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  • TWO SPIRITS film about the short life and murder of Navajo teen to be screened at the Eiteljorg

    by DeShong Perry-Smitherman, Eiteljorg public relations manager | Aug 07, 2013

    Two Spirits
    In June 2001, the body of 16-year-old Navajo teenager Fred Martinez was found on a dirt road in the Southwest Colorado town of Cortez. Martinez had been bludgeoned beyond recognition by a man who had bragged about the crime, according to an anonymous tip.

    Martinez was the victim of a hate crime. He never considered himself gay or transgendered. Instead, he identified himself as nádleehí (nod-lay), which is a Navajo term defined as a male-bodied person who has a feminine essence. That term in English is “Two Spirit.”

    On Saturday, Sep. 28, the documentary "Two Spirits" will be viewed at the Eiteljorg, followed by a panel discussion. The film is about Martinez’s brief life and tragic murder. We talked with director Lydia Nibley and Out West curator Gregory Hinton about the film and why they’ve chosen the Eiteljorg to show it.

    EITELJORG: What does the term “Two-Spirit” mean?
     
     
    LYDIA: On nearly every continent, and for all of recorded history, thriving cultures have recognized, revered, and integrated people who have more than two genders. Terms such as “transgender” and “gay” are strictly new constructs that assume there are only two sexes (male/female), just two sexualities (gay/straight), and only two genders (man/woman).Yet hundreds of distinct societies around the globe have their own long-established traditions for third, fourth, fifth, or even more genders.

    Fred Martinez, the subject of the film "Two Spirits," was not a boy who wanted to be a girl, but both a boy and a girl. Most Western societies have no direct correlation for this Native Two-Spirit tradition, nor for the many other communities without strict either/or conceptions of sex, sexuality, and gender. Worldwide, the sheer variety of gender expression is almost limitless.

    The term “Two-Spirit” was recently created by Native people as a short, useful phrase in English that could begin to represent concepts that are much more nuanced and complex, and that are represented in over 200 Native languages.

    EITELJORG: What will people learn from the film?

    LYDIA: We hope people take away a new appreciation for the richness of gender. Fred was considered to have a special gift according to his ancient Navajo culture. If he had lived, he could have participated in multiple roles in sacred ceremonies, counseled couples, offered insight as a matchmaker, expressed gifts as a medicine person. But the place where two discriminations meet is a dangerous place to live, and Fred became one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. "Two Spirits" interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss of her son with a revealing look at a time when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders. We hope the story of Fred and other Two-Spirit people in history and in contemporary life inspires people to think and feel differently about what is possible. To embrace all of the human family because as the Navajo/Diné say, “we’re all the five-fingered people.”
     
    EITELJORG: Why show "Two Spirits" at the Eiteljorg?

    GREG: The Eiteljorg is a great place to have complex conversations. With its innovative public programming, your museum is a leader in offering socially relevant programs that expand imagination and promote respectful, intellectual discourse. The film team is thrilled to screen "Two Spirits" in this legendary institution as a way of linking the past and present, and we hope that having sophisticated conversations around gender can help us all shape a more equitable and humane future.

    EITELJORG: What does this film do for LGBT or Two-Spirit teenagers who are at risk for bullying or violence?

    LYDIA: We hope "Two Spirits" moves attitudes from mere tolerance, or acceptance, to a celebration of LGBT and Two-Spirit people. The film demonstrates how people who express multiple genders contribute to their families, friends, and communities not in spite of, but because of who they are. That’s a big change. It’s about same sex unions having been honored for thousands of years. It’s about a natural spectrum of gender. It’s about respecting who people really are and what they have to contribute. Like when a young person comes out to their traditional Native grandmother and her response is, “Oh, my friends will be so jealous!” That’s what we hope people experience: that shift.

    EITELJORG: How does "Two Spirits" open hearts and minds?

    LYDIA: It’s one thing to learn that many tribes have multiple genders and much more connective to see the story of one particular life and to feel empathy and understanding for someone like Fred while seeing him through the eyes of his mother. Any time we can get out of our own heads and into someone else’s experience, our own understanding expands. Perhaps that’s why "Two Spirits" was the highest-rated film of the 2010-2011 season, and received the Audience Award from PBS-Independent Lens. The film introduces viewers to the amazing ways traditional Navajo people express gender, takes them into the world of contemporary world of Two-Spirit people, and shows how this richer view of gender has always been with us and can be reclaimed.

    EITELJORG: What is the lasting message this film leaves for its viewers?

    GREG:
    Between tradition and controversy, sex and spirit, and freedom and fear, lives the truth—the bravest choice you can make is to be yourself.

    EITELJORG: Is there an opportunity for people to get involved in getting the message out?
     
     
    LYDIA: We’re working to place the film in more colleges, universities, high schools, and libraries and are seeking funding from individual philanthropists and foundations to make that possible. Any help is welcome! Imagine a world that isn’t simply divided into male and female, where it’s safe for people to be who they are. Please join us to make the film more widely available by making a contribution and by sharing it in person, online, and in every way you can. 

    About Out West
    Out West was conceived by author and independent curator Gregory Hinton. Hinton created the program series to illuminate positive contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community to the history and culture of the American West. 

    Support LGBT Programming at the Eiteljorg
    Donate to  

    Help support the screening and discussion of the powerful film, TWO SPIRITS, an acclaimed PBS Independent Lens documentary that tells the story of the brief life and tragic murder of transgender Navajo teen, Fred Martinez. The film, including a panel discussion, will take place at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28.

    To donate to this project, click Power2Give.  Chase Bank will contribute one dollar for every dollar donated. To learn more about the film visit the website: twospirits.org.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
    SEP. 28 OUT WEST SCHEDULE
     

    12:30 p.m.                Welcome by Gregory Hinton, Out West founder
    12:45 p.m.                "Two Spirits" film screening
    1:45 – 3:30 p.m.       Panel discussion
    3:30 p.m.                  DVD/book signing Eiteljorg Museum Store

    PANEL
     
    Moderator: Jodi A. Byrd, Ph.D. (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma), associate professor of American Indian Studies and English, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
     
    Lydia Nibley, director, "Two Spirits"
     

    Brian Joseph Gilley, Ph.D.
    , associate professor of anthropology and director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, Indiana University Bloomington; author of Becoming Two-Spirit

    Wesley K. Thomas, Ph.D., chair/professor, School of Diné Studies, Education & Leadership, Navajo Technical College (Crownpoint, NM)
     
    Photo credits:
    - "Two Spirits" poster from film festivals
    - Navajo same sex couple, photographer Bosque Redondo 1866, Museum of New Mexico
    - Two-Spirit dancers prepare
    - Lydia Nibley's headshot
    - Photographs were given to us by Lydia Nibley

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  • Eiteljorg Insider| 5 Questions with Summer Peters

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | Jul 11, 2013

    We caught up with bead worker Summer Peters who won Best of Show at the Eiteljorg Indian Market with her beadwork portrait Gentleman Jim. A single mom and full time artist, she is a tribal member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan, but lives in Phoenix, AZ. It was her first time coming to the Eiteljorg market and she blew everyone away with her creativity and talent.


    Summer Peters (Saginaw Chippewa), Gentleman Jim, Best of Show Winner at the 2013 Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival

     
    1. What inspires you?
    What inspires me is fashion, places I've been to, experiences I've had, nature, people watching, and a desire to learn more. It doesn't take much. I see beauty in almost everything. I love talking about art with other artists. I like watching things being built.

     2. If you could steal any piece of art in the world to have in your home, what would it be?
    I'd have to bypass the obvious choices of the Mona Lisa or some Picasso painting, it would definitely be, Spirit of the Forest by Odilon Redon. I learned about him in one of my art history courses.

     3. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
    I would most definitely be an ironworker in the NYC skyline or some sort of home builder/architect/interior designer. I have a strong academic background in the technical side of building things.

     4. What is your favorite tool? 
    My favorite tool is my needle nose plier. It makes everything perfect! I'm very very very much a perfectionist about my work, even though they say nothing in the world is perfect. If there's an extra bead on my string and I've already attached it to the canvas, I snap it off.

     5. What do you listen to while you work?
    I usually turn on the TV and find a show that I can listen to. I don't really listen to music while I work. Music has a strong attachment to memories in my life, good and bad, so I don't listen to it. I don't like sad feelings seeping into my work.  One time, though, I turned on classical music and I was beading like a mad woman! I need to do that again. 

     About Gentleman Jim:
    Gentleman Jim
    is beadwork portrait of Jim Thorpe (Sac and Fox). The piece was created to bring attention to Native American people who have made great accomplishments in mainstream society.

    Go comment!




  • Insider tips for Indian Market and Festival

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern | Jun 18, 2013

    It’s the final countdown to Indian Market and Festival on Saturday and Sunday June 22 and 23, and the tempo around the Eiteljorg festivals department is rapidly gaining speed. Surrounded by all the behind-the-scenes preparations, I suppose I ought to feel like an expert, but I’ve never actually been to Indian Market. I know I’m not the only one, so I’ve gathered together some insider tips from our veteran market-goers to share.
    Indiana market welcome packets
    1. Consider attending the Friday Night
    Preview Party.

    The Best of Show exhibit alone is worth the ticket price. This is the only opportunity to see all of the prize winning art on display. The food by Kahn’s Catering is fantastic and it’s fun to visit with the artists and their families before the weekend hubbub starts. Like, really fun. They’re cool and funny and a little punchy from traveling. You’ll also be granted VIP early bird shopping on Saturday morning, which is no small thing when you’re racing to get to your favorite artist’s booth before someone else snatches up all the best pieces. (2012 preview party pictures below)
     

     

    Indian Market preview party

    2. Use the event program to plan your day.

     You don’t have to miss a performance or get lost on your way to buy food tickets if you use the schedule and map in this handy guide. There are also in-depth profiles of several of the top artists as well as our performers. And lots of pretty pictures.
     
    indian market 2013 cover

    3. Come early to stake out seats in the entertainment tent.

    Things get going first thing with Brian Buchannan, Chief of the Miami Indians of Indiana offering an official welcome and prayer to the artists and visitors. Then it’s nonstop storytelling, music and dance until the gates close. Checkout the jam-packed schedule here.  

    4. Did someone mention food?

     Everyone says Indian tacos are a must for lunch. Check. But I need to plan out what to eat the second day of market or, realistically, as a mid-afternoon snack on the first day. I was told to look no further than the Mexican food vendor whose tamales, quesadillas and pupusas are beyond excellent. Apparently, the kettle corn is awesome too. And I’m sure I won’t be able to deny the lure of Baskin Robbins ice cream on an Indiana day in June. From all reports, you can’t go wrong with any of the food. And, if you’re looking for a shady retreat in between activities, the historic shelterhouse on the east side of the park is a great place to hang out with a cold drink – especially a frozen café melmoso from Hubbard and Cravens.

     

    5. Take time to chat with the artists

    Indian Market isn’t just a place to buy art – it’s an opportunity to engage with people with different cultural backgrounds and interesting knowledge to share. Even if you’re not planning to shop, the artists are really neat people and are excited to talk with you about what they do.
     

    6. The Dogbane Family Activity Area isn’t just for kids

    The Eiteljorg’s crack team in the education and public programs departments has come up with fun museum-based art activities for all ages to make and take home. You can color guitar fans and make guitar pick pendants, create ledger art and create sgraffito “scratch art.”

     
     

    7. The Eiteljorg Museum

    Not only does the Eiteljorg building offer the comfort of air conditioning and flushing toilets, there’s a lot to do and see inside the museum – and it’s free with admission to Indian Market. Check out the Guitars! exhibit; visit our western galleries, the contemporary art galleries and the Native American galleries; climb aboard a real stagecoach; get something to eat in the café; get your official Indian Market and Festival t-shirt in the store.

     8. Finally: buy your tickets in advance!

    Okay, this is my own tip, and I’ve already revealed my newbie status, but even an amateur knows that you shouldn’t pay more than you have to. You’ll pay $2 less per ticket than if you buy them at the gate. That’s $2 more for artwork and food. You can get them online here or at Marsh stores. 
     

    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern

    Go comment!




  • Redefining Native Music

    by By Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern | Jun 11, 2013

    “We’re hard to describe. The music is reggae and rock; it’s got flutes; it’s got English and traditional vocals, ballads and some heavy stuff. If I had to describe us, it would be as Native music. That’s what it is.” Adrian Wall, May/June 2013 Native Peoples Magazine.

    Less than two weeks until the 21st annual Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival (June 22 and June 23) and excitement is growing for the  talented musicians who will rock the main stage at Military Park. While researching this year’s performers, I got caught up in the question, “What is Native music?” It’s not an easy question to answer. Today’s Native artists are not defined by any single style – their influences are as varied as the genres you might hear while scanning the radio. Multiply those possibilities by hundreds of different tribal affiliations and add to that the intricacies of each artist’s unique personal history and perspective – and you end up with an incredibly diverse range of music. If you’ve only experienced Native music at powwows, Indian Market is a fantastic place to expand your musical point of view. Each of this summer’s leading acts brings a unique blend of contemporary music artfully combined with traditional Native American influences.

     

    Shelley Morningsong (Northern Cheyenne/Dutch) grew up in a musical family, so it’s small surprise that by the time she hit high school she was performing in a country-rock band and sneaking into clubs to listen to rock ‘n’ roll and blues. Morningsong lists Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash and Old Blues legend Buddy Guy as some of her most important musical influences, but her music is also inspired by her Native roots as well as her personal experiences. Her 2006 debut album Out of the Ashes pays tribute to the Zuni creation story, while also referencing her own life story as a survivor of domestic violence. Ashes and Morningsong’s second album Full Circle feature her soulful lyrics augmented by electric guitar, bass, drums and synthesizer arranged by Grammy Award winning producer Larry Mitchell. Morningsong’s husband Fabian Fontenelle adds traditional percussion, sings in his native Zuni language, and dances for live performances. Morningsong’s most recent album Heart Songs of the Native American Flute was just released this spring and highlights her love for the instrument.

    Catch Morningsong, rocking the Eiteljorg stage with a full band, both days of Indian Market. Performances are at noon and 3pm.  

     

    Twin Rivers is named for the convergence of musicians and old friends Adrian Wall (Jemez Pueblo/Ojibwe) and Ed Kabotie (Hopi/Santa Clara Pueblo). Wall and Kabotie’s musical collaborations began as middle school metalheads at Santa Fe Indian School. The years took them separate ways, but eight years ago the rivers of their lives flowed back together and the music was soon to follow. The duo’s first independent album, Springs of Guisewa, draws inspiration from traditional Native songs. Kabotie writes their songs in the three languages he speaks: English, Hopi and Tewa. Exploring Native identity is a crucial part of their music. Their sound is also part rock, part reggae, and part jazz – you can hear the familiar reggae offbeat blended with Native flute in their title track, Springs at Kesewa. The way Twin Rivers intertwine these diverse musical influences reflect their philosophy “that we are all distinct, but connected as if we are one. “ Twin Rivers will be joined by Kabotie’s son Rylan at Indian Market this year, as the three continue their work to redefine the Native experience through music.

    Catch Twin Rivers both days of Indian Market. Performances are at 2pm.

    CLICK PHOTO BELOW TO PURCHASE INDIAN MARKET & FESTIVAL TICKETS:


    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern

    Go comment!




  • Inside Eiteljorg Indian Market and Festival: How artists are selected

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festival and events manager | May 27, 2013
    Indian Market includes an evening opening party and two full days of performances, food, cultural activities and, of course, art sales. We always point out that artists must be Native American and selected into the show, but what exactly does that mean?


    Artist: Darance Chimerica (Hopi)

    Being “Indian”
    Artists have to show a tribal enrollment card or an authorized letter from their tribe to prove they’re Indian. There’s a law. The Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior, was introduced to protect Indian artists from non-Indians trying to capitalize on their cultures by making it illegal to offer for sale any product that falsely suggests it is Indian produced. Legally, “Indian” is defined as “a member of any federally or state recognized tribe or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by a recognized tribe.” There are uncomfortable gray areas involving historical tribes that are no longer legally recognized. An example close to home is the Miami Indians of Indiana. Simply put, organizations like the Eiteljorg have to follow the law.


    Artist: Judy Tafoya (Santa Clara Pueblo)

    The fun part: artist selection
    Each February, a crack team gathers to review a couple thousand slides representing all of the artists hoping to be selected to Market. The team is made up of Eiteljorg curators, a jury of experts in Native art and the Eiteljorg festivals team (you know, to order coffee and bring snacks). Artwork is judged for craftsmanship and originality. The selectors must assign a score from one to five, without the option of a three. Over the years, I’ve learned so much just listening. Toward the end of the day discussions can get silly, but most offer master-class-level commentary on art, history and cultures. I am lucky to be a fly on that wall.


    Artist: Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho/Seneca)

    Math is Hard
    Once the selectors have done their work, I tabulate the scores for each division. We get more submissions in some categories than in others so we use a curve. For example, a higher percentage of jewelry artists apply so they must receive higher scores to be accepted. It’s a very selective process and many great artists don’t make the cut. We encourage those artists to try again.


    Artist: Ernest Benally (Navajo/Diné)

    What comes next?
    We work all year on Market, but once the artist letters go out, the countdown really begins. They keep us on our toes with questions and suggestions. They want the market to be successful and prosperous for themselves and for us. We do everything that we can to make sure they are taken care of. I always say one of my favorite parts of the market is that, although the artists are our guests, the Eiteljorg and the artists come together to host our visitors.

    Don’t miss your chance to meet this year’s selected artists on June 22-23 in Military Park! For more details, visit the festivals and events section of our website.  


    Artist: Marty Gradolf (Winnebago of Nebraska)

    See you there!
    Jaq Nigg
    Eiteljorg festival and events manager



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