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Online Festival Features Native American Business Representatives, Films and Youth Leaders on Sustainability and Innovation in Indigenous Agriculture 

In celebration of Earth Day, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents its annual Living Earth Festival, available online and on demand this year. The four-day festival will bring together Native innovators and practitioners dedicated to using Indigenous knowledge to protect and sustain the environment. Through conversations, cooking demonstrations and film screenings, this year’s festival explores agriculture trends, innovations and sustainability in Indigenous communities and Native-owned businesses. All events will stream at americanindian.si.edu/living-earth.

The festival will open with a message from Notah Begay III (Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta), four-time PGA Tour champion, sportscaster and founder of the Notah Begay III Foundation, which provides health and wellness education to Native youth. 

The festival is made possible through the support of the Native American Agriculture Fund. This program will be followed by a webinar series in the summer and fall titled “Part II: Voices from the Field: The Business of Native Agriculture.” In the second series, Native farmers and ranchers will discuss sustainable food systems and agricultural economic development in their Nations. 

Schedule:

Building an Agriculture Business in Indian Country 

Experts address a crucial issue—creating innovative, robust and ecologically sound food systems and agricultural businesses in Indigenous communities.  Speakers include Dawn Sherman (Lakota/Delaware/Shawnee), CEO of Native American Natural Foods; Mark N. Fox, Chairman, Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; and Leonard Forsman, Chairman, Suquamish Tribe. Moderated by Carmen Davis (Makah/Chippewa Cree/Yakama), editor of Native Business magazine.

Youth in Action: Sustainable Agriculture 

This panel discussion brings together young Indigenous leaders to address the role that traditional ecological knowledge plays in their work as farmers and entrepreneurs. Moderated by Michaela Pavlat (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). Panelists include Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Jack Poshano (Hopi) and Marco Ovando (Shoshone-Paiute Tribe).

Cooking Demonstration 

Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet/Cherokee Nation), founder of Indigikitchen, an online cooking platform, will explore traditional Indigenous foods and show how to incorporate them into people’s everyday lives. 

Film Screenings:  

Gather

(USA,2020,74 min.)

Director: Sanjay Rawal

Producer: Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek)

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty

(USA, 2020, 56 min.)

Director: Nancy Ghertner

Canadian Director: Brian J. Francis (Mi’kmaq)

This film documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki, who live in both the United States and Canada.

Crow Country: The Right to Food Sovereignty

(USA, 2020, 21 min.)

Director: Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Northern Arapaho/Northern Paiute)

Crow Country follows several tribal members who are fighting for better food and a better future for their community.

One Word Sawalmem

(USA, 2019, 18 min.)

Director: Natasha Deganello Giraudie

Co-director: Michael “Pom” Preston (Winnemem Wintu)

A rare look into the life of Native wisdom keepers, men and women respected within Indigenous communities for their intimate knowledge about living in balance with the natural world.

Guardianes de semilla (Guardians of the Seeds)

(Colombia, 2020,8 min.)

Director: Mauricio Telpiz

 

Four Pastos community members known as guardians of the ancestral seeds showcase traditional rituals. 

You’re reading the first draft of history. 

November is  Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.  
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country.  We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.   

We hope you will join us in celebrating Native American heritage and history this November and invite you to consider the old adage that “Journalism is the first draft of history.” If you appreciate the voice Native News Online gives to Native American people, we hope you will support our work with a donation so we can build our newsroom and continue to amplify Native voices and Native perspectives.

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