A Film, A Play, A Photo Exhibit: A Look at Contemporary Native American Life

Here are three no-cost or low-cost events giving different perspectives on contemporary Native American life.

Jan. 23 — Native Teen Photo Exhibit to Open at the History Center

The Mazinaakizige: American Indian Teen Photography Project student photo exhibition is traveling around the state, and the next stop is The History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul. It will open January 23. An artist talk with light refreshments will be held January 26th from 6-8pm. (There is a fee to get into the Center, $6 for youth, $12 for adults.) Click here for details.

Feb. 15 — Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick? A Film Screening

Next up in Augsburg College’s Native American Film Series is a screening of “Bad Sugar,”which focuses on the high rates of diabetes in the Native American community.The event is free and open to the public. It will be held Monday, Feb. 15. The evening starts with a reception from 5-6 p.m. at Sverdrup Hall on the Augsburg campus (near South 7th Street and South 21st Avenue). The screening begins at 6 p.m. in the nearby Science Hall, room 123.

The film will be followed by a discussion with Dr. Donald Warne. Warne (Oglala Lakota) MD, MPH is Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health in the College of Health Professions at North Dakota State University, and Senior Policy Advisor to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.

Here is a quick film  preview:

The Pima and Tohono O’odham Indians of southern Arizona have arguably the highest diabetes rates in the world – half of all adults are afflicted. But a century ago, diabetes was virtually unknown here. Researchers have poked and prodded the Pima for decades in search of a biological – or more recently, genetic – explanation for their high rates of disease. Meanwhile, medical-only interventions have failed to stem the rising tide not just among Native Americans, but globally.

What happened to the health of the Pima? During the 20th century, the diversion of river water to upstream white settlements disrupted the Pima’s agricultural economy and customary ways. Local tribes were plunged into poverty and became dependent on the U.S. government. Healthy traditional foods like tepary beans, cholla buds, and wild game were replaced by surplus commodities like white flour, lard, processed cheese and canned foods – a diabetic’s nightmare. A sense of “futurelessness” took hold, and so did diabetes.

Come and learn how the community has been battling to reverse the alarming diabetes trend.

“Bad Sugar” is the fourth part of a seven-part PBS series titled: Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?

Feb. 19 — A Free Play About Native Identity: Bring the Children Home
The play Bring the Children Home presents a story about a young child searching for meaning and identity in a world gone crazy. It is being performed Friday, Feb. 19, 7-8 p.m. at the Centennial Middle School Auditorium, 399 Elm Street, Lino Lakes.
According to the media release: “Oday journeys to find his/her identity by breaking free of the pull toward Western society and relies on the spirits and elders. A story that blends physical and spiritual realities about the power of healing.” The play is by Marcie R. Rendon, an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation.
For more information, click here.

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