Annual Avi Kwa Ame Powwow, which kicks off Friday, Jan. 17, spans three days at the Mohave Crossing Event Center in Fort Mohave, Arizona. (courtesy photo)

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Native News Online is launching a new weekly column to highlight upcoming arts, entertainment and cultural events taking place around Indian Country. Every Thursday morning, we’ll deliver a round-up of arts markets, festivals and entertainment happenings that are coming up.   

Here’s a quick look ahead at just a couple powwows you might want to put on your calendar for this weekend, if you’re within traveling distance. Also, Native News Online offers a quick breakdown of the Indigenous cinematic talent whose remarkable productions will be featured at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival later this month.

Jan. 17-19 26th Annual Avi Kwa Ame Powwow Mohave Crossing Event Center 101 Aztec Rd, Fort Mohave, Arizona

This weekend, the 26th Annual Avi Kwa Ame Powwow returns to the Mohave Crossing Event Center, located directly across the river from the AVI Resort & Casino.

Hosted by the Mojave Indian Tribe, this annual event brings Native Americans from tribes across the country to a celebrate tribal culture through dance, music competitions and cultural displays. For dancer registration times and ticket passes to this three-day powwow, click here.

For updates, follow the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe on Facebook.

Saturday, January 18 2nd Annual Bear Moon Powwow Indian Community School 10405 W. St. Martins Road, Franklin, WI

Saturday, Indian Community School (ICS) invites its alumni, students, families and community members to attend its second annual Bear Moon Powwow — a traditional winter pow wow held here at the school. As part of the school’s 50-Year Celebration, ICS will honor its alumni and commemorate the event with “a special gift” for all attendees.

Along with dance and hand-drum specials, festivities also include a giveaway, raffle and craft and food vendors and other concessions. A commemorative 50-year celebration t-shirt will also be for sale. Also, bison chili, corn muffins and a 50-Year Celebration cake will be served during the supper break, along with other concessions.

Looking to spend the night? For hotel accommodations, visit the Hampton Inn’s website for group booking details.

The day prior, Friday, Jan. 17, the party starts early with the 1st annual Winter Round Dance and Celebration Feast, which kicks off at 4 p.m. at the Indian Community School. The dance welcomes alumni, students and families to attend the dance and accompanying 50-Year Celebration Feast (4-5p.m.). The evening also includes tours of the school (5-5:45 p.m.) and will also devote time to honoring ICS’s history and alumni. Then, the dance starts at 6 p.m.

Jan. 23-Feb. 2 Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program spotlight emerging talents Sundance Film Festival Park City, Utah Public tickets on sale Jan. 21

Looking ahead to the Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program recently announced its selection of Indigenous-made films premiering at this month’s 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The Indigenous Program, which has a global focus, showcases five Indigenous-made films from Canada, Sweden and the United States will premiere at this year’s fest. Public tickets for the Park City fest go on sale Tuesday, Jan. 21. The prestigious festival runs Jan. 23-Feb. 2.

Lily Gladstone and Julian Ballentyne appear in Little Chief, a short film by Erica Tremblay. The short is an official 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection, alongside others in Sundance’s Indigenous Program. (courtesy photo)

This year’s selected films are: Charter (World Dramatic Competition), Little Chief (Narrative Shorts), Lichen (Documentary Shorts), Now Is the Time (Documentary Shorts), małni – towards the ocean, towards the shore (New Frontier) and Lichen (Documentary Shorts).

Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the program, said in a statement: “Following founder and President Robert Redford’s original vision, Sundance Institute has remained committed to supporting Indigenous artists throughout the Institute’s history. This has established a rich legacy of work and has supported more than 350 filmmakers through labs, grants, mentorships, public programs, and the platform of the Sundance Film Festival.”

On Monday, Jan. 27 at the Native Forum Breakfast at the Festival, also announces the 2020 Merata Mita Fellow—named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita, New Zealand's first Indigenous female filmmaker. From there, the new 2020 fellows will be announced.

The Indigenous Program annually supports a roster of emerging filmmaking fellows.

The current Indigenous Program Fellows, whose film projects are being supported in their development, include:

Peshawn Bread, a screenwriter, poet, and cinematographer from the Penneducah (sugar eater) and Yappaducah (root eater) bands of the Comanche Nation). Her current project, The Diary of Mistress Red.

Kyle Bell (Creek-Thlopthlocco Tribal Town) is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker from Tulsa, Oklahoma. His current project, Spirits, tells of a young Native boy who is conflicted between leaving his family behind for a future playing college basketball.

Shaandiin Tome (Diné) is a filmmaker from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Trained as an editor and cinematographer, she is a 2016 Sundance Full Circle Fellowship alumna and was selected for the 2017 Sundance Native Filmmakers Lab with her short film project Mud (Hashtł'ishnii). Currently, she is working on Dibé, a film about a young sheepherder who goes through the depths of Navajo ways of life.

Charine Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo) is a San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico-based filmmaker and student at the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2019, Gonzales received a Sundance Institute Indigenous Film Fellowship for her script River Bank, about a young Pueblo girl who robs a bar to support her family’s business as her grandmother waits outside as the getaway driver.


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Author: Rich Tupica