This is one of the questions asked in COLUMBUS DAY LEGACY (Saturday, Feb 12 at 2pm), a film that explores quintessential American issues of the freedom of speech, ethnic pride, and the ownership of history against the backdrop of the ongoing Columbus Day Parade controversy in Denver, Colorado.
In attendance will be filmmaker Bennie Klain, a director of documentaries and short fictions. He is the founder of TricksterFilms, based in Austin, Texas. He is a fluent Navajo speaker, often incorporating the language into his work. We asked him a few questions about the film and his hopes for future projects.
BSD: Outside of being a Navajo speaker, what is your connection to the topic of COLUMBUS DAY LEGACY? What got you interested in the controversy in Denver?
BSD: Where do you hope to see this film go? What are your intentions for it?
BK: I hope that COLUMBUS DAY LEGACY spurs people to find out more about the origins of the holiday and also to find out more about the Italian American experience, as well as to find out more about contemporary Native peoples and how history continues to resonate in the present day. Troy Lynn Yellowwood, one of the participants in our documentary says it best, "I think there's two sides to every story. I think that's where we need to start. Find out more than I can tell you. Learn on your own. All I can do is peak your interest and then you have to do the rest."
BSD: What is your next project?
It tells the story of a contemporary journey that highlights the balance struck between traditional Native and western values, through the course of a unique road trip to gather peyote, a widely misunderstood plant/medicine used by Native Americans, a group still striving for full religious and political freedom. Roadman brings to life this seemingly contradictory religious practice, following the personal stories of NAC Roadmen in Navajoland as they apprentice, pray, and go about their daily lives.
COLUMBUS DAY LEGACY will be screened Saturday, Feb 12 at 2pm with
WE STILL LIVE HERE
by Anne Makepeace
Celebrated every Thanksgiving as “the Indians” who saved the Pilgrims, then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag of Southeastern Massachusetts, spurred on by their intrepid Wampanoag linguist and MacArthur honoree Jessie Littledoe Baird, are saying loud and clear, and in their Native tongue, “Âs Nutayuneân,” – We Still Live Here.