Skip navigation

November annually holds in the United States Native American Heritage Month; also on November 5, 09 Indigenous people in the United States had a meeting with Obama, but I did not view much mainstream media coverage of these topics, except for PBS which aired documentaries about Native people. These are typical examples among millions of examples of how information about Indigenous people is censored on purpose.  So I view what really goes on from Censored, an online alternative press that publishes news about Indigenous people through out North America; also, I have created a blog to promote myself/disperse the Indigenous female Dine’ filmmaker/still photographer/writer and other news about Indigenous people.  Therefore, since the mainstream media does not cover us, we have to disperse the information ourselves through internet blogs and web sites, learn fully how to use it to our advantage because stereotypes live on at present heavy duty with the public.  The Fresh Media Conference of new media on October 24 said television networks/film studios were slow to use the internet to air film/video works and spread news. I accept their consensus that the internet is a dominant dispersion. Indigenous people have many issues to address/resolve.  It would be great if I was conservative, commercialistic in film and video, owned a television/cable network, was a Caucasian man, I might be more successful, but I am the opposite. Change has to happen somehow. With a blog, my voice is heard/seen.

______________________________________________

A young First Nations from BC wrote and asked me questions about the Navajo Talking Picture.  Here are some excerpts.

“I think it’s good for you to go to the U. I liked it. I’m considering to go back to obtain my phd.  Some of my best experiences stem from attending the U, to make friends and make film/video projects.  I just viewed this docu last night on PBS about Vilmos Zigmond and Lazlo Kovacs, d.p.’s in US.  Canada calls the same cinematography work, d.o.p.  I remember Zigmond gave a presentation, question/answer at UCLA Melnitz Hall. Interesting.  I always liked the way he shot feature films. At the same time it made me think about the women in film/tv industry.  I do not hear much about women dp’s at all.  It’s a very male oriented world, a man’s world really.  Second comes the people of color who participate in it.  Leaving direct from Hungary to come to US, Hollywood to shoot films, low budget features at first and then they made their way up to shoot like Easy Rider.  They made it more because they’re male and Caucasian. Also, because of their dp good quality and persistent hard work.   Do we hear about Native American dp’s? Easy rider—Hey I saw scenes of Flagstaff, AZ and that huge mountain there, scenes east of Flag where there are ponderosa pines and the Interstate 40—where I come from. I know that country.  That was great to see.  It’s a really hard profession, film/video, but I like it.  I must be nuts to be in it.  I don’t know anything else that I do very well.  Only still photography comes second.  Third, comes music and singing.  Sure things like that get me down. I shot my own Graffiti and I shot half of Navajo Talking Picture.  Deep down I wanted to make a living as a dp.

There’s not anything else to say about the NTP.  Maybe it was not understood.  That’s the way it goes.  Some of the public understood it.  It’s not something I like to go over and over again because I finished the new experimental drama called The Graffiti which I want to promote and show now.  The Graffiti was not as well liked in film festivals.  It has shown in some.  I feel like a rock and roll musician in that the public only remembers the group’s most famous songs, which leaves the musician locked in.  She/he gets type cast and although the musician wants to move on, the musician cannot move on.  I guess it’s apart of the business.  The musician has to accept it.  I worked just as hard on The Graffiti.  I like it.  An American professor in the US interviewed me in detail in an article he wrote, which will get published in a book. I don’t know when.”

_______________________________________________

I viewed on Tuesday, November 16th on PBS a documentary about Jim Thorpe, a Sac and Fox Native American from Oklahoma. Among the Indigenous people, he is one of few who has won medals in the Olympics.  He excelled at many sports.  This documentary, JIM THORPE, WORLD’S GREATEST ATHLETE  was a classical style documentary which used archival still photography shots, archival motion picture and interviews from family members, sons and daughters and people who knew him to portray and illustrate Jim Thorpe’s life.  Myself, I did know he was an actor in feature films.  Different sources on the internet say he is mixed, White and Sac and Fox.  I do not notice many Indigenous athletes in the Olympics in contemporary times.  Certain sports such as lacrosse originate from Indigenous people, an East Nation.  I liked the documentary.

Joe Bruchac with another producer was one of the directors, writers and producers of the project.  I am familiar with Mr. Bruchac.  I remember his sister attended NYU film school.  I liked the documentary better than the feature film shot in the late 80’s about Jim Thorpe because it was more authentic. In the late 80’s feature film and the 51 feature film, I felt the leads should have been Native Americans and not non Natives, which is a huge criticism of both films. I surfed on the internet to search out the late 80’s feature film about Jim Thorpe.  I remember viewing it, but I could not find it.  For the second time, I checked for this 80’s feature film.  The feature film was not about Jim Thorpe.  The feature was about Billy Mills,  a Lakota athlete.  A non Native actor called Robby Benson played Billy Mills.  First Nations Ermineskin Band of the Cree Indians from Alberta funded and released the feature in 1983. I knew a feature film was made, but I mixed up the Indian runners who won gold medals in the Olympics.

I never saw the 51 feature film where Burt Lancaster played Jim Thorpe.  When will producers and casting directors cast Native people as Native actors if the story is about Native people?  Some do, but it has to be a WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN IT IS NOW in the entertainment business.  Some strides have been made, but….

Right afterwards was SOY ANDINA. Cynthia attends college in New York in the dance department. She is a modern dancer, but she is also Peruvian. The documentary or I might have missed it, did not say if she was Indigenous or not, but the documentary seem to hint at that. Cynthia wonders about her  heritage in Peru. She also meets another woman from Peru who immigrated to New York. This woman dances traditional dances of Indigenous people. The documentary seem to indicate that she was Indigenous. Cynthia is awarded a Full Bright grant and she travels to Peru to find out about dance. Lima does not offer what she seeks so she travels and learns from people in small towns. This is what she seeks. She meets people from different locations such as African people and learns/observes their dances. She really likes it. At the same time, Cynthia experiences an identity conflict such as when people from Peru think she is not apart of them. They reject her in a way because she is from the outside.  She feels like an outsider, although technically she is half Peruvian. I like dance a lot: modern, jazz, Afro-jazz, Latin dance, Indigenous dances of North America, hip hop and all kinds of social dance. I luv to watch it as well.  I luv dance from around the world.  I participate in dance classes such as Afro-jazz. This documentary expressed how a person  experiences an identity conflict and at the same time depicts dances from different regions of Peru. Great. It reminded me of myself and the Navajo Talking Picture, my identity conflict, which I experienced like Cynthia.




Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: