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NEW BUFFALO, Mich.—Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation) was named a 2022 MacArthur 'Genius' Fellow on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Native News interviewed him just after the announcement.  

Hopinka is a filmmaker, photographer, and poet whose work centers around personal positions of Indigenous homeland and landscape. He's also a professor of film at Bard College in upstate New York. 

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News of his award—which comes with a no-strings $80,000–broke while he was attending the Association on American Indian Affairs annual repatriation conference. 

"I've heard there's a genius among us," Shannon O'Loughlin, chief executive of AAIA proclaimed, ushering Hopinka to the front of a 200-person room to congratulate him. 

Native News Online's Jenna Kunze, who was at the 3-day conference in New Buffalo, Mich., spoke with Hopinka just hours after the anouncement. He talked about his work, what’s next, and what this award means for him. In short: "freedom."

WATCH the interview below. 

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About The Author
Jenna Kunze
Author: Jenna KunzeEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Senior Reporter
Jenna Kunze is a staff reporter covering Indian health, the environment and breaking news for Native News Online. She is also the lead reporter on stories related to Indian boarding schools and repatriation. Her bylines have appeared in The Arctic Sounder, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Tribal Business News, Smithsonian Magazine, Elle and Anchorage Daily News. Kunze is based in New York.