Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday an American Indian Film and Lecture Series Event took place at both the Taylorsville Redwood Campus in the Technology Building and also in the Northeast Foyer of South City Campus. The American Indian Student Leadership Club hosted the event.
“The purpose for the seminar is to discuss the state of Indian affairs, and to have a celebration of culture,” Rose Yazzie, Club President said.
Tuesday there was a documentary film shown entitled Return of Navajo Boy. This was a film about the legal battles on the Navajo Reservation here in Utah. Areas such as Monument Valley are part of this reservation. The Navajo have legal battles going on with the US government over radiation tailings left from uranium mining. The film depicts a boy that was taken away when he was a baby because of the uranium contamination.
“I’ve always had an appreciation for Native American culture. I’ve followed the story that was in the movie,” student Taylor Beckstead said.
After the movie there was also a presentation of Native American beadwork by Jancileta Bill. The beadwork included examples of traditional Navajo clothing styles, such as chokers (a type of necklace). One of the items was adorned with elk teeth.
On Wednesday afternoon the guest speaker was Heather Anderson who spoke about Indian law and the state of politics. Wednesday evening the speaker was Forest Cuch, who is the former Director of the Utah State Division of Indian Affairs, who spoke on the same subject.
Film Reel Injuns was featured on Thursday. This film shows how Hollywood has depicted Indians throughout history. It also talked about John Wayne and his actions towards Indians in his movies.
After Thursday’s film, a question and answer series took place with a community panel. The panel of four consisted of Nathan Cole (Mohawk professor), Rose Yazzie (Navajo student), Jennifer Billie (Navajo student) and Bryan Armajo (Arapahoe student).
The panel talked about their goals and also discussed what they thought of reservations. The audience was informed that the 2000 census revealed 60 to 70 percent of Indians now live off reservations. The welcoming of half-blooded Native Americans was brought up as well as the subject of Indian names. Professor Cole told how Indian names are chosen depending on the tribal culture.
“Not every Indian has an Indian name,” Yazzie said.