In case you missed my segment on Alicia Menendez Tonight (which airs weeknights @7pm ET on the new Fusion network) you can watch it here…or tune in tonight @7:30pm ET. If you don’t have Fusion, you can watch the video HERE.
We’re more than half-way through November and for Native Americans like me, that means we’ve made it through Halloween–a holiday that makes Indigenous people groan at Pocahotties and Indian braves costumes. Once we get past the construction paper headdresses that Thanksgiving brings, there’s still just one more issue to tackle on the calendar: Washington’s NFL team, the Redskins.
Are you listening, Dan Snyder? Your Washington NFL team needs a name change.
Countless organizations and news outlets have come out in support of that change and have agreed to stop using your team’s name at all:
Mayor of Washington DC, Vincent Gray
The Oneida Indian Nation
Sports Illustrated’s site Monday Morning Quarter Back
Washington City Paper
The Kansas City Star
Native American Journalists Association
American Indian Movement
Washington, D.C. City Council
Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y.
…just to name a few!
But if TMZ’s got it right, Dan – never going to change the name – Snyder, you may be renaming your team the Washington Bravehearts, you’ve missed the point.
I was a sophomore in high school, about 15 years old, when a rather hostile group of cheerleaders and football players cornered me, yelling, as I sat on a bench in the quad between classes. “Don’t you have school pride?” a cheerleader shouted. “You should feel proud! We’re honoring your people!” one football player hollered.
I was the only Native American (as far as I knew) at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California. Irvine is a planned city in Southern California and one of the safest cities in the United States, but I didn’t feel safe that day.
I had met one-on-one with the principal, my guidance counsellor, a few teachers and several students to share my negative feelings toward our school’s mascot – an anonymous Native American “warrior” with long, flowing, jet-black hair, a large nose and huge muscles. I guess I thought if I made it known that I felt appropriating Native American imagery was offensive, they’d stop. I was outnumbered, though, and my personal feelings didn’t matter. But that’s the thing: As Native people, especially as urban Natives (what we Indigenous people living in urban centers call ourselves), we are almost always outnumbered. So, we go unnoticed and unheard. Our opinions never really matter.
Students wore goofy, cartoonish costumes of our mascot (and his equally tasteless “warrior princess” girlfriend) at pep rallies and games. The pair would dance and do occasional acrobatic moves, as they made their grand entrance to the deafening sounds of the school’s marching band, playing the quintessential Hollywood fight song that, for me at least, conjures up images of a scene from an old Western movie: “savage” Indians on horseback approaching a village of settlers…Uh-oh, there must be trouble.
Lonnnnnng time no post! But, I’m back(!) and excited to announce that I have moved down to South Florida to work as the Host and Multimedia Journalist for The Seminole Channel (which is owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida). It was difficult to say goodbye to New York City, but the rest of Indian Country was calling. (Not to worry, though…NYC has not seen the last of me!)
For those who are interested or have asked where they can watch The Seminole Channel, it currently airs on Directv and is only viewable by Seminole Tribal members living on one of the six STOF reservations. But, there are plans to expand our audience and eventually share content with other Indigenous news networks soon. I will be sure you let you know when and where you can view our content as our reach continues to grow.
I moved to South Florida to work for Seminole Media Productions because I care about Indigenous people and telling Indigenous stories, and I am very excited to be a part of an incredible operation with passionate and dedicated media professionals. I am excited about collaborating in an effort to make SMP an even more successful operation than it already is…The possibilities of what we can and will achieve are endless!
The panelists were: Nils Johan Heatta, Chairman of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network; J. Kehaulani Kauanui, a professor at Wesleyan University and radio producer; and Angel Tibán Guala, Director of the television of Movimiento Indígena Campesino de Cotopaxi (TV MICC).
Our expert discussants were: Monika Ille – Director of Programming, Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Canada; Keoni Lee – General Manager, ‘Ōiwi TV, Hawai’i; Emil Her Many Horses (Ogala Lakota, United States), National Museum of the American Indian, “Our voices on the Air : Reaching new audiences through indigenous radio”
And, we screened videos from: Komi Television (Russian Federation); TV MICC (Ecuador); Indigenous Information Network (Kenya); DJ Atama Katama (Malaysia)
I was thrilled that there was tons of buzz on Twitter and Facebook about the day and the panel itself, especially given the significance social media has in enabling every day people to share news that is important to them without the costs required for a broadcast TV studio or radio station.
I really thought I’d be nervous moderating the panel (which lasted nearly 4 1/2hours!), but I wasn’t. I felt really comfortable sitting on stage, leading the conversation and soliciting questions from the audience.
The highlight of the day was getting to meet U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon! Aside from providing a poignant address, he took a great photo!
Another fun moment was the interview I did before the panel with a Slovenian radio station:
Just when you thought A Tribe Called Red couldn’t get any better, they come out with a fierce new music video with incredible Monterrey-based DJ Javier Estrada!
Not only did this collaboration produce “Sopranos Azteca” – a visual/musical feast for the eyes and ears, but they are promising that this is just the first video of a three-part series! (I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!)
As Isabela Raygoza of Remezcla.com explains, this piece (like the majority of the group’s music videos) leverages more than just classic Hollywood fodder about Native people and intoxicating, hard-hitting, “pow wow stepping” beats:
“…it goes further into history highlighting today’s most common misconceptions about colonization. Dubbing the popular TV series The Sopranos, the characters discuss the meanings behind Columbus Day and the indigenous populations, bringing both sides of the debate to light: whether Columbus was a slave trader who inspired the genocide of indigenous people or a grand conquistador and hero to America. “
What I love most about ATCR (and other young, Indigenous artists I’ve come across in recent years) is their desire to both celebrate and honor Native traditions (be they music, visual imagery, stories, etc.) and push the conversation forward – carefully carving out a unique, creative presence into the foreseeable future. We are just as relevant as ever thanks to musical pioneers like A Tribe Called Red.
If you’re in the Tri-State Area and are dying to experience an Electric Pow Wow, you should definitely be at SOB’s in New York City next Saturday (May 31st)! A Tribe Called Red will be holding it down, representing Ottawa and Canadian Aboriginals (whether they know it or not!), so be sure to find a way to get there!
But, if you can’t make it to NYC, ATCR will be Pow Wow’ing in these other fine cities this summer:
May 26 Montreal – Eastern Bloc
June 01 Boston – Good Life
June 19 Winnipeg – Winnipeg Jazz Festival
June 20 Regina – TBD
June 21 Edmonton – The Works Festival
June 22 Ottawa – Special Event
June 23 Peterborough – Ode’min Giizis Festival
July 08 Ottawa – RBC Ottawa Bluesfest
Aug 03 Montreal – Presence Autochtone
If you love Indigenous arts + culture stories like this one and are interested in news featuring rising creative Native minds from the US, Canada, and beyond, please consider signing up for updates on the launch of my newest project NativeRemix.com! You will be notified via e-mail as soon as the site goes live!
We are still looking for more bloggers, videographers, and photographers, as well as artists to feature! If you, or someone you know, would like their work published or promoted on NativeRemix, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to everyone who entered my logo design contest at 99designs.com! And, thank you to everyone who gave me their input on the designs I was considering!
Here is the design I have chosen…I hope you like it!
NativeRemix.com is a multimedia arts + culture news site for Indigenous youth of the U.S. and Canada that is currently in development. The site will feature work created by artistic Native talent from all parts of Indian Country with a focus on the younger, Indigenous audience.
We are currently looking for writers/bloggers as well as Native artists (musicians, singers, DJs, dancers, painters, photographers, videographers, fashion designers, etc.) who would like to be featured on our site. We also welcome advertisers who are interested in reaching our target audience.
If you, or someone you know, would like to be a part of NativeRemix.com, please send an e-mail to: editor@NativeRemix.com!
Below is a video about our “pitch day” – when I won a seed grant to fund the project!
The mission of the site is to provide creative, culturally relevant content to Native youth, highlighting the growing international Indigenous artistic movement. (So, instead of focusing on sad, depressing news – you know, those stereotypical stories EVERYONE has heard over and over again – we’ll focus on the inspiring, uplifting stuff.) And, I’m lucky to have an amazing team of Native content producers on board to help me get this project off the ground!
Those are just some of our ideas…We want your ideas, too!
The purpose of the site is to expand the platform Native artists currently have and be the “go to” place for creative Native content from all corners of Turtle Island! We’re taking a for us/by us approach to reporting on the Native art world.
With that said, we’re still looking for writers, content producers, and advertisers. If you want to share your take on the latest Native fashion trend or artistic movement in your community, send your thoughts to us at email@example.com. We welcome content submissions from any and all Native writers, bloggers, journalists, artists, and fans alike! This is your opportunity to add your voice to the conversation and have people take note.
If you have a product or business (say, an Etsy store or t-shirt company) that you would like to advertise to Native youth (age 14-34) and the young at heart!, consider being one of our founding advertisers and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about incentives and our ad rates.
Please sign up for updates on the site and our scheduled launch date, by signing up at NativeRemix.com! (You will be rewarded with a free A Tribe Called Red album download for doing so.)
…Please help us out and spread the word – Our success depends on you!
You can follow NativeRemix.com on Twitter (@TheNativeRemix) and “like” us on Facebook (FB/NativeRemix)! Your support is much appreciated!!!
And, again: If you, or someone you know, would like to contribute to the site or be featured by one of our writers/content producers, please be in touch! E-mail email@example.com to submit comments/questions/suggestions, story ideas, etc.
So, how can you win $200? It’s easy! – Just enter my contest at 99designs.com and create a winning logo for the NativeRemix brand! If you’re not a designer, you could encourage a friend who is a designer to enter and split the winnings however you see fit!
I would LOVE for a Native designer to win, so please tell all of your friends to take a shot!
Have a great weekend…and good luck to anyone who enters!