Ahead of next week’s White House Tribal Nations Summit, we’re taking a look at some of the priorities of U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo), who will chair the summit in Washington, D.C.
One initiative is her investigation into the troubling legacy of U.S. Indian boarding schools.
Earlier this month, Sec, Haaland completed the 12th and final stop on “The Road to Healing” tour.
The year-long tour across the country provided the opportunity for survivors of federal Indian boarding schools to share their stories with Haaland and other federal leaders.
The tour also connected communities with trauma-informed support, and gathered permanent oral histories.
Just two days after the final stop, Sec. Haaland reflected on the healing tour during an interview with New Mexico PBS.
“In so many instances, folks have told us that they were reluctant to share a thing with their families, but felt it was time to finally say something about the experiences that they have had. We feel that is, you know, that’s healing for people. And that was the purpose of our road to healing was to really start healing for the country. This is a history that all Americans share, not just Native Americans. And so ensuring that we are open and honest about the past history of this country has been really important to us. And I think overall, it’s been a really good experience for everyone who has participated.”
Sec. Haaland says further healing efforts will include Native language preservation and an oral history project.
“We want to make sure that that information is open to our larger countries so that people can learn. And it’ll take a lot to heal, but certainly ensuring that we can help with things that Indian communities have lost during these assimilation policies, and namely, I should say, Native languages. That was a topic. that was so often reiterated around the country. And so we know that President Biden has been incredibly supportive of Native language preservation and we’ll continue with that as well.”
Sec. Haaland will join White House officials in chairing the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, which provides an opportunity for tribal leaders from the 574 federally recognized tribes across the country to engage with the Biden Administration.
The fourth season of the show Native Shorts, presented by the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program, premieres Thursday night on FNX Television.
Jill Fratis from our flagship station KNBA spoke with one of the show’s hosts about the new season.
The show focuses on short Indigenous films from around the world.
Host Ariel Tweto is Inupiaq.
She connects with the everyday viewer asking questions that the audience might have about the film.
Tweto says they have a lengthy process to choose which episodes air on the show.
“I mean we wanted an array of films or genres, and so they’ll find a horror, a romance, comedy, something very abstract and so we want to get films from all over the place.”
From New Zealand to Australia to the Aleutian chains of Alaska, Indigenous filmmakers share stories of their cultures and ways of life.
Tweto says she notices a lot of differences from one continent to the next.
“Just to see how other people live is I think really special. I’ve learned a lot just about different cultures from around the world. I think that’s really cool. Different ways of storytelling, how someone in New Zealand tells a story a lot different than someone say from Finland, and it’s cool to see the diversity.”
Tweto says Native Shorts is a great platform to showcase short films, when in the past, it was only shown at film festivals.
“It’s so cool that we get to showcase the short films because there’s not really a platform for short films after festivals. Usually if it’s not in a festival, it’s just, I don’t even know where it goes, so this is just a really cool opportunity for us to showcase all these amazing Indigenous filmmakers and actors and actresses.”
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