Sunday, April 11, 2010

JCC to hold 3-day Native American Film Festival

JCC to hold 3-day Native American Film Festival

Films featuring Native American themes and performances by renowned Native Americans Joanne Shenandoah, Doug George Kanentiio and John Trudell will be featured during the Native American Film Festival at Jamestown Community College April 29-May 1.

Admission to a performance by Trudell and the band Bad Dog on May 1 is $5. All other events in the festival are free. Although the April 29 film will be shown in Fredonia, other festival films and events are held on JCC's Jamestown Campus.

The festival is sponsored by JCC's Faculty Student Association and college program committee. Additional information on the event can be obtained by calling Shannon Bessette, 338-1223.

"Film is a great way to look at some of the complex and troubling issues in Native communities, but even more importantly, film is a celebration of the beauty of Native communities and a tribute to their endurance," said Bessette, associate professor of anthropology and festival organizer.

The festival opens with a showing of "Incident at Ogala: The Leonard Peltier Story" at 7 p.m. at the Fredonia Opera House. The 1992 film documents the killing of two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975 and the legal case surrounding the subsequent trials of Robert Robideau, Darrell Butler, and Leonard Peltier. Peltier was convicted of murder, but many believe Peltier is innocent of the crimes.

On April 30, Shenandoah and her husband George Kanentiio will perform at 7 p.m. in the Carnahan Theatre. The couple lives on Oneida Territory.

Shenandoah, an Iroquois singer, composer, and acoustic guitarist, is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. A Grammy award-winning musician, Shenandoah has recorded 15 albums and received more Native American Music Awards (12) than any other artist.

In 2002, Shenandoah became the first Native performer to receive an honorary doctorate of music from Syracuse University.

George Kanentiio was raised on the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory near the St. Lawrence River. A writer and journalist, he has served the Mohawk Nation as a land claims negotiator, a co-founder of Radio CKON, and editor of the news journal Akwesasne Notes. He is the author of Iroquois Culture and Commentary and Skywoman: Tales of the Iroquois.

George Kanentiio is widely recognized for his knowledge of Iroquois politics and culture. He served as a consultant for the films "Hiawatha's Story" and "Man Who Would Be King" and as advisor for the "How the West Was Won" television series.

Following the performance by Shenandoah and George Kanentiio, the film "Frozen River" begins at 8:15 p.m. in the Carnahan Theatre. The 2008 film focuses on two working class women who smuggle illegal immigrants in the trunk of a car from Canada to the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in upstate New York near the Canadian border.

The film, which won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival, earned Academy Award nominations for best actress and best original screenplay.

On May 1, "Pow Wow Highway" will be shown at 3 p.m. in the Carnahan Theatre. The 1989 film recounts the travels of Buddy Red Bow and Philbert Bono, two members of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, during a road trip from Montana to New Mexico.

"Trudell," an official selection of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival and winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Seattle Film Festival, begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Carnahan Theatre. The film documents the experiences of Trudell, a passionate voice for the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970s.

Trudell, a Santee Sioux, spoke out against the injustice of the arrest of Leonard Peltier, and was involved in many protests against the U.S. government's handling of Indian affairs. In 1979, during one protest, he burned an American flag on the steps of FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hours later, his pregnant wife, three children, and mother-in-law were killed in a mysterious fire on a Nevada Indian reservation. After the tragedy, Trudell became less active in AIM, but has continued to share his vision through public appearances and his art.

Trudell is an acclaimed poet, national recording artist, actor, and activist. He began recording his poetry to traditional Native music in 1982. Trudell has released several albums, including "Bone Days," which was executive produced by actress Angelina Jolie. His latest double album, "Madness & The Moremes," showcases more than five years of new music.

Trudell and the band, Bad Dog, will perform in JCC's Student Union at 8:30 p.m. on May 1 to close the festival.

Jamestown campus: 525 Falconer Street, P.O. Box 20, Jamestown, NY 14702-0020

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