National Museum of the American Indian’s 2018 Native Cinema Showcase Focuses on Themes of Justice for 18th Annual Showing

Weeklong Event Also Features Annual ‘State of the Arts’ Conversation and Special Outdoor Screening of Disney’s ‘Coco’
June 21, 2018
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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will present the 18th annual Native Cinema Showcase, the museum’s premier film event, during the week of Aug. 14–19 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The showcase runs in conjunction with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts 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 nine countries and more than 33 Native Nations. The 2018 selections feature themes of justice as it applies to many different facets of Native life and community. Among the many topics, the films explore criminal justice, tribal law and government, the environment and LGBTQ rights. More than half of the showcase’s selections are films by women filmmakers. Admission to the showcase’s events is free.

“It’s no coincidence so many Native filmmakers are using their creative talents to make films that deal with subjects like criminal and societal justice,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. “We find ourselves at a moment in contemporary life where outdated notions and ways of doing things are being challenged and reexamined. Many of the films we’ve selected amplify these complex stories.”

The museum screens films throughout each day of the showcase, with feature screenings each night. The showcase opens Tuesday, Aug. 14, with Dawnland, a film that centers on decades of repercussions of child-welfare practices that have removed Native children from their homes. The features continue on Wednesday with Waru, a collection of eight vignettes each by a different female Māori director, and Thursday with Moroni for President, which follows Moroni Benally, a young, gay Mormon in a bid to become president of the Navajo Nation. The weekend features begin Friday with Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier, a media-sensationalized story of a troubled young Manitoba First Nation woman and a catfishing case involving an NBA superstar and an aspiring model. The showcase closes out Sunday with Out of State, a film where two Native Hawaiians discover their Indigenous traditions while serving prison sentences in Arizona.

All of the museum’s Saturday, Aug. 18, screenings are family friendly, and the day includes a special outdoor screening of Disney’s Coco at the Santa Fe Railyard. See full schedule of screenings below.

The museum will also host its annual “State of the Art” conversation Friday, Aug. 17, at 3 p.m. This year the National Museum of the American Indian invites participants to hear insights from director Gover and other leading museum directors in a discussion about changing the narrative to facilitate a better understanding of Native American art within the contexts of broader American and global art history and criticism. David Penney, National Museum of the American Indian associate director of museum research and scholarship, will moderate the event.

Showcase Schedule

Tuesday, Aug. 14

7 p.m.: Dawnland (2018, 86 min.)

Discussion follows with Esther Anne (Passamaquoddy), co-director of Maine-Wabanaki REACH, and Tracy Rector (Choctaw/Seminole).

Wednesday, Aug. 15

1 p.m.: More Than a Word (2017, 70 min.)

Museum director Kevin Gover will offer remarks.

3 p.m.: Tribal Justice (2017, 90 min.)

7 p.m.: Waru (2017, 86 min.)

The film is shown in English and Māori with English subtitles.

Thursday, Aug. 16

1 p.m.: Family Dynamics Shorts Program (76 min. total)

These short films focus on the unique complexities of what it means to be family.

3 p.m.: Reclamation Shorts Program (78 min. total)

These short films are about reclaiming and preserving cultural identity.

7 p.m.: Moroni for President (2018, 78 min.)

Discussion follows with Moroni Benally (Navajo).

Friday, Aug. 17

1 p.m.: Future Focused Shorts Program (56 min. total)

This program of family-friendly short films is fun for kids of all ages.

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

Panelists include Kevin Gover, director, National Museum of the American Indian; David M. Roche, director and CEO, Heard Museum; John Vanausdall, president and CEO, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art; and W. Richard West, Jr., president and CEO, Autry Museum of the American West.

7 p.m.: Indictment: The Crimes of Shelly Chartier (2017, 44 min)

Discussion follows with directors Shane Belcourt (Métis) and Lisa Jackson (Anishinaabe).

Saturday, Aug. 18

1 p.m.: Future Voices of New Mexico (90 min. total)

This program examines the Future Voices of New Mexico filmmaking project and is introduced by Marcella Ernest (Bad River Band of Ojibwe), project director.

3 p.m.: Kayak to Klemtu (2017, 90 min.)

8 p.m.: Coco (2017, 105 min.)

Screened outdoors at the Santa Fe Railyard Park Screen.

Sunday, Aug. 19

1 p.m.: Rise Above Shorts Program (87 min.)

These shorts focus on rising above adversity and learning life’s lessons.

3 p.m.: Out of State (2017, 79 min.)

All screenings and post-discussions are subject to change.

Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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.

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 97th annual Santa Fe Indian Market will display the work of more than 900 artists from 200 federally recognized tribes in more than 665 booths for a two-day period.

About the New Mexico History Museum

Opened in May 2009, as the state system’s newest museum, the New Mexico History Museum is attached to the Palace of the Governors National Historic Landmark, a distinctive emblem of U.S. history and the original seat of New Mexico government. The history museum serves as an anchor of the campus that includes Palace of the Governors, the Palace Press, the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library and Photo Archives. The museum presents exhibitions and public programs that interpret historical events and reflect on the wide range of New Mexico historical experiences. It is a division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and is located at 113 Lincoln Ave. in Santa Fe. Events, news releases and images about activities at the history museum and other divisions in the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at

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