October 24, 2010

IIIRM festival honors Charlie Hill

Tribal nations sustained by arts

By Carol BerryFrom the wit of Wisconsin Oneida comedian Charlie Hill to documentaries on tribal traditions to the film “Reel Injun” and analyses of Canadian Arctic policy, the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management’s Seventh Annual Indigenous Film & Arts Festival displayed the wealth of narrative and visual art that sustains tribal nations.

The art and films “demonstrate why it is that after decades of programs of extermination and assimilation, American Indians, Maori, and other Native peoples stubbornly persist as strong political, social and cultural entities,” said Mervyn L. Tano, IIIRM president and Jeanne M. Rubin, IIIRM general counsel and film festival director.

Hill was paid tribute by an honor song in a ceremony for his “lifetime of work promoting positive images of Native peoples and bridging cultural differences through the healing power of humor.” Among many sponsors of the honoring ceremony were the University of Colorado, Native American Rights Fund and Council of Energy Resource Tribes.

The comedian joined Neil Diamond, Canadian Cree from Waskaganish, director of “Reel Injun,” to discuss the film’s use of humor and irony as it presented non-Natives’ depictions of Natives during the film industry’s 50-year evolution toward movies that originate and are produced within the Native community.
Comment:  For more on the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management, see PEACE PARTY vs. Toxic Waste. For more on Native film festivals, see Blown Away at imagineNATIVE 2010 and Two Indians Talking Voted Most Popular.

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