It’s appropriate that Imagining the Indian has been selected to be screened on the same day as the Boston Marathon inasmuch as Billy Mills, the first U.S. Olympian to capture gold in the men’s 10,000m, in 1964, and a member of the Ogala Lakota tribe, is a feature interview in the documentary.
“Our greatest hope is that through these films the audience will be inspired and encouraged to embrace all the world’s cultural diversity and work towards a more understanding, peaceful world,” said Patrick Jerome, Founder of the Boston International Film Festival.
“We are so proud to screen this film at the Boston International Film Festival. We made this film for the good of Indian Country and with the support of Indian Country, and we are excited to debut at a festival dedicated to sharing diverse and powerful visions of humanity ” said Co-Director Ben West.
Imagining the Indian is a comprehensive examination of the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find demeaning and offensive. While the filmmakers are encouraged by the recent changes made by the Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Baseball Team, they realize that the fight against Native American Mascoting is far from over.
The Kansas City National Football League (NFL) Team, the Chicago National Hockey League (NHL) Team, and the Atlanta Major League Baseball (MLB) Team remain adamant that they will not change their team names or practices, including the insidious Tomahawk/Arrowhead Chop. Additionally, close to 2,000 secondary schools throughout the country still have harmful Native themed mascots. Imagining the Indian seeks to shine a light on these harms.
“It’s great Billy Mills is being recognized for his amazing and inspiring Olympic performance,” said Co-Director Aviva Kempner. “Changing the Washington Football Team’s name is long overdue, but the victory is only piecemeal until the other pro and amateur teams also choose new names.”
“And eradicating Native American mascoting will rid us of its perniciousness, which is that exposure to it is at the root of negative stereotyping and treatment of all people of color,” said Co-Producer Kevin Blackistone.
After Boston, Imagining the Indian
will make its way to Washington, D.C. for Filmfest DC
(FFDC). The film will be screened on Friday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m.
at Landmark E Street theater
. Following the screening, the Directors and Producers of Imagining the Indian
will take part in a post-screening discussion of the film.
“Now in its 36th year, the Washington, D.C. International Film Festival presents feature premieres, documentaries, shorts and special events in an enjoyable atmosphere for film lovers. The festival’s audience is widely diverse, curious, and knowledgeable. Filmfest DC is the largest and longest running film festival in the Nation’s Capital and has developed into one of our city’s major cultural activities,” said Tony Gittens, Director of Filmfest DC.
The filmmaking team behind Imagining the Indian look forward to taking part in the Boston International Film Festival, and Filmfest DC. The film is made possible by generous support from Executive Producers Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Co-Executive Producers Jessica and Steve Sarowitz.
The film is Produced by the Ciesla Foundation, Co-Directed and Co-Produced by Aviva Kempner and Ben West (Cheyenne), and Co-Produced by Kevin Blackistone, Yancey Burns, and Sam Bardley. Interviewees include Activist Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee), Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), Olympic Gold-Medalist Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota), Founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian W. Richard West Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), USA Today Columnist Christine Brennan, Under Secretary for Museums and Culture at the Smithsonian, Kevin Gover (Pawnee), U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo (Mvskoke), Historian Phil Deloria (Dakota), Washington Football Team Legend Charles Mann, Congressman Jamie Raskin, Broadcaster Bob Costas, The Star-Ledger sports columnist Jerry Izenberg, and NAACP President Derrick Johnson, among many others.