Alaska Native Film Series
october 30 Kusah Hakwaan (Ḵusaxá̱ Ḵwáan)
A family in modern-day Alaska enters a traditional Clan House to listen to their Great Uncle, a Tlingit Elder, reveal the mysteries of Ḵusaxá̱ Ḵwáan. The Elder weaves an adventurous story of two young brothers, Shawan and Yuntun, who long ago set out to conquer a mythical monster threatening their village. The tale moves between physical and spiritual realms, echoing a gripping saga of evil, heroism, and the Trickster Raven. The film has traveled the world, winning both international awards and critical acclaim.
november 6 Survival Prayer
Survival Prayer explores the power of food, nature, and culture. On a remote archipelago in Western Canada, an uncommon abundance of wildlife has sustained the Haida people for countless generations. Naanii Mary Swanson, a Haida speaker, frames this portrait of age-old traditions at risk. Against the spectacular scenery of the North Pacific coastline, her ancient words set the tone for detailed views of modern life, in which the labor of survival — cutting seaweed fronds, pulling salmon from nets, plucking young spruce tips — speaks to timeless rhythms that still retain strands of sacred ritual.
November 13 We Were Children
A portrait of a Yup’ik village in southwestern Alaska trying to hold on to its traditional way of life, while also being a part of the western world. Hooper Bay, or Naparyarmiut, is the largest native Yup’ik village in southwestern Alaska. Of the 1,023 village inhabitants, 62% are under 18 years of age. With the majority of the village being so young, traditional ways of life are diminishing by the lure of western culture, technology, and language. Filmmaker Beth Edwards captures elders and youth navigating their way through two worlds.
November 20 People of a Feather / Last Days of Shishmaref
Shishmaref is a community of about 600 people, located on an island just off the west coast of Alaska, and effects of global warming threaten their entire community. The Last Days of Shishmaref is a moving film about identity, mortality, place, and the clash between different eras and cultures.
People of a Feather takes you into the world of the Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Canada’s Hudson Bay and their relationship with the eider duck. Traditional life is juxtaposed with modern challenges as both Inuit and eiders confront changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering New York and eastern North America.
December 4 Skins
An inspirational tale about the relationship between two Sioux Indian brothers living on an Indian reservation. Skins is a 2002 feature film by Chris Eyre and based upon the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. Lakota Sioux tribal police officer Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig) struggles to rescue his older, alcoholic brother, Mogie (Graham Greene), a former football star who was wounded in combat three times in Vietnam.
Alaska Native Languages & Studies Program, Wooch.een & Waqaa Student Groups