This Week is all about amazing Native people doing amazing things...
Providing Healing Through Martial Arts
Patty Stonefish, Lakota, has been studying taekwondo and hapkido (immobilization moves) for over a decade. Now, she is taking that knowledge and launching a program called Arming Sisters/Reawakening Warriors in Fargo, ND.
But this is more than just a self-defense class. Before any hapkido happens, Patty and her husband Dereck discuss the impact of generational trauma in Native societies.
In Patty’s words, the workshops focus on putting the “self” back in self-defense. Many Western approaches put people on guard against the world, she says. “I wanted women to rediscover what’s powerful in themselves. You are strong,” Patty tells women. “You are awake.”
Patty and her husband hope to expand their workshops to include a series for men and boys on masculinity. Read the full story here.
Driving the Rolling Rez Arts Bus
Managed by the First People Fund, the Rolling Rez Arts bus crisscrosses Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. The bus acts as an art studio, a business training center, and a bank.
On Pine Ridge, over 80% of the home-based businesses are art-related, but supplies and resources for these artists are often hard to access. Not to mention, in an area where jobs are scarce, the artists are often selling their work just to buy dinner.
"A lot of the artists have amazing art skills, but may lack some of the basic business skills, marketing, pricing, financial management, things like that," said Jeremy Staab, program manager with First Peoples Fund. "We have a two-day comprehensive business training ... but what we were seeing is that some of our artists were having to hitchhike to get here because they have transportation challenges. ... Many of them are in survival mode." Read the full story here.
Writing and Starring in Award Winning Movies
Wendell Mills, Jr's life had hit rock bottom, and he was only 16-years-old. Shortly after being released from juvenile detention, he was approached by Films By Youth Inside to attend a film class, and his life has never been the same.
In the class, dedicated to changing the lives of incarcerated young men through the art of film making, Mills wrote, performed, directed, and produced a film called Escape, which explores deep topics, such as: suicide, poverty, abuse, and homosexuality. The film premiered last October and has gone on to win the Best Student Film at the 2015 LA SKINS Fest (the largest Native American film festival in the US). Read the whole story here.
Challenging Traditional Archaeology
Paulette Steeves, University of Massachusetts Amherst's new director of the Native American Studies, is shaking up the archeology world. She is out to prove, through the use of "indigenous ways and methods," a different history of Native people than the one we currently accept.
The history of indigenous people in the Americas was manufactured, says Steeves, to make it easier to overlook the atrocities that colonization brought... Tim McCleary, department head at Little Big Horn College in Montana, said that “Paulette’s work is part of a growing idea of re-examining the scientific approach to include the voice of native people in their own story about themselves.” Read the full story here.