Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 5, 2001 - Issue 35



The Hoop of Life


American Indian actor-singer-activist Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman is helping to organize a Native American film festival, which he said would counter falsehoods perpetuated by the United States government over the years.

"Much of what is still taught today in classrooms, from kindergarten storybooks to university curriculum, contains a great amount of untruth, deception and prejudice," said Westerman, who achieved prominence in DANCES WITH WOLVES.

"For generations we have been spoon fed a type of 'feel good' history that in reality has us and our children living a lie."

"The Hoop of Life," the first annual Los Angeles American Indian Film, Television and New Media Festival, will kick off next year. Westerman's Red Crow Creations is organizing the event with the Eyapaha Institute and the UCLA American Indian Studies Center.

The festival will be officially announced on May 3 at a gala benefit dinner hosted by Peter Coyote and Richard Masur, at the Covel Commons at Sunset Village, UCLA. The event is designed to raise completion funds for Westerman's documentary series EXTERMINATE THEM! AMERICA'S WAR ON INDIAN NATIONS, as well as to acknowledge those Indian Tribal Nations that have contributed financial support.

The next day, free screenings of American Indian-themed film, television and new media will be held at the James Bridges Theater at UCLA's Melnitz Hall. Panel discussions will explore the festival's vision and mission statement and begin to establish guidelines and submission policies.

Eyapaha Institute is a 501 c (3) non-profit corporation based in Los Angeles under the leadership and guidance of Floyd Red Crow Westerman -- American Indian activist, folk singer/songwriter and film and television actor.

Eyapaha means ãthe messengerä or ãtown crier.ä The Instituteâs primary goal is to speak out· to address racism, discrimination, depredation and genocide of Indigenous Peoples the world over through the development, production and distribution of audio visual and multi-media entertainment products grounded in American Indian culture and tradition, with a strong emphasis on historical documentation, oral tradition and language recovery, education and grass roots community development, health and wellness.

Eyapaha Institute has brought together a team of well established American Indian and non-Indian professionals with skills and experience in the various aspects of film and television production, internet technologies, education, job training and community development. Eyapaha Institute will strengthen American Indian communities through the development of educational and employment opportunities in the film and television industry, as well as create related business enterprises that are owned, managed and operated by American Indians. From ãmulti-platformä educational curriculum to mainstream feature film development, Eeyapaha Institute and Red Crow Creations will promote awareness, education and preservation of American Indian values and culture.

There is a different history of the Americas waiting to be told· a search for the truth hidden between the lines of history -- giving American Indians a unique opportunity to tell their own story. In doing so, Eyapaha Institute will instill a sense of pride, self-esteem and wellness within Indian communities and rebuild the images and global perception of Indigenous Peoples everywhere.

Drawing from the immense diversity of tradition and depth of experience within Indian America, and through the "power and influence" of the entertainment industry and global telecommunications, Eyapaha Institute and Red Crow Creations will encourage in all people a dedication to positive family and community values, social and racial tolerance, an awareness of a global responsibility and above all, a commitment to respect, honor and protect the Mother Earth and all creation.


Eyapaha Institute

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