UMass Boston to Host Native American Film Festival

Office of Communications | October 07, 2011
UMass Boston to Host Native American Film Festival

Films to Raise Awareness of Colonization and the Impact on Indigenous People

For ten years, Associate Professor of Anthropology Amy Den Ouden used film screenings to raise awareness of historical and contemporary issues affecting indigenous people. Now, Den Ouden, the Anthropology Department, and other campus groups have organized a Native American Film Festival that takes a different look at the legacy of Columbus Day.

The free festival will take place October 12 from 12:30 to 6 p.m. on the 11th Floor of UMass Boston's Healey Library. The event is sponsored by Gedakina Inc., UMass Boston's Anthropology Club; the Anthropology Department; the Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights; and the Institute for New England Native American Studies.

The first film, Older than America, takes a look at the impact of cultural genocide on the boarding school system. Writer, director, and star Georgina Lightning (Cree) will address the audience after the film and take part in a discussion moderated by Kristen Wyman (Natick Nipmuc).

Starting at 4 p.m., Linda Coombs (Aquinnah Wampanoag) will deliver a guest lecture titled, “Mythologizing the Colonial ‘Encounter’: The Impact on Indigenous People.” Navajo filmmaker Bennie Klain's film Columbus Day Legacy will also be shown. The movie is about Columbus Day, colonization, and the impact on indigenous people. You can view the film festival schedule here.

Den Ouden says this film festival provides an opportunity to engage students in the political meaning of Columbus Day.

“It gives our students an opportunity to think about these issues and to know there are Native American communities in New England that are a vital part of contemporary social life and culture. Films have been a good way to get those discussions going,” Den Ouden says.

Alex Wilson, president of the Anthropology Club, adds, "I personally believe that these issues are very relevant and wonderful areas to educate people on."

Den Ouden says in addition to the film festival, audiences might also be interested in another film, Crossing Arizona, which is about immigration and border policy. The Anthropology Department, the Native American Indigenous Studies Program, and the Honors Program are screening the film November 9 at 2 p.m. on the 11th Floor of Healey Library.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit

Tags: anthropology , film festival , native american studies

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