Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland hosted a press call Tuesday in advance of the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit.
According to the Biden Administration, the summit is an opportunity to strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship with tribes.
Sec. Haaland says a historic $45 billion annual budget has been invested in Indian county.
“These investments are transformative and are addressing issues that for too long have been ignored an which are now having direct and immediate impacts on people’s lives. The announcements we make this week are part of the lasting impact we are building in Indigenous communities.”
Sec. Haaland planned to chair the summit, but instead she will join virtually after testing positive for COVID-19 Monday.
The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) held a tribal leader planning session Tuesday.
Attorney Robert Odawi Porter is a former president of the Seneca Nation and now represents tribal clients.
He was at the NCAI tribal briefing.
Porter says justice issues are among tribal priorities.
“One of the things that was really coming out today was how do we target the problem in Indian Country dealing with the fentanyl addiction. Our leaders are working collectively to try to expand tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian drug offenders. This is trying to fix a 50-year problem of the supreme court saying tribes don’t have jurisdiction over non-Indians and what we see now with fentanyl and opioids is an unbelievable epidemic in part made worse by the lack of jurisdiction.”
Frybread Face and Me is a new feature film out now on Netflix with an all-Native American cast.
Clark Adomaitis has more.
Frybread Face and Me is written and directed by Billy Luther, a Navajo, Hopi, and Laguna Pueblo man in his mid-40s.
Luther also narrated parts of the film.
“My grandmother always spoke to me as if I understood her. English was something she refused to learn. I’m sure She thought one day I would answer her back in Navajo.”
It’s a coming-of-age story set in the year 1990.
An adolescent Navajo boy growing up in San Diego spends a summer with his grandmother on the Navajo Nation.
“We didn’t have to try to get it right. We got it right, because we live this and this was our world.”
Director Billy Luther says the cast was all Navajo, save one member, who is an Alaska Native. He also hired Navajo crew members.
“I just wanted to cast people who understand this world, this Navajo world. And I wanted most of these people have to speak Navajo. I just don’t see it being any other way. I think if I was working with a non-Native crew, I would have had to kind of tell them how to do it.”
The film is semi-autobiographical.
The protagonist is based largely on Luther’s own life growing up as a Native American child in Southern California.
The film explores the different sides of his life and identity.
“I just tell the story that is true to me. growing up off the reservation, an urban Indian. also being three tribes. Navajo, Hopi, and Laguna Pueblo are very different from each other. So my perspective, my outlook and also just my way of life is unique. But I think that’s true for you know, majority of Native storytellers, filmmakers, writers, is just diving into that truth it’s going to be authentic.”
Billy Luther lives in Los Angeles and he’s part of a growing community of Native American filmmakers there.
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