“Native Youth Cooking Show” documentary short

The Native Youth Cooking Show was co-produced by the Native Youth Enrichment Program and the Big Picture High School at Highline, Washington in 2010. The collective idea of Native Youth, this film was to purposely be a cooking show meant to represent Native culture in cooking shows, addressing an absence of other Native cuisine on cable about world foods, while introducing them to traditional foods, medicines, and teachings. “Thank you” to all the participating members of the Native community, especially the local Puget Sound tribes, for sharing their time, knowledge, energy, and teachings with us!

Native Tribal Scholars Native Literature Teacher Angelo Baca to screen new documentary at American Indian Film Festival 2013

Angelo Baca, last summer’s Native Tribal Scholars Native Literature teacher, is going to screen his newest documentary collaboration “Into America: The Ancestor’s Land” at the 2013 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, California on Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at noon, Delancey Street Theatre. The film is directed by Nadine Zacharias and is produced by Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg in Germany.

Into America – The Ancestors Land
Director: Nadine Zacharias
Documentary Feature • 84m • Germany


An extraordinary couple embarks on a journey INTO the heart of AMERICA starting in the water metropolis of Seattle and heading for THE sacred ANCESTORS’ LAND on the arid Navajo Reservation. Showing a dramatic family portrait of a loving grandmother, Helen Yellowman – an enchanting traditional Navajo storyteller who refuses to speak English – and her adult grandson, Angelo Baca – a young academic who commutes between the two worlds, this road trip reveals an unknown America. As both navigate through America’s contradictions, nonetheless celebrating their strong connection to the homeland, it gradually comes to light: the Ancestors’ Lands are being desecrated.

Thank you to the Native Tribal Scholars program for their support and encouragement with filmmaking and education. I hope that I will get to screen this for the NTS students next year or sometime during this school year to bring the story to their community and educate ourselves as well as others. Thank you to all my native family, friends, loved ones, and of course, my Navajo people.


Angelo Baca

The American Indian Film Festival’s Website listing is here: http://festival.aifisf.com/program/into-america-the-ancestors-land-2/

The Film’s website blog is here: http://intoamericafilm.wordpress.com/

The Big Read: Louise Erdrich’s Native Literature classic “Love Medicine” coming to a library near you!

Exhibit open September 27 – October 24, 2013
Exhibit located at Brown University’s Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect St, Providence. See the Library’s website for hours. Visitors without Brown ID will be admitted to view the exhibit. Please be prepared to present a valid photo ID and give the exhibit’s name.
Join us in reading Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine for the 2013-2014 Big Read in Rhode Island, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, hosted in 2013-2014 in Rhode Island by the Tomaquag Museum. This exhibit focuses on stories that can be told about objects from Ojibwe country, such as beaded bandolier bags and birch bark baskets, from the collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University. It highlights the role that objects play in establishing and maintaining identity and relationships over time and across space, foregrounding connections among tribes across the woodland regions of North America, and between American Indian and non-Indian communities. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. http://www.NEABigRead.org
Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Manning Hall
Providence, Rhode Island 02912
(401) 863-5700

This exhibit is available at Brown University at the end of September but “The Big Read” will come to a library near you all year long so keep watch. For more information, please access the Tomaquag Museum info link here: http://www.tomaquagmuseum.com/index.cfm?ac=museum&page=497&kw=Big%20Read%20Events

Day 20: “The Residential School Experience” and “The Business of Fancydancing”

Today, we talked about poems and short stories from “The Business of Fancydancing” by Sherman Alexie and watched a short documentary film called, “A Century of Genocide in the Americas: The Residential School Experience” by award-winning director Rosemary Gibbons, a graduate of the Native Voices Documentary Program at the University of Washington. The poems and stories talked about the clash of modern life and culture, identity and history, and being a native person navigating the complexities of contemporary changes. The film discussed residential and boarding school experiences of survivors with difficult circumstances being taken from home, made to assimilate and be institutionalized, and ultimately, be white-washed of their culture and have Indian culture, language, and identity removed from them. Discussion was great and students had good questions. They are fantastic in engaging with difficult material like this and thinking about them together.

Sherman Alexie interviews

A conversation with the award-winning author and chronicler of the Native American experience.

Day 17: Sherman Alexie’s “Saint Junior” and “Maxakali Creation Story” and other oral traditions.

Today, we went over the similarities and differences of the Maxakali Creation story from South America and other oral tradition stories from North America. Students were able to discern similar themes and ideas while looking for differences in content, style, culture, and characters. Also, we discussed “Saint Junior” which is fortuitously aligned with their Film class which is showing Sherman Alexie’s “Smoke Signals” in which they are able to compare his work in both classes along with discussion of themes such as basketball, education, and love.



Day 12: “An American in New York” by LeAnne Howe

Today, we talked about this reading and how she introduces some very controversial topics which at the time of her writing this story in the 1980’s was something that was discussed hotly: immigration. In this modern day, it is still a contested subject around America’s foreign and domestic policies post 9/11 and continually rising racial tensions. Also, she talks about the unique Native American perspective of being indigenous and native to this land while more and more immigrants come to America and how the view from each perspective is different depending on your viewpoint and where you are coming from.Image

Day 11: E. Pauline Johnson’s “As it was in the beginning”

Haudenosaunee writer, E. Pauline Johnson, of Mohawk and English descent considered "Indian girl of modern fiction" at the turn of the 19th century.

Haudenosaunee writer, E. Pauline Johnson, of Mohawk and English descent considered “Indian girl of modern fiction” at the turn of the 19th century.

Today, we discussed Johnson’s reading and how her cultural influence shows up in her writing of this story and in many of her other ones as well. She writes a short story that is surprisingly full of issues that are struggled with by modern natives even today about love, death, religion, culture, identity, and home. Her ideas have been marvelously posed to readers speaking from the time of her writing of the turn of the 19th century which resonate today. The discussion was lively and interesting and garnered the curiosity of many Native Literature students.

Day 7: Identity, Culture, Love, and “Assimilation”

Short Story "Assimilation"

Today, we talked about Sherman Alexie’s short story called “Assimilation” and how the themes of identity, culture, love, and race play into “treaties” of our lives. Agreements are made all the time, both personal and legal, that affect the decisions and choices we make. Alexie does a good job of being honest and open about hard questions with relationships. The conversation was varied but the students did try to tackle the difficult subject matter.

Day #2 Native Literature: “Moshup’s Bridge”


Moshup’s Bridge story

Today, we discussed the Wampanoag story of Moshup and his adventures. One story has him building a bridge made of stones but is given trouble by a trickster figure who aims to keep him from completing his task. Also, the importance of Oral Tradition and Storytelling in tribal cultures and how languages change and influence different cultural worldviews, then and now.