others tend to like an idealized version of their art. I really have no interest in the latter. It was critical for me to gain as firm of an understanding about Native American culture as I possibly could, as a white man telling the story.

It was critical that I had Chris Eyre, Dr. Joely Proudfit, Chief Phillip of the Northern Cheyenne and his wife Lynette Two Bulls, who helped me better understand their culture, their values, their moiré, their language, their dialect, symbols, gestures and behavior. I learned as much as I possibly could to help tell the story.

Even though I’m telling the story from the point of view of a US Cavalry officer, (played by Christian Bale) my hope is a young Native American filmmaker can tell the story from Wes’s point of view, from Chief Yellowhawk’s point of view, so that we can understand where they came from, their historical trauma and speak to that story

I am telling the world a story about the United States in 1892 at the onset of the industrial revolution, and these men who were becoming obsolete, and the rise of reservations in all of these sort of things.

It has been heartening to see so much Native influence in your film.

I could not have made the film without the help of Chris Eyre, Dr. Joely Proudfit, Wes Studi, Chief Phillip and Lynette Two Bulls. I wrote the film specifically for Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Q’orianka Kilcher and more. Tanaya Beatty I had not yet been aware of, but another actor whom I greatly admire, Casey Affleck, recommended her to me.

From left to right: ‘Hostiles’ film director Scott Cooper, actors Wes Studi and Q’orianka Kilcher and consultants Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit.

When we auditioned, I met this young actor, Xavier Horsechief who lives on the Navajo Reservation, who plays Little Bear. He was fantastic and as far as I am aware, he has never been in a film. He is a wonderful kid, just soulful. He really has a beautiful soul.

It’s no secret I appreciated the film as I wrote in my review. I literally sat on the edge of my seat during this film.

A @HostilesMovie Review from a Native American Perspective.#HostilesMovie: “A Profound Respect For Native Culture, A Gut Punch of Reality”

Review by #NativeAmerican Journalist @VinceSchilling https://t.co/gylCZxNDlP

In theaters nationwide now. pic.twitter.com/MvPm7PZNZU

— Vincent Schilling (@VinceSchilling) January 26, 2018

I am so happy to hear that because this film is very subjective. You have your ancestry. Then there is Chief Phillip, Chris and Joely and other indigenous peoples that have seen the film. For them to embrace the film — and yourself included — means more to me than anyone quite honestly.

I think people will see the film this weekend as it goes nationwide, I have a good feeling that it will reach a wide audience. I hope that they embrace this as you have. It would mean so much to me.

What was something you learned about Native culture in the process of making this film?

I learned a great deal, and I have never learned more on any film that I have on this as it relates to Native Americans. I learned how compassionate, understanding and supportive of each other Native people can be.

We all know that Native Americans have been an extremely large part of the development of this nation and civilization we call America. I hope Native people feel as though this is a tribute to what They’ve gone through in terms of the world that we live in today.

I could not have done that if I did not understand the compassion of the Native American peoples, the historical trauma, that is so often not taught in American textbooks — and rarely talked about in television news unless it’s stolen land. Such as the incidents occurring at Standing Rock.

Quite frankly I learned how to be a more open person, I learned to be a more compassionate person. I learned to be more at peace with my thoughts and gained an understanding of who I am. I wanted to understand what brought us to the world of 2018. I have never learned anything more than I learned from this film.

How important was the cultural consultation from Dr. Joely Proudfit, Director Chris Eyre and Cheyenne speakers?

Chris Eyre, Joely Proudfit, Chief Phillip and his wife Lynette helped me better understand, the culture, the language and more. Every day before filming began, Chief Phillip would gather us together, the entire cast and crew, and he would bless the production. That meant a great deal to me on a personal level, it showed people, what we were making wasn’t just another film.

We were making something that could speak to the trauma of Native people and how we could make for a better life for those we’ve afflicted for so long.

Courtesy Lorey Sebastian

Chris Eyre, actress Rosamund Pike and Dr. Joely Proudfit on the set of ‘Hostiles.’

How was it working with the likes of Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Rosamund Pike and Christian Bale?

Christian Bale is one of my closest pals and we work closely together. He can say so much non-verbally with one look or one glance that many other actors can’t do with dialogue. Wes Studi is I believe to be a national treasure and he was so open to help me tell the story.

Rosamund Pike completely gave herself over to the character and the grief and the tragedy she endures. Adam Beach has been so wonderful for so long and Q’orianka Kilcher have all taken these characters and completely transformed them from the page to places I never dreamed they could take it to.

That is as heartening as it gets to a filmmaker.

You say Hostiles is not specifically a Native film, but rather a picture of the U.S. in 1892, but what is the overall message you wish to share?

I would say Vincent, that the message is that we need to better understand one another. We need to overcome our prejudices with one another, we need to search for personal enlightenment and we need reconciliation because I fear that our country is headed down a very dark and dangerous path.

Unless we can come together and better understand one another and offer reconciliation and healing to one another … this racial and cultural divide, this fissure that is now breaking America, is only going to get wider.

What would you say to young aspiring Native actors and directors about becoming a successful artist?

Tell your story, understand your history, tell it as authentically as you can. Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Continue, continue and continue believing in yourself, because you will meet ‘no’ at every turn.

Fantastic, hopefully we will see more respectful portrayals of Native people from you in the future.

You can definitely count on it.

###

Hostiles is playing theaters across the country now.

For more information visit the Hostiles movie Facebook page or visit the website at www.HostilesMovie.com.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post An Extensive Conversation with ‘Hostiles’ Movie Director: Scott Cooper appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

Graceful Puppetry and Native Actors Combine in ‘Ajijaak on Turtle Island’


Lovers of the Jim Henson’s muppet’s legacy and theatrical-based stories of the Ojibwe, Lakota, and Cherokee Nation, can look forward to a performance of Ajijaak on Turtle Island.  The play, directed by Heather Henson and Ty Defoe, is produced by Ibex Puppetry, a company founded in 2000 by Heather Henson, the daughter of the iconic muppets creator Jim Henson.

Courtesy Ibex Puppetry

A scene from ‘Ajijaak on Turtle Island’ includes Native actors interacting with a giant black serpent.

In addition to the contributions of the renowned contemporary puppet creator Heather Henson, artistic contributions to the play also include Grammy Award winner and champion hoop dancer from the Oneida and Ojibwe Nation, Ty Defoe (Giizhig,) Grammy and NAMA-nominated Mohawk artist Dawn Avery, and notable Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin performer and musician Kevin Tarrant.

Photo courtesy Ibex Puppetry

Champion hoop dancer, writer, and director Ty Defoe. On the right side of this image, Defoe performs a healing crane dance in ‘Ajijaack On Turtle Island.’

Other actors include Tony Enos, Joan Henry, Wen Jeng, Curtiss Mitchell, Adelka Polak, Sheldon Raymore, Josephine Tarrant and dancers Jake Montanaro, Jennifer Sanchez, Euni Shim and Dormeshia Ward.

Courtesy Ibex Puppetry

Some of the Native actors in ‘Ajijaack On Turtle Island’ include Josephine Tarrant, Sheldon Raymore, Tony Enos and Joan Henry.

The production is currently scheduled for tour dates in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center / Perelman Theater on Saturday Jan 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm and at the New York-based  La Mama Theatre February 8, 2018 through February 18, 2018. More dates are being considered by organizers.

The overview of Ajijaack on Turtle Island is described on the Philadelphia-based Kimmel Center website as follows:

In this coming of age story, follow our hero, Ajijaack as she learns lessons along the way from her mentors and friends: the buffalo, deer, frog, dragonfly, coyote, and a turtle activist family. On her heroic journey, pieces of the Ojibwe, Lakota, and Cherokee Nations are highlighted along with cultural rituals and practices of Indigenous Peoples’ on Turtle Island (North America). Reflecting our connectedness with all of creation, this immersive story is told through rituals and puppets, projections and kites, aerial antics and life-sized maps. Tracing the tragedies befalling cranes, of disappearing forests and lakes, this story celebrates the richness of indigenous cultures that honor and protect these majestic birds.

Courtesy Ibex Puppetry

Tony Enos, one of the Native actors in ‘Ajijaack on Turtle Island,’ maneuvers a coyote made entirely of corn husks.

Tony Enos, a two spirit Cherokee actor told Indian Country Today he was thrilled to be a part of Ajijaak on Turtle Island and has continuously marveled at the creativity of the play. He also said he was grateful for the cultural respect paid to the Native story.

“So much care was taken in making sure traditional elements were respected and woven properly into the fabric of the show. We wanted to walk through the show with honor and offer audiences a special message as Native and Indigenous individuals working to change native theater. The show is beautiful and it’s message simple: ‘Love and protect our Mother Earth, care for yourself and each other and never give up,’” said Enos.

#Philly stand up! See you Saturday night at #iPay for opening night of #Ajijaack at the #kimmelcenter email sam@ipayweb.org for your FREE tix now! #philadelphia #southphilly #southphiladelphia #eagles #flyeaglesfly #centercity #centercityphilly https://t.co/MC1MTUBSF3 pic.twitter.com/CXjeHi2wor

— tony enos (@tonyenos) January 23, 2018

In addition to Enos’ comment, members of the cast and crew sent their comments to Indian Country Today via email.

Ty Defoe, an Ojibwa and Oneida actor told Indian Country Today he hoped Ajijaack on Turtle Island would inspire youth and families from all cultural backgrounds including the Native community, to tell an authentic story about Native peoples. said “I’d really like all people to experience ways to honor the past, the present, and consider how we can give to the future,” wrote Defoe. 

Joan Henry (Tsalagi/Nde’/Arawaka) said the indigenous nature of the play, which included storytelling, relations to Mother Earth, animals, and plants was important. “The endangered and revered Whooping Crane introduces audiences to contemporary Native people in real time, with real concerns.”

Actor Wen Jeng said “I really don’t know how to describe Ajijaack on Turtle Island other than some kind of beautiful, some kind of magic,” while the production’s stage manager called the play, “a magical and beautiful flight.”

“It’s amazing how these animal puppets create a world where our imaginations allow us to listen to their messages of protecting earth’s natural resources,” said actor Sheldon Raymore of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

“I’m honored to be apart of this production,” wrote Raymore.

For performance information and tickets to Ajijaak on Turtle Island, visit the following sites:

Kimmel Center in Partnership with IPAY
300 S Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102
IBEX Puppetry: Ajijaack on Turtle Island
Saturday – Jan 27, 2018 – 7:00 PM
FREE TICKETS HERE

La MaMa Theatre Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th St, New York, NY 10003
February 8, 2018 – February 18, 2018
Thursday to Saturday at 7pm; Sunday at 2pm
$25 Adult Tickets; $20 Students/Seniors (plus $1 Facility Fee)
BUY TICKETS HERE

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Enjoy films for and about real Indians Natives when you download our special free report, 50 Must-See Modern Native Films and Performances!


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‘All Clear’ Called After Earthquake Threatens Tsunami off of Alaska’s Chignik Bay


A 7.9 quake off the coast of Alaska threatening a Tsunami has fallen flat and an ‘all clear’ has been called allowing evacuated residents to return home in Alaska communities. According to official reports from the National Weather Service, a powerful 7.9 earthquake hit just off the coast of Alaska and the Chignik Bay late Monday.

Initially, the quake prompted a tsunami warning for a large section of Alaska’s coast and parts of Canada.

The National Weather Service put out warnings to cellphones in Alaska, with the message, “Emergency Alert. Tsunami danger on the coast. Go to high ground or move inland.” One public station,  KMXT in Kodiak issued an urgent advisory: “This is a tsunami warning. This is not a drill. Please get out to higher ground.”

Later, the U.S. Tsunami Warning System downgraded the threat to an advisory for Alaska’s Chignik Bay.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there were several milder aftershocks after the quake and the epicenter was located about 6 miles below the surface and 175 miles southeast of Kodiak.

U.S. Tsunami Warning System

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System’s image of the offshore location of a 7.9 earthquake that prompted a possible tsunami warning.

In an NPR article, one of their member stations KTOO reported a mild result to the quake at that point, reporting only “several waves around the state of under a foot.”

After the downgrade, In Sitka, Alaska, schools converted to shelters during the tsunami warning were given the all-clear. Sitka’s evacuation affected a community of an approximate 9,000 on an island in Southeast, Alaska.

Reporter Emily Kwong of Raven Radio posted to Twitter:

“Chimes going off in Sitka, Alaska, as booming emergency voice sounds the all clear: ‘Repeat. The tsunami warning has been canceled. It is safe to return to coastal areas.’ City says school will happen today. Kids I’ve spoken with have mixed feelings about that.”

Chimes going off in Sitka, Alaska, as booming emergency voice sounds the all clear: “Repeat. The tsunami warning has been canceled. It is safe to return to coastal areas.” City says school will happen today. Kids I’ve spoken with have mixed feelings about that. #Tsunami pic.twitter.com/BVK3005WfJ

— Emily Kwong (@emilykwong1234) January 23, 2018

Six hours later Kwong posted: “UPDATE: No wave action reported in Sitka, Alaska. City still advising residents to remain on high ground, but nerves seem to calming at the school.”

Kwong also posted an image of two smiling girls sitting at at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, waiting for the ‘all-clear’ to return home.

“Valerie and Delilah Hinchman of Sitka wait for the all clear, signaling they can return to their homes. The island community was evacuated around 1 a.m., following a 7.9 earthquake off the Gulf of Alaska.”

Valerie and Delilah Hinchman of Sitka wait for the all clear, signaling they can return to their homes. The island community was evacuated around 1 a.m., following a 7.9 earthquake off the Gulf of Alaska. #Tsunami pic.twitter.com/Jsp84K4mF3

— Emily Kwong (@emilykwong1234) January 23, 2018

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post ‘All Clear’ Called After Earthquake Threatens Tsunami off of Alaska’s Chignik Bay appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

16th Annual State of Indian Nations Address To Kick Off NCAI’s Winter Session


On Monday, February 12, 2018, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel will deliver the 2018 State of Indian Nations (SOIN) address, which will be followed by the Executive Council Winter Session (ECWS).

Broadcasted live from Knight Studios at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Monday morning, President Keel’s SOIN address will outline the goals of tribal nations and their leaders, the opportunities for success and advancement of Native peoples, and the priorities for our nation-to-nation relationship with the United States.

Space is limited. Please RSVP ASAP: Press RSVP Here.

Directly following SOIN, ECWS will kick off on Monday afternoon. Held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., the conference will explore key issues facing Native American communities while providing tactical solutions primarily through legislative and policy planning and advocacy with the Administration and Congress.

The event features tribal leaders and more than 20 speakers from the White House, government agencies and Congress, including:

  • Ryan Zinke, Secretary, Department of the Interior
  • David Shulkin, Secretary, Department of Veteran Affairs
  • Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, Department of Justice
  • Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA)
  • Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND)
  • Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ)
  • Senator Jeff Merkley (OR)
  • Congressman Derrick Kilmer (WA)
  • Congressman Don Young (AK)
  • Senator Tom Udall (NM)
  • Congresswoman Norma Torres (CA)
  • Congressman Jack Bergman (MI)
  • Congressman Steve Pearce (NM)
  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (NV)
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK)

Please review the draft agenda here.

Contact NCAI Communications Associate with any questions at NCAIpress@ncai.org.

NOTE TO MEDIA:

2018 State of Indian Nations (SOIN) Address

Press registration will begin at 9:15 a.m. EST at the Group Entrance on C Street NW of the Newseum. Please note all press are required to wear press badges at all times and are asked to announce themselves to the moderator of each session they plan on attending.

Executive Council Winter Session (ECWS)

On-site press credentialing for ECWS takes place on Monday, February 12, 2018 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST. Credentialed press have access to all plenary sessions, as well as those sessions noted for press access on the agenda.

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About the State of Indian Nations:

Each year, the President of the National Congress of American Indians presents the State of Indian Nations address to members of Congress, government officials, tribal leaders and citizens, and the American public. The speech outlines the goals of tribal leaders, the opportunities for success and advancement of Native peoples, and priorities to advance our nation-to-nation relationship with the United States.

For more information, visit http://www.ncai.org/about-ncai/state-of-indian-nations.

About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org.

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Strange Inheritance Episode Features 250,000 Indian Arrowheads Once Denied to John Wayne


A North Carolina man by the name of Jerry Williams inherited a collection of nearly 250,000 ancient Indian arrowheads. The collection will be featured on the FOX Business Network series, Strange Inheritance with Jamie Colby, premiering Monday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. ET.

As described on the FOX Business Network site, the collection was originally gathered by a North Carolina couple, Moon and Irene Mullins who amassed the relics over a half-century beginning in the 1930’s. Moon Mullins willed the arrowheads to his friend and caregiver Jerry Williams.

The collection has grabbed the attention of Joe Candillo, Native American historian and a member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. “The Mullins Collection surpasses anything I’ve seen in private hands … It’s breathtaking. You’re just overtaken by the number of arrowheads.”

In the episode, Wayne Underwood, a friend of the North Carolina couple, tells Jamie Colby that Western movie star John Wayne once tried to buy it from Moon. “Not even John Wayne could convince him to part with it. Moon turned him down immediately,” said Underwood.

Underwood said the couple would “hunt all day long. They just loved life and they loved spending it together.” He said they found their biggest hauls on farms and fertile land where tribes built villages, leaving behind artifacts.

FOX Business Network

In the FOX Business Network series episode ‘Strange Inheritance with Jamie Colby,’ Wayne Underwood, tells the host Jamie Colby that the movie star John Wayne once tried to buy the collection of 250,000 arrowheads. The original owner said no immediately.

In 1982, Irene Mullins died at age 69. Jerry Williams and his wife moved in with Moon Mullins to care for him and keep the arrowheads from being lost if Mullins were to go to a resting home. Mullins died in 1987.

Wayne Underwood had hoped to buy the collection from Jerry Williams and his wife, knowing it was worth around a million dollars. But he didn’t have that much money.

Joe Candillo agrees the collection is extremely valuable. “As you go back in time, typically an arrowhead becomes more valuable. Some of the oldest points, my goodness, I have seen those go anywhere from five hundred to a couple thousand dollars.”

Watch the ‘Strange Inheritance: Indian Arrowheads’ preview video here.

Underwood and Williams struck a deal. Underwood agreed to pay one dollar from every ticket sold from his attraction and museum in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, called Mystery Hill for the rest of the couple’s lives. Once Underwood paid $300,000 he would own the collection.

To date, the Williams’ couple have received nearly $400,000 and Underwood is planning a new building to house the collection. Due to new laws making it illegal to take arrowheads from public lands Underwood’s collection may be the largest private collection ever.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Oklahoma City Theatre Company Announces Open Call For Scripts: Deadline February 15


The Oklahoma City Theatre Company has announced an open call for scripts with a deadline of February 15, 2018 for potential inclusion into their ninth annual Native American New Play Festival.  The company welcomes all American Indian, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian, Canadian First Nation and Indigenous Mexico playwrights to submit full-length plays written for the stage.

The Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s ninth annual Native American New Play Festival will take place June 7-9 and June 14-16, 2018 in the Oklahoma City Music Hall City Space Theatre.

The Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s 9th annual Native American New Play Festival is calling for full-length scripts written from an indigenous perspective and all themes and topics are welcomed. Though the company says plays may focus on historical or present-day issues, they are especially interested in plays that center on an Oklahoma tribe and tribal history.

The selection process will consider full length plays that are received by February 15, 2018 and will be read and evaluated by a panel comprised of Native American theatrical artists, Oklahoma City Theatre Company staff and community members.

The selection panel will select 2-3 plays for a staged reading during the festival based on originality, theatricality, and execution. One finalist will receive a staged reading with professional actors and a director during the festival and an audience discussion will follow the readings.

A full production will be awarded to one of the finalists from the readings and showcased as the featured production the following festival year, 2019. This year’s featured festival production is “Round Dance” by Arigon Starr (Kickapoo/Muskogee Creek).

Courtesy 'Round Dance' by Arigon Starr is this year's featured Courtesy Oklahoma City Theatre Company

‘Round Dance’ by Arigon Starr is this year’s featured production at the Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s ninth annual Native American New Play Festival.

Submission Guidelines from The Oklahoma City Theatre Company

All submissions must conform to a standard play-script format (one-inch margins, #12 Times or Courier font, all pages numbered). Plays that have had previous workshops and productions within the last five years are welcome.

Please include a production history if applicable. Include a title page with full contact information, (mailing address, phone numbers, email address) a draft or revision date and a character breakdown at the beginning of your script. Please provide a biography of 100 words and provide a photo of at least 300dpi. Please label all attachments as follows: Title of the play Author’s Last Name, First Initial.

To submit, email your submission materials at: mayatorralba@gmail.com

Deadline: February 15, 2018

The company accepts submissions written for the stage by Native American, Alaska Native, Hawaiian, First Nations, and Indigenous Mexico artists.

For more information about the festival, check out www.OKCTC.org  or www.NANPF.org

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Native Actor Wes Studi Talks About His Role as Chief Yellowhawk in ‘Hostiles’


Hostiles, a movie about the world of American soldiers, white settlers, American Indians and the world that surrounded them all in 1892, is slated to release in largely western markets this Friday. Among the most notable Native actors in the film is Wes Studi, who portrays Cheyenne Chief Yellowhawk.

In addition to Wes Studi’s role in the film, Christian Bale stars as the American soldier and officer Capt. Joseph J. Blocker and Rosamund Pike potrays a homesteader Rosalie Quaid. The movie also features an array of well-known actors such as Adam Beach, who portrays Yellowhawk’s son, Black Hawk, Q’orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman and Tanaya Beatty as Living Woman. Ben Foster portrays an American soldier held for murder, Sgt. Charles Wills.

Scott Cooper as director has been praised for his efforts to use Cheyenne dialect speakers and cultural consultants Chris Eyre and Dr. Joely Proudfit who are part of The Native Networkers.

On Wednesday January 10th, the National Congress of American Indians hosted a screening of Hostiles in Washington DC. At the event, Wes Studi took a moment to chat with Indian Country Today about his role in the film.

See Related Story:
Hostiles Movie Review: A Profound Respect For Native Culture, A Gut Punch of Reality

Studi told ICT about the cultural respect paid by director Scott Cooper and his crew, discussed how Hostiles was not solely a Native American film, but rather a film about America in 1892, a time in which Native people were a large part of history and what it takes to be an actor ‘worth his salt.’

You play Chief Yellowhawk in the ‘Hostiles’ movie. The movie doesn’t pull punches in terms of the hostility between all peoples at that time.

Everyone fights for what belongs to them. We are all hostiles in one way or another.

Courtesy Waypoint Entertainment

‘Hostiles’ movie poster. Hostiles stars Rosamund Pike, Christian Bale and Wes Studi.

Can you tell me about your part in the film?

Every actor worth his salt should always play that they are doing the right thing. I always play my guy as if he is doing the right thing as far as he is concerned. Whether he turns out to be villainous in terms of the whole story, or heroic in terms of the whole story, an actor is bound to play his or her particular part as doing what they feel is the right thing.

We play the characters in film as if they are real people. We play them as much as possible as real people with the scripts that we are given, and use what we have to work with.

Your character had a great deal of humanity rather than any sort of stereotype.

This is one of the few times as an actor where I do get to smile in a film.

What do you think about Hostiles in the grand scheme of the film industry?

I think Hostiles is just another step along the way to actually getting a real Native American perspective. This story does not totally allow for that simply because it is a story about someone else. This is not an Indian film, and so many folks jump on the idea that it is an Indian film because it may have a lot of native content and subject matter. This is not an Indian film, it is a film about America in 1892.

We as Native people have always had a large part of the development of this nation and this civilization that we call America. I think this is a tribute to what we went through in terms of the world we live in today.

The fact that Scott Cooper and Christian Bale were supportive of the cultural aspects of Hostiles speaks volumes about today’s potential industry.

I think the entire film absolutely works well because everyone was very open the idea and concept to maintain the authenticity with cultural consultants and the Cheyenne people— as you should when you are telling a story about them— it really is as simple as that.

What would you tell directors who think I want to make a movie that has native people in it? What do they need to know?

I would tell them to go outside of the box. Do your research and deal with the people you are portraying because we do still exist.  I think that is the first step toward getting the authenticity that any writer and director will be looking for.

A lot of young native actors want to emulate the strength and success that you portray as Wes Studi, the actor. What would you say to them?

I would say do not emulate me, do it yourself.

Wes Studi stars along with such actors as Christian Bale and Adam Beach in ‘Hostiles’ directed by Scott Cooper. The film premieres in select western region theaters Jan 19 and nationwide Jan 26.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Umatilla Star Jude Schimmel Shoots Hoops in Latest Nike Ad Narrated by LeBron James


Umatilla Native basketball star and Nike N7 Ambassador Jude Schimmel has appeared in a recent Nike video which shows her shooting hoops on the rez. Nike’s latest ad, promoting equality for all races — which is narrated by LeBron James — is titled “EQUALITY: Until We All Win.”

Schimmel is a former college basketball player at the University of Louisville who won the NCAA Elite 89 award for having the highest GPA of any player in the Final Four. She also played professionally in Spain and is the author of the book Dreamcatcher.

She also interviewed former President Barack Obama in 2015 at the 7th Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference held in Washington DC.

On Twitter, Schimmel said it was an honor to be a part of the Nike equality campaign alongside so many incredible athletes.

It’s an honor to be apart of the @Nike equality campaign along side so many incredible athletes. https://t.co/yduIUzKe14

— Jude Schimmel (@JSchim22) January 15, 2018

According to Nike’s website, the campaign is working to unite communities through sports and will work to provide mentorships. The also state athlete ambassadors “proudly stand together with these select organizations determined to fight for equality, in their communities and beyond.”

“Nike believes in the power of sport to move the world forward – We strive to break down barriers, bring people together, and inspire action,” states their site.

Facebook video of Nike N7 Ambassador Jude Schimmel

Nike’s site also features four organizations to promote increased diversity and inclusion to include BHM, celebrating Black heritage, BeTrue supporting the LGBTQ community, LHM for Latinx heritage and Nike N7, “Representing our commitment to bring sport and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in North America.”

For more information, visit http://equality.nike.com

You can watch the video here:

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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The Native History We Are Never Taught In School


Though I have lived in the Hampton Roads area for nearly twenty years, specifically Virginia Beach, I grew up as a young Native American boy on Compton Blvd., (Yes that Compton) in California.

My Native American tribe is Mohawk, from the Akwesasne Reserve in upstate New York. My reserve actually sits on the New York and Canadian border. It wasn’t until I was at least thirty-years-old until I discovered that my grandmother, (who spoke the Mohawk language fluently) had been taken to a orphanage along with her sister when she was a little girl. 

My great-grandmother (who did not speak english, only Mohawk) was told she could not have her children back because she had signed them over. Devastated, my great grandmother broke in late at night and stole back her children, which included my grandmother and her sister.

When my grandmother had children later in life, she and her family fled to California, fearing Canadian authorities would take her own Native children as they often did.

I only spent a little bit of time with my grandmother as a child, she would sing to me songs she knew such as “Oh my darlin’ Clementine” or “She’ll come riding six white horses” in her small kitchen in California. She watched over me when I had the chickenpox. She put mayonnaise on my head when I once got gum in my hair. But in all the years I knew my grandmother, she never told me she was Mohawk, she never shared with me the words of our Mohawk language or the songs our ancestors sang. Being an Indian meant losing your children, so she hid who she was.

In later years I discovered, she died in a hospital much too young for her age, there was suspicion she died of negligence, because the hospital did not care about some random Indian woman taking up space in a hospital bed.

It wasn’t until my late thirties (I am 50-years-old now) that my wonderful wife Delores suggested I connect back with my tribe. After only a few phone calls, I discovered all my family’s history was documented by the Catholic Church, who followed their religious conversions very closely. I was indeed a member of the tribe and I was listed on the tribal roles.

But I did not yet feel worthy to be a part of the tribe. I felt I had not contributed anything to Native culture aside from one class in college. (It was a Native Studies class, and the teacher, resentful I assume because he had a student which really was Native American — I received a D in the class. The lowest grade I had ever received in my life.) I sought to be a ‘better Indian’ than I had been in my life thus far.

I decided one day I would travel to Akwesasne, but I ‘needed to feel more connected,’ I thought. I poured myself into my own independent studies and felt ravenous to learn, which had been an unfamiliar feeling and unlike my attitude in high school. I had long ago discovered school textbooks were a horrible source for any sort of Native histories, as they were largely focused on the white side, or colonial contributions to history and little else.

In the course of my studies, I came across a book publishing company, interested in hearing about independent stories of contemporary Native people. I ended up writing four books in the Native Trailblazers series on Native and Canadian First Nations role models for kids.

I then connected with Indian Country Today as a journalist, the largest Native American news publication in the United States, over the course of several years, I have contributed well over 2,000 articles of news based on Native people. I continue to write for them today as evidenced here.

In the midst of all my research – I traveled to Akwesasne after I had obtained a contractual job through the tribe as a video / filmmaker to create a “New Employee Orientation Video.” I was elated. Not only was I coming back, I was going to learn a TON about my tribe. When I was there, I also met my extended family, who remembered my grandmother. I felt complete, and I was also asked to join the dancing celebration at the longhouse by an extremely respected elder Tom Porter.

As I have continued to learn about my culture, I have uncovered an alarming amount of hidden history that has been hidden from our children of today.

Here are just a few facts:

  • Columbus never landed in America – ever. He and his men were responsible for the genocide of untold thousands of indigenous peoples of the caribbean. Who had their hands cut off for not finding enough gold and more. In a letter to a friend, Columbus wrote nine-year-old girls were in demand by his men. 

8 Myths and Atrocities About Christopher Columbus and Columbus Day – Indian Country Media Network https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com

  • Pocahontas never loved John Smith. She had a Native husband and a child before she knew John Rolfe, she was impregnated by a stranger after being kidnapped and John Rolfe married her to get a Native tobacco recipe.
  • My grandmother was part of the “Indian Boarding Schools” movement in which U.S. and Canadian religious authorities took by force Native children from their families and forced them to appropriate white culture. If the spoke their native language in school, they were beaten. They were victims of ALL types of abuse and later were returned home with no explanation to the families. Children and parents could no longer speak to each other.
  • According to the Weyanoke Association, approximately 80% of Black americans in Virginia have a Native American ancestor. As Blacks and Indians grew their alliances in history, Walter Plecker incorporated “Pencil Genocide” in which Native or Black, Plecker and his minions went in and physically changed birth records to “colored.
  • The Iroquois Confederacy was the pre-eminent influencer to the United States government. The tribes methodologies of internal workings were the basis of of U.S system of ‘checks and balances’ as illustrated by our Congress, Senate and the office of the President. All of this said, the term “Merciless Indian Savages” was still included in the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

I hope some of what I’ve shared has opened a few eyes. We are all in this together, we all struggle, but some more than others. Those that have privilege don’t realize they have it, and will forever demand their place as the victors of war.

If you found history boring in school, it is very likely because the history you were being taught had nothing to do with your ancestry.

I once heard, “History is written by the Victors of War,” this may once have been true, but it doesn’t have to remain this way. Learn about your own history as I have been doing, it is more than empowering.

 

Vincent Schilling is a Native American author, journalist, radio host and public speaker. You may follow him on Twitter or Instagram via @VinceSchilling.

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Six VA Tribes Slotted For Federal Recognition as Senators Warner & Kaine Secure Bill Passage


On Thursday January 11th, 2018, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner secured the final passage of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2017.

Once signed by the President, the legislation will grant federal recognition of the following six Virginia tribes: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond.

The bill, which has never before made it to the proverbial Senate stage, has had a long history of nearly passing. U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives from Virginia have pushed for federal recognition since the 1990s, with Senators George Allen and John Warner first introducing this legislation in the Senate in 2002.

Senators Kaine and Warner (both previous Virginia Governors) introduced this legislation in the Senate in the 113th and 114th Congresses, and Warner had introduced it in prior Congresses.

Many of these Virginia tribes include descendants of Pocahontas’ Virginia Powhatan tribe. These tribes had received official state recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia, but had not received federal recognition, a status which will grant the tribes legal standing in direct relationships with the U.S. government and other institutions such as museums.

As described on a release, Senators Kaine and Warner worked with Democratic and Republican colleagues to ensure that the bill made it through to final passage. U.S. Senators and members of the House of Representatives from Virginia have pushed for federal recognition since the 1990s, with Senators George Allen and John Warner first introducing this legislation in the Senate in 2002.

Courtesy Office of Senator Mark Warner

Senator Tim Kaine (left) Chief Stephen Adkins (Chickahominy), Chief Lee Lockamy (Nansemond) and Senator Mark Warner (far right) share a moment of congratulations.

Ahead of the bills passage on the Senate floor, Senator Kaine shared his thoughts. “This is about Virginia tribes that were here and encountered the English when they arrived in [Jamestown] in 1607, the tribes of Pocahontas and other wonderful Virginians. They are living tribes, never recognized by the federal government for a series of reasons. . . . It’s a fundamental issue of respect, and fairly acknowledging a historical record, and a wonderful story of tribes that are living, thriving and surviving and are a rich part of our heritage. This is a happy day to stand up on their behalf,” said Senator Kaine.

Senator Warner also shared his thoughts on the floor immediately after Kaine. “We and some of the folks who are in the gallery today were not sure this day would ever come, but even here in the United States Congress and the United States Senate, occasionally we get things right. And boy, oh, boy, this is a day where we get things right on a civil rights basis, on a moral basis, on a fairness basis, and to our friends who are representatives of some of the six tribes who are finally going to be granted federal recognition, we want to say thank you for their patience, their perseverance, their willingness to work with us and others,” said Senator Warner.

Watch a video from Senator Mark Warner’s Facebook page:

Assistant Chief Wayne Adkins from the Chickahominy Indian tribe, who was present at the vote, told Indian Country Today he was “feeling pretty good,” but stated through his optimism that he “knew anything could happen at this point.”

“Senators Warner and Kaine really pushed hard for us. In terms of this bill getting signed by the President, everyone we talked so seems optimistic,” said Adkins.

Courtesy Office of Senator Mark Warner

Wayne B. Adkins, (right) Chair of VITAL and Assistant Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe and Stephen R. Adkins, Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe (left) are among six tribes slotted for federal recognition.

Adkins told Indian Country Today he was caught a bit off guard when the chairman announced the bill had passed. “It was surreal after 18 years of working. It definitely was not a let down, but when you put it so much work after so many years, it was strange to be such a brief moment,” he said.

Congressman Wittman said in a release, “Today we have taken a critical step forward in correcting the Federal Government’s failure to recognize the ‘first contact’ tribes of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Decades in the making, federal recognition will acknowledge and protect historical and cultural identities of these tribes for the benefit of all Americans. It will also affirm the government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Virginia tribes, and help create opportunities to enhance and protect the well-being of tribal members. I want to thank Senators Kaine and Warner for their support to give these tribes the recognition they have long deserved.”

This version of the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act, which originated in the House of Representatives and was introduced by Virginia Congressman Rob Wittman, previously passed in the House unanimously in May.

Once signed by the President, federal recognition will allow Virginia’s tribes legal standing and status in direct relationships with the U.S. government.

Further, the Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act will allow tribes to do the following as a federally recognized tribe:

  • Compete for educational programs and other grants only open to federally recognized tribes.
  • Repatriate the remains of their ancestors in a respectful manner. Many of these remains reside in the Smithsonian, but without federal status there is no mandate to return the remains.
  • Provide affordable health care services for elder tribal members who have been unable to access care.

These tribal leaders were in attendance in the Senate Gallery for the vote last Thursday:

W. Frank Adams, Chief, Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe
Stephen R. Adkins, Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe
Wayne B. Adkins, Chair of VITAL and Assistant Chief, Chickahominy Indian Tribe
Dean Branham, Chief, Monacan Nation
Lee Lockamy, Chief Nansemond Indian Tribe
Frank Richardson, representing Chief Anne Richardson, Rappahannock Tribe
Gerald A. Stewart, Assistant Chief, Eastern Chickahominy Indian Tribe

Courtesy Office of Senator Mark Warner

Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner stand with tribal leaders were in attendance in the Senate Gallery for the vote last Thursday.

When the bill is signed into law, the amount of U.S. federally recognized tribes will go from 567 to 573.
Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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20th Anniversary Screening of ‘Smoke Signals’ and 8 Indigenous-Made Films Premiering at Sundance


As just announced on the Sundance Institute website, this year, eight Indigenous-made films will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, January 18-28, in Park City, Utah. In addition, there will be a special 20th Anniversary Archive Screening of Smoke Signals, directed by Chris Eyre (Cheyenne/Arapaho) with the screenplay by Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene).

In addition to the screenings of these Indigenous films, the Sundance Institute has introduced their Native program’s filmmaker fellows for the coming year.

Following founder and President of the Sundance Institute Robert Redford’s vision in creating Sundance, the Institute states on their website that they “remain committed to supporting Native American artists throughout the Institute’s history.” Redford’s vision has since supported more than 300 filmmakers through labs, grants, mentorships, public programs, and the platform of the Sundance Film Festival itself.

The Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program has a global focus and through its work strengthens Indigenous cinema. Filmmakers supported over the years include: Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Muskogee), Taika Waititi (Te Whānau-ā-Apanui), Billy Luther (Diné/Hopi/Laguna Pueblo), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (Iñupiaq), Aurora Guerrero (Xicana), Sydney Freeland (Diné), Ciara Leina’ala Lacy (Kanaka Maoli), Lyle Mitchell Corbine, Jr. (Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians) and Shaandiin Tome (Diné).

Here are the list of films and fellows recently announced by Sundance:

Genesis 2.0


On the remote New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean, hunters search for tusks of extinct mammoths. When they discover a surprisingly well-preserved mammoth carcass, its resurrection will be the first manifestation of the next great technological revolution: genetics. It may well turn our world upside down.

Directors: Christian Frei, Maxim Arbugaev (Yakut/Buryat), Producer: Christian Fre.

We the Animals


Manny, Joel and Jonah tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents. As Manny and Joel grow into versions of their father and Ma dreams of escape, Jonah, the youngest, embraces an imagined world all his own. Cast: Raul Castillo, Sheila Vand, Evan Rosado, Isaiah Kristian, Josiah Santiago.

Director: Jeremiah Zagar, Screenwriters: Daniel Kitrosser, Jeremiah Zagar, Producers: Jeremy Yaches, Christina D. King (Creek and Seminole Nations), Andrew Goldman, Paul Mezey.

Sweet Country


An Australian western set on the Northern Territory frontier in the 1920s. Justice itself is put on trial when an aged Aboriginal farmhand shoots a white man in self defense and goes on the run as posse gathers to hunt him down.

Director: Warwick Thornton (Kaytej Nation), Screenwriters: Stephen McGregor, David Tranter (Alyawarra Nation.)

Short Films

Mud (Hashtł’ishnii)


On her last day, Ruby faces the inescapable remnants of alcoholism, family and culture.

Director and screenwriter: Shaandiin Tome (Diné.)

The Violence of a Civilization without Secrets

An urgent reflection on Indigenous sovereignty, the undead violence of museum archives and post-mortem justice through the case of the “Kennewick Man,” a prehistoric Paleoamerican man whose remains were found in Kennewick, Washington State in 1996.

Directors and screenwriters: Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Jackson Polys (Tlingit.)

Nuuca

The oil boom in North Dakota has brought tens of thousands of new people to the region and with that has come an influx of drugs, crime and sex trafficking.

Director: Michelle Latimer (Métis/Algonquin.)

I Like Girls

Charlotte, Mathilde, Marie and Diane reveal the nitty-gritty about their first loves, sharing funny and intimate tales of one-sided infatuation, mutual attraction, erotic moments and fumbling attempts at sexual expression.

Director/Screenwriter: Diane Obomsawin (Abenaki.)

Documentary Premieres

Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock

Standing Rock, 2016 was the largest Native American occupation since Wounded Knee. Thousands of activists, environmentalists and militarized police descend on the Dakota Access Pipeline in a standoff between oil corporations and a new generation of Native warriors. This chronicle captures the sweeping struggle, spirit and havoc of a people’s uprising.

Director: Cody Lucich, (Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of Enterprise Rancheria), Producers: Heather Rae, Gingger Shankar, Ben-Alex Dupris (Colville.)

20th Anniversary Archive Screening

Smoke Signals


The chronicle of athletic and charming Victor Joseph from the Salmon Indian Reservation really begins when he learns of his father’s premature and sudden death. With no money, he accepts the offer of his quirky and garrulous childhood buddy, Thomas-Builds-the-Fire, to pay for the trip, but only if he goes along. Their ensuing odyssey becomes an exploration of social and personal being, but this is not a typical account laced with angst and despair. Eyre and Alexie have fused their cultural legacy with a cinematic vision that is fresh, honest, and deeply cynical of the trite images and ideas about what it is to be Indian in America.

Director: Chris Eyre (Cheyenne /Arapaho); Screenwriter: Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene.)

Native Filmmaker Lab Fellows

These two fellows participated in the Native Filmmakers Lab with their projects in May 2017 and will end their year-long fellowship at the Sundance Film Festival with ongoing support, screenings, guided film discussions, and networking events.

At the lab, these fellows worked with a cast and crew to practice shooting scenes from their short films under the expert creative mentorship of program alumni, creative advisors and program staff. This fellowship encourages Native filmmakers to hone their storytelling and technical skills in a hands-on and supportive environment. Following the lab, fellows receive a year-round continuum of support.

Shaandiin Tome (Diné), Mud (Hashtł’ishnii)

Erin Maile Lau (Kanaka Maoli), Ka Mahina a me Ka Pō (The Moon & the Night)

Full Circle Fellows

The Full Circle Fellowship Program, which began in 2014 with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is a year-long program for 18-24 year-old Native filmmakers from New Mexico and Michigan.

These fellows receive an immersive experience in the world of independent film and attend screenings, participate in guided film discussions, and connect with leaders of the Indigenous film community. The fellowship—which has its launch at the Festival—focuses on developing these Native youth filmmakers through workshops and training opportunities and links talented young storytellers to education and career pathways across fields of independent filmmaking, using structural strategies where Native communities heal by telling their own stories.

Mandolin Eisenberg (Taos Pueblo) is a mixed-media artist. Since starting college she has focused her efforts on film. From a young age, Eisenberg says she has been inspired by creation, initially taking up drawing and then discovering a love for writing. Her passion for writing and art turned into a deep love for stories and storytelling. As a filmmaker and storyteller, she hopes to create new realities that will impact the world. She currently attends the University of New Mexico, where she studies in the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Program with a concentration in directing and writing.

Kaitlin Lenhard (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) is a recent graduate of Michigan State University with degrees in media and information and global studies in the arts and humanities. Lenhard’s film interests are largely centered in film language and how film language can be used as a bridge for Indigenous communities that have been denied their languages through colonization.

Nick Sowmick (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe), 18, is a student at Beal City High School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. His interests include listening to music, watching and making films, and helping his local and tribal community.

Joseph Ernest Wemigwans (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe), 18, has loved films all his life and, especially, paying attention to the details of how they are crafted.

Time Warner Fellows

Jhane Myers (Comanche/Blackfeet), Time Warner Story Fellowship

Jhane Myers is a Time Warner Native Producing Fellow in the Native American and Indigenous Program at the Sundance Institute. She was selected for the Fellowship with the project Words From A Bear, a documentary currently being directed by Jeffrey Palmer (Kiowa) on the life of Pulitzer prize winning Kiowa author N. Scott Momaday (House Made of Dawn; The Way To Rainy Mountain).

Jennifer Akana Sturla (Kanaka Maoli), Time Warner Producer Fellowship

Filmmaker Jennifer Akana Sturla was Born to a Hawaiian beauty queen and an aerospace engineer from New Jersey. Her film work has frequently examined her Native Hawaiian heritage and her USC thesis film Kamea won top prizes including Best Short at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival. She is the recipient of the 2018 Time Warner Native Producer Fellowship with her project The Untitled “IZ” Project.

Lauren Monroe, Jr. (Blackfeet), Time Warner Producer Fellowship

Lauren Monroe Jr. is an accomplished visual artist, filmmaker, and is currently in development on the six-part docuseries Horse Nations with ZPZ Productions (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Mind of a Chef, MeatEater). He previously worked on the films Walking OutThe Ballad Of Lefty Brown, and 2016 Oscar Nominee Winter Light. He is the recipient of the 2018 Time Warner Producer Fellowship with the project Horse Nations.

Merata Mita Fellowship

At the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute will announce the recipient of our annual Fellowship named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita, New Zealand’s first Indigenous female filmmaker. The Fellowship honoree will be announced Monday, January 22nd.

Additional Fellows

These Fellows are being supported with grants and fellowships from other programs within Sundance Institute and the Native American and Indigenous Program.

Zack Khalil (Ojibway), The Art of Nonfiction Fellowship

Adam Shingwak Khalil (Ojibway), The Art of Nonfiction Fellowship

Razelle Benally (Diné/Lakota), Feature Film Development Fellowship

Philip Sanchez (San Felipe Pueblo), Rauschenberg Fellowship, Sundance Documentary Film Program

Sky Bruno (Kanaka Maoli), Ignite Fellowship

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Heated Exchanges as Utah Lawmakers Push Bill for Vast Reduction of Bears Ears Monument


In the midst of public outcry and protest, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a Legislative Hearing Tuesday on H.R. 4532, the Shash Jáa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument Act. The bill would codify— or work to orchestrate through legislation— the recent executive action that reduced the Bears Ears National Monument.

The Utah-led congressional action is openly pushing H.R. 4532, sponsored by Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah a bill that would put into law a reduction in the Bears Ears monument boundaries as previously ordered by President Trump. Many of the members of the Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition were present to testify against legislation that would reduce the monuments.

h.r._4532 by Spectrum Media on Scribd

The H.R. 4532 bill, which describes the creation of new management councils and funding for law-enforcement for the Shash Jáa (Bears Ears) and Indian Creek monuments has drawn massive criticism from tribes and environmental groups as nothing more than a ‘bait and switch’ tactic that only seeks to eliminate Bears Ears.

As per a presidential proclamation introduced by President Trump, the Bears Ears National Monument was decreased by 85% removing protections from 1,148,000 acres. The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument was reduced by 47% removing protections from 896,000 acres. With the two presidential proclamations, national monument protections were removed from over 2 million acres of land.

Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe and Utah Business Committee member told Indian Country Today in an email that Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee pushing Curtis’ bill, is attempting to use H.R. 4532 to legislatively approve President Trump’s illegal action rescinding the Bears Ears National Monument.

YouTube screen capture.

Shaun Chapoose, a member of the Ute Indian Tribe and Utah Business Committee member testifying at the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands held regarding H.R. 4532.

“Congressman Bishop’s contempt for the United States government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes and the legislative process in his own Committee was on full display during the hearing,” wrote Chapoose.

“Instead of negotiating with the area’s federally recognized tribal governments, Congressman Bishop is cherry picking tribal members to support H.R. 4532. This is a shameful return to the 1800’s. It is up to sovereign tribal governments, not the United States, to select our own representatives.”

During the testimony Utah republicans traded words with tribal members that many times appeared filled with tension. In one exchange Shaun Chapoose referred to a photograph as evidence. When Chapoose referred to a different area than the photo, Bishop blurted out, “Do you know where fish creek actually is?”

Chapoose said the subcommittee members weren’t interested in tribal testimonies.

“Congressman Bishop and Subcommittee Republicans did not want to hear from the sovereign tribal governments that would be most affected by H.R. 4532.  Instead, they forced our five Coalition tribes onto one witness chair while every level of the State of Utah was there,” wrote Chapoose.

“Unfortunately, it was an orchestrated attempt to undermine and diminish tribes and tribal sovereignty led by Congressman Bishop with support from Subcommittee Members who continually allowed Bishop to use their time. When I gave Bishop answers he didn’t want to hear he said I was wrong, but I wasn’t allowed to rebut.  We knew they would do this, but it was important for the Coalition to appear and speak out strongly against the bill.”

Livestreamed video from the House Committee on Natural Resources
Legislative Hearing H.R. 4532 – January 9, 2018

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) released a statement on Tuesday stating they “oppose President Trump’s efforts to reduce two monuments that hold tribal sacred places and that they stand by the efforts of all affected Tribal governments and local communities who are determined to protect these sacred places in their entirety.”

Vincent Schilling

Jefferson Keel NCAI President

NCAI President Jefferson Keel also said he and the NCAI stand with the Tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition as well as any tribes impacted by other monument designations.

“The original intent of the Antiquities Act was to protect our tribal sacred sites and the cultural objects in those sites,” said Keel in an NCAI release. “The history of our indigenous ancestors lives in these sacred places. The actions to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante endangers our freedom of religion, our histories and our communities.”

The NCAI has also published resolutions in support of national monument designations which are available for public viewing here: EC-15-002, MOH-17-006 and MKE-17-057. The NCAI also submitted comments to the Department of the Interior here.

Chapoose told Indian Country Today that he and other members of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition will continue to fight against the Utah Republican-led effort and President Trump’s prior presidential proclamations.

“We will continue to oppose this bill and stop it from passing Congress. This bill should not move forward while we are challenging the President’s action dismantling Bears Ears in Court.  Congressman Bishop and Curtis say that this bill is separate from the President’s action. That’s not true. They are trying to legislatively confirm the President’s action and know that the President’s action was unlawful. They are rushing this legislative effort through to try and provide him cover,” said Chapoose.

“Congressman Bishop is still fighting for his Utah Public Lands Initiative that died in the last Congress.  He may be Chairman of the Committee, but he cannot write his own version of history, determine our religion or our cultural identity.  We are sovereign tribal governments and the U.S. Constitution defined our exclusive relationship with the United States long before he became a Congressman.”

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Hostiles Movie Review: A Profound Respect For Native Culture, A Gut Punch of Reality


On Wednesday January 10th, the National Congress of American Indians hosted a screening of Hostiles, a movie about the world of American soldiers, white settlers, American Indians and the world that surrounded them all in 1892.

On the movie’s IMDb page, Hostiles is described as follows: “In 1892, a legendary Army captain reluctantly agrees to escort a Cheyenne chief and his family through dangerous territory.”

The movie stars Wes Studi as the Cheyenne Chief Yellowhawk, Christian Bale as an American soldier and officer Capt. Joseph J. Blocker and Rosamund Pike as Rosalie Quaid. The movie also features an array of well-known actors such as Adam Beach, who portrays Yellowhawk’s son, Black Hawk, Q’orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman and Tanaya Beatty as Living Woman. Ben Foster portrays an American soldier held for murder, Sgt. Charles Wills.

In countless movie reviews, many of you have undoubtedly heard the term “sitting on the edge of my seat,” to describe a movie that might be cutting edge, causing tension, or even outrage. In this movie Hostiles, I was literally watching this movie, sitting on the edge of my seat, the entire time.

Hostiles, directed by Scott Cooper, did not waste a second getting to the heart of the story. There is a disastrous clash between Comanche warriors and settlers, bullets flying at nearly every turn of the journey and interactions between Christian Bale and Wes Studi’s characters that are brilliant and mesmerizing.

I felt outrage at the reality, laughed at the humanity and grieved for the brutal truth that existed in the world of 1892. I didn’t expect this from this movie as I went into it waiting for the same stale stereotypes often portrayed in westerns or civil war films … Soldiers hate Indians, Indians hate the soldiers. Settlers fear the Indians, everybody tries to kill each other, the end.

This movie does have a significant amount of people trying, (and oftentimes succeeding) to kill each other. But Scott Cooper as a director doesn’t stop at this level of engagement. He delves further into the hearts and minds of the relationships between people. You see humanity shared between people. Soldiers are suffering from the mental exhaustion of Post Traumatic Stress, they come to grips that they have killed and question whether it was right.

Hostiles dives in and takes you with it. You feel the pain of loss on all sides of the fence. You come to realize that everyone is fighting for survival. Everyone is fighting to preserve the sanctuary of family. Everyone is willing to die and kill for it.

Courtesy Waypoint Entertainment

A scene from ‘Hostiles’ featuring Q’orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman, Adam Beach as Black Hawk and Wes Studi as Chief Yellowhawk.

The world of 1892 was a brutal place. I felt anger at the racism, I felt anger at the potential for white saviorism, I felt anger that so many soldiers dismissed Native people as savages. But none of the anger was at the film. The film did such an amazing job at presenting the reality of 1892, I felt the outrage to what actually did exist – in a very real way – at that period of history.

Wes Studi as Chief Yellowhawk delivers one of the finest performances I have seen by any actor in years. His moments of speaking in the actual Cheyenne language, (which were closely guided by actual language speakers to ensure the correct dialect, words, etc. were used) were as powerful as his moments of silence. Studi was not only a chief, but a man who loved his family, his people, his grandson. One of my favorite moments in Hostiles is when Chief Yellowhawk shares a smile with his grandson.

Christian Bale’s performance was a powerful and effective reminder that human beings exist under the guise of a soldier’s uniform. He suffers from extreme PTSD and unravels his humanity throughout the process of the film. You hate the actions of a troubled soldier and yet, perhaps you might see inside the mind of a troubled man who struggles to make things right.

The movie was so filled with a true life feel and a sense of reality, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a set of real archetypal tintype photos of Chief Yellowhawk and Capt. Joseph J. Blocker on some antique covered shelf today.

Courtesy Le Grisbi Productions - Waypoint Entertainment

An intense moment between Captain Joseph J. Blocker portrayed by Christian Bale and Chief Yellowhawk portrayed by Wes Studi.

The are similarly impressive performances by Rosamund Pike, a woman who has suffered terrible tragedies, Adam Beach, who portrays Yellowhawk’s son, Black Hawk, Q’orianka Kilcher as Elk Woman and Tanaya Beatty as Living Woman.

The women are a powerful force in the film, and as a viewer, you grieve for their troubles. In as much as the world of 1892 was a horrendous world for soldiers and Native warriors, it was perhaps even more ominous and horrifying for women who fought for safety amidst a world of  men who sought only to serve their own dominant interests.

Overall, the film is a gut punch of reality. I felt sick with this created reality of the brutal pre-1900’s world, rolled my eyes at the words of the clueless ‘Indian allies’ and felt anguish to the Native people that were imprisoned, forced to reservations or looked at by soldiers and settlers as subhuman savages.

I felt outrage at the reality. But appreciation for Scott Cooper’s unflinching willingness to tell a true story. Reality isn’t a pretty picture, but Hostiles by Scott Cooper is a truly beautiful film, both within the cinematography and the attention paid to every detail. I wholeheartedly recommend this film. Go see it.

Hostiles is in select theaters across the country now and in theaters everywhere January 19th.

For more information visit the Hostiles movie Facebook page or visit the website at www.HostilesMovie.com.

Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) is a Native American journalist and film reviewer for Indian Country Today. You can follow him on Twitter at

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‘Hostiles’ Movie Starring Wes Studi, Christian Bale Will Screen in DC


A special screening of the 2017 movie Hostiles, starring Wes Studi and Christian Bale will take place this Wednesday January 10th in Washington DC. The film has garnered generous praise from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for its ‘authentic representation of Native Peoples’ and accurate speaking of Native languages.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is celebrating Entertainment Studios’ film Hostiles for its culturally accurate portrayal of Native peoples with a screening on Wednesday.

NCAI partnered with The Native Networkers (TNN) and the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) to host the screening of the feature film.

To achieve accuracy and depth in the Native-focused content of the movie, director Scott Cooper worked with acclaimed Native filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins), and Native academic Dr. Joely Proudfit as consultants. Their organization, The Native Networkers, has a mission to build bridges of understanding through media and enhance cultural knowledge and understanding through Native representation.

The involvement of Eyre, Proudfit, and the film’s other Native consultants made an indelible impression on Cooper. “The consultants on this film have been extraordinary and have taught me things that my research never could have,” he says. “They were on set every day to help the actors with language, with gestures, with rituals. Their work was of the utmost importance, and it was deeply gratifying for all of us.”

A significant amount of Hostiles’ dialogue is spoken in the rarely heard Northern Cheyenne dialect. Eyre was tasked with finding the Native team that not only spoke fluently but could teach the language and have knowledge of how Native speakers would have sounded at the end of the 19th century.

“The biggest request that Scott and Christian had is that we, as Cheyenne consultants, get it right,” says Eyre. “Just because you’re a Native person doesn’t mean you’ll know all things Native. I was able to bring Chief Phillip Whiteman and Alana Buffalo Spirit to the project. To hear the language spoken in the right dialect and in a respectful way by Christian and Wes is something great to see on screen. It’s just a victory that millions of people will get to hear this rare language.”

Chief Phillip Whiteman, worked with Bale, who at first struggled mightily to get the words out. “It’s bloody difficult,” Bale laughs, “but it’s wonderful. Speaking the language correctly is also allowing me to understand a bit of the Cheyenne belief system. I’ve been so surprised because it seems impossible but there’s such a natural flow to it.”

Courtesy

‘Hostiles’ movie poster featuring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi.

“The National Congress of American Indians applauds the efforts by the makers of HOSTILES to help lead Hollywood towards more truthful and appropriate portrayals of Indigenous peoples in film, in particular by casting Native actors to play Native roles,” said NCAI President Jefferson Keel. “We look forward to the upcoming screening of the film and hope to see a continued effort for diversity, inclusion, and authenticity in Hollywood.”

Hostiles takes place in 1892 and tells the story of an Army Captain (Christian Bale) who reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. On the journey, they meet a widow (Rosamund Pike) whose family was murdered on the plains and offer their help. As the former rivals make their way from an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico to the grasslands of Montana, their relationship moves from antagonism to compassion, demonstrating humans’ capacity for change. The ensemble cast also includes Ben Foster, Timothée Chalamet, Jesse Plemons, Q’orianka Kilcher, Rory Cochrane and Adam Beach.

To learn more about the upcoming screening in Washington, D.C., please email hostilesdc@screeningrsvps.com.

###

About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit www.ncai.org

About the National Indian Gaming Association:
The mission of NIGA is to protect and preserve the general welfare of tribes striving for self-sufficiency through gaming enterprises in Indian Country. To fulfill its mission, NIGA works with the Federal government and Congress to develop sound policies and practices and to provide technical assistance and advocacy on gaming-related issues. In addition, NIGA seeks to maintain and protect Indian sovereign governmental authority in Indian Country. For more information visit: www.indiangaming.org

About The Native Networkers:
The mission of The Native Networkers’ (NN) is to provide resources to film and television industries, mass media and independent content creators that improve understanding and foster authentic representation of Native American and Indigenous peoples in storylines, exhibition and marketing campaigns. Through national tribal partnerships/affiliations, NN represents and delivers tribal community specific expertise to enable accuracy of content and inclusive representation. Additionally, NN consults on history and contemporary appropriation of Native American and Indigenous peoples subject matter at all stages of development, production and distribution into the media marketplace. For more information visit: www.thenativenetworkers.com

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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President Appoints Jesse Delmar (Navajo) to Heitkamp’s Commission on Native Children


U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced Wednesday that President Trump has appointed Jesse Delmar, Director of the Navajo Division of Public Safety, to the Commission on Native Children, which was created by Heitkamp’s bipartisan bill that became law in October 2016.

Delmar joins seven other Commission members already appointed by the President, U.S. Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the U.S. House Minority Leader.

Once the Speaker of the House appoints three additionally needed members, every position on the 11-member Commission will be filled and the Commission will begin to study strategies to address the challenges facing Native American children – including poverty, substance abuse, and domestic violence – and offer real solutions to address them.

“Native children far too often have the odds stacked against them,” Heitkamp said in a press release. “The stories of their struggles are heartbreaking as they face serious disparities in safety, health, and education which can impact them throughout their lives. The first bill I introduced as a U.S. senator became law in 2016 and it established this commission, and I look forward to the results of its work and acting on its recommendations.”

11-member Commission on Native Children will address challenges facing #NativeYouth – like poverty, substance abuse, & domestic violence pic.twitter.com/ZP1MOkWUFe

— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) January 18, 2017

“Too often the federal government is blind to the needs of Native Americans – especially children – and we must work harder to address them so all children have every opportunity to succeed and thrive. I hope the final members to the commission get appointed immediately so this Commission can get to work,” said Heitkamp.

More than one in three American Indian and Alaska Native children live in poverty. Suicide rates for Native children ages 15-24 years old are 2.5 times the national average and is the second-leading cause of death in that age group.

The Commission is comprised of individuals specializing in juvenile justice, social work, and mental and physical health. Those appointed so far include the following:

  • Dr. Tami DeCoteau of Bismarck, (enrolled member of Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation and a descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.) Dr. DeCoteau specializes in the treatment of traumatic disorders as a clinical psychologist.
  • Russ McDonald (Arikara) President of Bismarck’s United Tribes Technical College.
  • Melody Staebner, enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Staebner is Indian Education Coordinator for Fargo Public Schools.
  • Anita Fineday (White Earth) of the Casey Family Programs’ Indian Child Welfare Program.
  • Carlyle Begay, (Navajo) former State Senator of Arizona.
  • Don Atqaqsaq Gray, (Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat) Senior Director of QHSET at the Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation.
  • Dr. Dolores Subia Bigfoot, (Caddo Nation) Native American Programs at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at The University of Oklahoma’s Health Sciences Center.
  • Jesse Delmar, (Navajo) Director of the Navajo Division of Public Safety.

Since introducing the bill in 2013, her first bill as a U.S. senator, Heitkamp pushed for its passage, fought to get the Commission funded, and pushed for the prompt appointment of Commission members after it became law.

The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children, named for the former Chairwoman of Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation in North Dakota, and Alaska Native Elder and statesman, respectively, has been widely praised by a cross-section of tribal leaders and organizations from North Dakota, Alaska, and around the country. It has also been lauded by former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Byron Dorgan, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indian Education Association, among others.

Three members of the Commission are appointed by the President. Three members are each appointed by the U.S. Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate and House Minority Leaders get appointed one member each to the Commission.

Background of the need for a Commission on Native Children:

Young people in Indian Country face unique hardships and challenges. For example:

More than one in three American Indian and Alaska Native children live in poverty.

Suicide rates for Native children ages 15-24 years old are 2.5 times the national average and is the second-leading cause of death in that age group.

While the overall rate of child mortality in the U.S. has decreased since 2000, the rate for Native children has increased 15 percent.

At 67 percent, American Indian and Alaska Native students had the lowest four year high school graduation rate of any racial or ethnic group in the 2011-2012 school year.

60 percent of American Indian schools do not have adequate high-speed internet or digital technology to meet the requirements of college and career ready standards.

Tribal governments face numerous obstacles in responding to the needs of Native children. Existing programmatic rules and the volume of resources required to access grant opportunities stymie efforts of tribes to tackle these issues. At the same time, federal agencies lack clear guidance about the direction that should be taken to best address the needs of Native children to fulfill our trust responsibility to tribal nations.

To help reverse these impacts, the Commission on Native Children will conduct a comprehensive study on the programs, grants, and supports available for Native children, both at government agencies and on the ground in Native communities, with the goal of developing a sustainable system that delivers wrap-around services to Native children. Then, the 11-member Commission will issue a report to address a series of challenges currently facing Native children.

For a summary of the bill / Commission on Native Children, click here. For quotations from the five Native American tribes in North Dakota, as well as Senator Byron Dorgan, strongly supporting the Commission on Native Children, click here, and for quotations from national supporters, click here.

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Attention Native Musicians: Submissions Now Open For The 2018 Indigenous Music Awards


According to the coordinators of the Indigenous Music Awards and presented by the Casinos of Winnipeg, submissions are now being accepted for the Indigenous Music Awards presented by Casinos of Winnipeg.

The submission deadline for the Indigenous Music Awards is February 14th, 2018.

The IMA’s will be held at the Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg, MB, on May 18, 2018.

Entries from Indigenous recording artists and music industry professionals from around the world can be submitted online for over 20 award categories which are listed below.

All submissions must have been released between February 15, 2016 and February 14, 2018, to be eligible for nomination in this year’s IMA award categories.

Twenty-two Indigenous Music Awards–including the IMA Lifetime Achievement Award–will be presented on Friday, May 18, 2018, at the Club Regent Event Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

The 2018 IMA categories are as follows:

Best Blues Album
Best Country Album
Best Folk Album
Best Gospel Album
Best Inuit, Indigenous Language or Francophone Album
Best Instrumental Album
Best Hand Drum Album
Best Peyote Album
Best Pow Wow – Traditional Album
Best Pow Wow – Contemporary Album
Best Pop Album
Best Rap/Hip Hop Album
Best Rock Album
Best Electronic Album *new*
Best Music Radio Program
Best Television Music Program
Best International Indigenous Release
Best Music Video
Best New Artist
Best Producer/Engineer
Best Radio Single

Submissions for the 2018 Indigenous Music Awards presented by @casinosofwpg are officially open!

Learn more and apply online at: https://t.co/OPkjylntVU pic.twitter.com/C5OVmVY9Pv

— Indigenous Music Awards (@IMAs) December 15, 2017

Voting is conducted by music industry professionals only. Those interested in becoming an music industry voter can register online.

For questions regarding the Indigenous Music Awards, contact Jacquie Black, Manager, Indigenous Music Awards at jacquie@manitoahbee.com.

About the Indigenous Music Awards:
Presented annually by Manito Ahbee Festival, the Indigenous Music Awards (formerly the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards) is the world’s premiere awards show recognizing the accomplishments of Indigenous recording artists and music industry professionals from around the globe.

About Manito Ahbee Festival:
Manito Ahbee Festival celebrates Indigenous arts, culture, and music in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. This year’s 13th annual festival is May 16-20, 2018 and features the Indigenous Music Awards, the Indigenous Music Conference, the International Pow Wow, the Indigenous Marketplace and Trade Show, Getting Jiggy With It, an Art Expo, an Art Challenge, and a Youth Education Day.

 

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

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Irene Bedard Discusses Her Role as a Native Madame President in Jay-Z Family Feud Video


Hip Hop artist Jay-Z and director Ava DuVernay have recently released the video Family Feud based on a futuristic United States that has embraced matriarchy. The video comes off of Jay-Z’s 4:44 album and includes a long list of notable actors and artists such as Beyonce’, Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jessica Chastain, Omari Hardwick and Irene Bedard. Bedard portrays a Native American woman as co-President in 2444.

The video, which is now available for viewing on TIDAL, has received considerable acclaim on social media and critics are lauding DuVernay for the inclusion of all races and the concept of a ‘founding mothers’ in a proposed United States future.

In an interview with Irene Bedard, who has recently been involved with such projects as The Bygone a film about MMIW and Westworld, Bedard discussed what it was like to portray a president of the future and her experience working alongside other high-caliber artists in the film and music industry.

How did it feel to be co-Madame President in Family Feud?

It felt really great! I was out at Standing Rock as a special consult for the Seeds of Peace. We were there to ask permission from the elders regarding a peace treaty.

In the midst of all of this in Standing Rock, where reception is terrible, I got a call from my agent asking if I could be ready in three days to do a video project in New York. I got on a plane not knowing what I was doing except it was an untitled Ava DuVernay project. I love her and I knew whatever she was doing, it would be awesome. I went with complete faith.

What was your experience with the director Ava DuVernay?

I first met her when I was in the trailer and she walked in to say hi. She is just a force of nature. Her writing is so intelligent and this was her concept. It seemed to me that Jay-Z probably just said ‘go Ava.’

She looked at me and said, ‘So, you are the President of the United States in the year 2444.’ I was like, ‘What?’ (laughs.) She said, ‘You are actually the co-President because at this time we have realized over the generations that we need to have more balance between the feminine and masculine.’

I thought, ‘Wow, she is so amazing.’ I then discovered my scene was with Jessica (Chastain) and Omari (Hardwick.)

Nobody wins when the family feuds

Didn’t you know that the new Jay-Z @S_C_ video is out? @TIDAL
Guess who’s in it? ?

Loved working with director @ava pic.twitter.com/ccVhIBtVuZ

— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) December 29, 2017

I wasn’t sure if Jessica would remember me from Tree of Life but it was great when she came up to me and said ‘Irene!’ But as far as working with that caliber I was like, ‘Yes, let’s do this!’

Of course this was going to done right with a director like Ava, but then to have Beyoncé and Jay-Z? I got to tell my son about this, He was like, ‘what?’ (laughs.) This project gave me some teenager cool points. (laughs.)

Next scene is about… actually I won’t tell you what we think they are about. This piece is for you. You decide. Loved working with @OmariHardwick @IreneBedard1 + @Jes_Chastain. They were all busy. But all came to play and I loved sharing the time with them. #FamilyFeudFilm pic.twitter.com/2yLftTRJbr

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 29, 2017

What is the importance of the matrilineal concept shown by the ‘Founding Mother’s’ featured in the ‘Family Feud’ video?

Just as Walt Pourier discusses in relation to the Stronghold Society, most of our indigenous societies are matrilineal in nature. He considers this to be the age of the daughters. We are now moving into the era of White Buffalo Calf Woman, which is the Lakota perspective, but I feel like we are struggling now moving from the many generations of patrilineal societies and concepts.

Violence to Mother Earth is another representation of violence against women. Why do we do this? I feel it is because we are out of balance.

If you look at the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman, there are two men who come to her and one man wanted to own her, while the other wanted to give respect and value. The man who wanted to own her got the thunderbolt, the other who wanted to honor her received the gifts, the pipe and the people thrived.

We are lacking in intelligent discourse. I believe that we as a society are much more capable of being tolerant and loving to one another, than what might appear on the internet.

How did you choose to portray yourself as Madame President?

I love that Madame President had red and black coloring, And had a modern and futuristic version of Yupiak / Inuit tattoos and red lines of the Plains people. I felt my tattoos gave a bit of a regal quality, but also to me the tattoos represented energy in the body, the third eye and the arrow down represented how at times we have to go down in order to come back up again.

There was a lot of thought that went into this and in trying to pay homage to our ancient-ness but also moving into the future.

I ended my statement with Mitakuye Oyasin “We are all related” which is the same as E Pluribus Unum, meaning “Out of many, one.” I put that in there and Ava was incredible about it. She wanted us to add anything we could. When I said ‘Mitakuye Oyasin,’ Ava said ‘Oh, that is great!’

Overall, I wanted to give a sense of the presence of all Native cultures.

E Pluribus Unum. Out of Many, One. Mitakuye Oyasin. All my relations. https://t.co/jZ30GgC1lu

— Irene Bedard (@IreneBedard1) December 30, 2017

You have already received some positive reactions on social media

It has been amazing to see so many responses from people of all creeds, races and religions respond positively and they are so happy at the thought of having a Native American woman as president in the future.

I like to have intelligent discourse and I like to have peace. If you are going to work toward something, truth and justice seems to be a problem so I am working on peace.

We need hope.

To view to Family Feud visit https://listen.tidal.com.

Indian Country Today’s Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter

The post Irene Bedard Discusses Her Role as a Native Madame President in Jay-Z Family Feud Video appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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