National Museum of the American Indian’s 2017 Native Cinema Showcase Returns to New Mexico for 17th Year

Weeklong Event Also Features “State of the Art” Conversation and SWAIA Classification X Winning Films
June 28, 2017
News Release
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Dolores Huerta speaks into microphone

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the 17th annual Native Cinema Showcase, the museum’s premier film event, during the week of Aug. 15–20 in Santa Fe, N.M. The showcase runs in conjunction with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) Santa Fe Indian Market, the largest juried show of Native fine art in the world. Held at the New Mexico History Museum, the showcase will screen more than 50 feature-length and short films representing seven countries and 31 Native Nations, including the winners of SWAIA’s moving-image category, Classification X. All of the museum’s Saturday, Aug. 19, screenings are family friendly, and the day includes a special outdoor screening of Disney’s Moana at the Santa Fe Railyard. Admission to all of the showcase’s events is free.

Among the many noteworthy screenings, highlights include the showcase opening, filmmaker Valerie Red-Horse Mohl’s Mankiller, the documentary film celebrating the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to be elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Later in the week, the museum collaborates with Sundance Institute and PBS Distribution to screen Dolores, the insightful documentary about workers’ rights icon Dolores Huerta. The film premiered as an Official Selection in the U.S. Documentary category at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. The showcase closes with Sam Wainwright Douglas’ Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film, which follows the art collective Postcommodity as they strive to construct Repellent Fence, a two-mile outdoor artwork that straddles the U.S.-Mexico border.

The museum will also host its annual “State of the Art” conversation Friday, Aug. 18, at 3 p.m. at the New Mexico History Museum, with a theme of “Indian Art and Indian Activism.” The past few years have witnessed an increase in activism by Native Americans, peaking with the events surrounding the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River reservations. Many recent works by important American Indian artists reflect this surge. A panel of noted Native artists will give their thoughts on art and activism, how they merge and whether American Indian art is moving into a period featuring more Native artists making pointed commentary on the world around them.

“Film, perhaps in some ways more than any other medium, offers a visceral immediacy to topics concerning and affecting Native communities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “This year, the museum has put much focus into presenting films and programming that embrace this immediacy and hopefully leave viewers not simply intrigued or entertained, but more informed to the state of Native affairs across Indian Country and beyond.”

Showcase Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 15

7 p.m.: Mankiller (2017, 74 min.)
Discussion follows with director Valerie Red-Horse Mohl.

Wednesday, Aug. 16

1 p.m.: Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth (52 min.)
3 p.m.: Future Voices (90 min.)
This program examines the Future Voices of New Mexico project and is introduced by Marcella Ernest (Bad River Band of Ojibwe), project director.

7 p.m.: 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice (2016, 76 min.) 
Discussion follows with director Melinda Janko.

Thursday, Aug. 17

1 p.m.: On the Path (80 min. total) 
This shorts program centers on the inherited knowledge that helps one succeed in life and preserve one’s culture.

3 p.m.: Angry Inuk (2016, 85 min.)

7 p.m.: Dolores (2017, 98 min.)
Program presented in collaboration with Sundance Institute and PBS Distribution.

Friday, Aug. 18

11 a.m. and 7 p.m.: SWAIA Classification X Winning Films    
Q&A sessions, moderated by Jhane Myers (Comanche/Blackfeet), will be held with attending winners of Narrative Short, Documentary Short, Animation Short, Experimental Short, Feature and Youth Division categories.

3 p.m.: “State of the Art” Conversation

5 p.m.: “Moving Pictures: The Current State of Native American Animation” Panel Discussion and Reception, will be held at the Allan Houser Art Park at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA).

Saturday, Aug. 19

1 p.m.: Future Focused (66 min. total)   
This program of family-friendly short films is fun for kids of all ages.

3 p.m.: Mayors of Shiprock (2017, 56 min.)

8 p.m.: Moana (2016, 107 min.) 
Screened outdoors at the Santa Fe Railyard Park Screen.

Sunday, Aug. 20

1 p.m.: Rise Above (90 min.)
This shorts program focuses on rising above adversity and learning life’s lessons.

3 p.m.: Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film (2017, 74 min.) 
Discussion follows with director Sam Wainwright Douglas.

All screenings are subject to change.

About the National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. For additional information, including hours and directions, visit Follow the museum via social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Join the conversation using #NativeCinemaShowcase and #NCS2017.

About the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts

SWAIA (’s mission is to bring Native arts to the world by inspiring artistic excellence, fostering education and creating meaningful partnerships. The 96th annual Santa Fe Indian Market will display the work of more than 900 artists from 250 federally recognized tribes in more than 700 booths for a two-day period.

About the New Mexico History Museum

The New Mexico History Museum, 113 Lincoln Ave., in Santa Fe, N.M., is part of a campus that includes the Palace of the Governors, the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States; the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library; the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives; the Press at the Palace of the Governors; and the Native American Artisans Program, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Museum exhibitions and programs are supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.

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