November 2021 – Indigenous Heritage Month
First Fridays is back! Books, films, and art allow us to create connections, envision ourselves in the life of another, express our emotions, and engage our brains. We can use these resources for entertainment as we approach a snowy winter on the shores of Lake Superior or observe the ending of fall in Door County, and continue living differently through the pandemic. We can use them for personal growth, to become more informed, to examine our history, experience gratitude in the present, and encourage our communities to build back better.
November is recognized as Indigenous Heritage Month. In honor of this, we wanted to focus on recommendations from Native creators and Native voices. Native communities across Wisconsin, the U.S., and Canada endured decades of colonialism, family separation, and forced sterilization and other atrocities that attempted to erase their rich cultures, tradition, and existence. The efforts to rebuild and revitalize community, language, and culture must persist with purposeful intention. The support of Native creators and voices this month and every month, by people who identify as black, brown, and white from industrialized cities to rural towns, can join us all together to foster Native communities and culture to thrive.
Indigenae is a community-guided podcast that is dedicated to Indigenous wxmen’s health and wellbeing. Join hosts Sarah Stern (Cherokee), Olivia Trujillo (Navajo) and Dr. Sophie Neuner (Karuk) as they interview a new guest each week and take listeners on a journey through Indigenous womanhood, exploring topics from Coming of Age to Becoming an Elder.
Indigenous Action is an autonomous anti-colonial broadcast with unapologetic and claws-out analysis towards total liberation. We feature radical frontline Indigenous voices and dig deep into critical issues impacting our communities. So take your seat by this fire and may the bridges we burn together, light our way.
Hawkeye (TV series) – Alaqua Cox (Menominee and Mohican) is a Native American actress who was raised in Kenesha, WI.
Cox was born deaf to Elena Heath and Bill Cox. She was born and raised in the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin and is of the Menominee and Mohican nation. She attended the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and played on the girls’ basketball team from 2014 to 2015 in addition to taking part in their volleyball team. Cox is also an amputee with a prosthetic leg.
She will star in the Disney+/Marvel series Hawkeye premiering November 24th on Disney+ (streaming): While in New York City post-Blip, Clint Barton must work together with the young archer Kate Bishop to confront enemies from his past as Ronin in order to get back to his family in time for Christmas.
The Stand (TV series) – Irene Bedard (Inupiat) plays community leader Ray Brentner in this recent miniseries. The Stand is an American post-apocalypse streaming television miniseries, based on the 1978 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The plot centers on a pandemic resulting from a mishap at a military biological research station which allows the escape of a lethal strain of influenza. After the pandemic kills almost the entire world population, the few survivors are drawn to one of two figures, one dark and one light, setting up a final good-vs-evil confrontation. In the novel’s dedication to his wife, King describes it as a “dark tale of the ageless struggle between good and evil.” The adaptation alters the gender of some of the main characters, moves the setting to modern-day 21st century, and features a new final episode written by King, making it the third variation of the story’s conclusion. Now streaming on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime.
Poet Warrior – A Memoir by Joy Harjo (Muscogee)
Joy Harjo, the first Native American to serve as U.S. poet laureate, invites us to travel along the heartaches, losses, and humble realizations of her “poet-warrior” road. A musical, kaleidoscopic, and wise follow-up to Crazy Brave, Poet Warrior reveals how Harjo came to write poetry of compassion and healing, poetry with the power to unearth the truth and demand justice. Harjo listens to stories of ancestors and family, the poetry and music that she first encountered as a child, and the messengers of a changing earth―owls heralding grief, resilient desert plants, and a smooth green snake curled up in surprise. She celebrates the influences that shaped her poetry, among them Audre Lorde, N. Scott Momaday, Walt Whitman, Muscogee stomp dance call-and-response, Navajo horse songs, rain, and sunrise. In absorbing, incantatory prose, Harjo grieves at the loss of her mother, reckons with the theft of her ancestral homeland, and sheds light on the rituals that nourish her as an artist, mother, wife, and community member. Moving fluidly between prose, song, and poetry, Harjo recounts a luminous journey of becoming, a spiritual map that will help us all find home. Poet Warrior sings with the jazz, blues, tenderness, and bravery that we know as distinctly Joy Harjo.
There There by Tommy Orange
Tommy Orange’s wondrous and shattering novel [fiction] follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle’s death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American–grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.
Historical & Intergenerational Trauma, Resilience, & Resistance in Indigenous Families – 30 minute webinar by Melissa Walls, PhD (Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) at John Hopkins Center for American Indian Health – Great Lakes Hub.
Youth in Action: Conversations about Our Future presented by Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian: Hear from young Native activists and changemakers from across the Western Hemisphere working towards equity and social justice for Indigenous peoples. Topics vary each month. These FREE webinars are targeted to middle and high school students. Hosted by NativeKnowledge 360°.
Red Cliff Ojibwe History (2016 PBS Special) – By the shore of Lake Superior, Marvin DeFoe and Andrew Gokee share stories of the Red Cliff Ojibwe. They tell of a history that goes back to the Ice Age, of the Sandy Lake Tragedy, of Chief Buffalo’s trip to Washington, D.C., that enabled them to stay on their land, and of preparing their children to face the changes coming in the future.
Native America (2018) – Native America explores the world created by America’s First Peoples. The four-part series reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents. As reported by the PBS press release, the series “combines modern science and scholarship with Native American traditions and oral history.”
Multiple events (all via Zoom!) hosted by Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.
‘It Is a Crisis’: Anishinaabe Michiganders Attempt to Reclaim Their Education, Culture – Article by Isaac Constans for The Gander published 10/26/21
Keeping Ojibwemowin alive: Three-year program seen as cultural revitalization – Article by Rick Olivo for Ashland Daily Press published 10/29/21
Kaleigh Nelles is a member of the Progress North Community Contributor Team