Diné

Q. Why is it important to have films created, written, and produced by Natives in today’s media?

For decades, thousands of Navajos worked the railroads, maintaining the trans-continental network. Metal Road explores the dynamics of livelihood, family and the railroads through the lens of a Navajo trackman. The film follows three Navajo railroaders from the 9001 Heavy Steel Gang as they leave their homeland to replace aging railroad tracks from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean under extreme weather conditions.

Every Monday night in the small community of Shiprock, New Mexico, a group of young Navajo leaders meet to decide how they will help their community. For more than seven years, the Northern Diné Youth Committee has worked to give youth opportunities to directly make changes within their community. But while the NDYC works to make changes, many members also consider their own futures, commitments to family and the world outside of the Shiprock. While they love their community, they all must consider their options both on and off the reservation.

The following are video chapters created to match lesson plans outlined in the Yellow Fever Educational Guide.

Click the title of the chapter to see video.

Tina Garnanez grew up in Farmington and Oaksprings on the Navajo Nation. She was recruited into the military right out of high school where she spent time as a medic in Iraq. Upon her return to the U.S., she started advocating for peace and veterans issues.

Tina Garnanez, a young Navajo woman, begins a personal investigation into the history of the Navajo Uranium Boom, examining its lasting impacts and the potential for new mining in the area. Looking at the cost of cheap energy and the future of the industry, Tina becomes an advocate, lobbyist, and a vocal proponent for environmental justice.

Recently, Vision Maker Media executive director Shirley Sneve (Lakota) caught up with Sydney Freeland (Navajo) after a screening of her movie Drunktown's Finest at imagineNATIVE. The two talked about the representation of Native Americans in film, the struggles and rewards of being a filmmaker, and how Sydney got to where she is now.

Injunuity is a collage of reflections on the Native American world, our shared past, our turbulent present, and our undiscovered future. From Columbus to the western expansion to tribal casinos, we are taught that the Native way, while at times glorious, is something of the past, something that needed to be replaced by a manifest destiny from across the ocean. But in a world increasingly short of real answers, it is time we looked to Native wisdom for guidance. It is time for some Injunuity.

“The early bird gets the worm,” my dad would always say. He is notorious for waking up between four and four-thirty in the morning. In those early dark hours, you can hear his steps, the smell of coffee brewing, and the sound of newspaper pages turning. I’m not going to lie. I was incredibly annoyed by this, much like the rest of my siblings. Admittedly, I took a lot of my parents’ teachings for granted at an early age. Today, I have a deep appreciation for my dad and the lessons he offers.

The 1491s are a comedic group that travels the nation telling Native stories and bringing various social issues to light. They describe themselves as a “gaggle of Indians chock full of cynicism and splashed with a good dose of indigenous satire.” The 1491s got their start when the father of Dallas Goldtooth married the mother of Migizi Pensoneau. Growing up, the two boys made videos for fun. Eventually, the three other members asked to join in.

From Tohatchi, New Mexico, on the Navajo Reservation, Ramona Emerson (Diné) is a filmmaker who received her degree in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1997 and has worked as a professional videographer, writer, and editor. Over her thirteen-year career, Emerson has received support from the State of New Mexico, National Geographic, Sundance Institute, and the Ford Foundation.

Joey Stylez is Cree-Metis and a Moosomin First Nations Tribal member. Moosmin is located in Saskatchewan, Canada. He had a rough upbringing and overcame that by using his talent for putting a positive light on his Native heritage.

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