By Hanna, Coulee City Library
We will be celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November with a series of blogs highlighting books, movies, and music in our physical and digital collections. This month-long celebration originated more than 100 years ago as a way to recognize the contributions the first Americans made — and continue to make — in the United States.
Modern celebrations dually honor Native American cultures, achievements, and wisdom and educate about the United State’s ugly history (and present acts) of land theft and other injustices. These resources offer varied perspectives on Native American life.
Smoke Signals DVD
Depicts two young Native Americans, Victor and Thomas, who leave their small town to retrieve the remains of Victor’s father. The movie won numerous awards and honors, including American Indian Film Festival “Best Film”, Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and Best Artistic Contribution at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Navajo Code Talkers DVD
During the second world war, the United States and its allies were struggling to find a code by which to communicate across the Pacific Ocean — one that could not be broken by the Japanese enemy. The solution came in the form of the Navajo people, whose language was as elusive as it was complex. Through their incredible linguistic skills, the Allied forces were able to convey life-or-death information to one another — information that, in some cases, altered the very course of the war.
The idea for RUMBLE came about when guitarist Stevie Salas, an Apache Indian and one of the film’s Executive Producers, realized that no one outside of the music business knew about the profound contribution of these Native musicians. Renewed attention to this missing chapter in the history of American music led to the publishing of Brian Wright-McLeod’s The Encyclopedia of Native Music, an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and eventually this documentary.
Barking Water Kanopy
A uniquely delicate and moving road movie, Barking Water uses the ruggedly beautiful backdrop of rural Oklahoma to tell the story of a proud Native American attempting to reconnect with his estranged family. This movie was named the best drama film at the 2009 American Indian Film Festival.
Edge of America. Hoopla.
The inspiring true story of an African-American teacher who accepts a position to coach an all-girl basketball team on a Navajo reservation. This movie was named Best Film at the 2004 American Indian Film Festival and won numerous other honors, including a Daytime Emmy Award.