National Museum of the American Indian celebrates ‘Living Earth Festival’

NMAI

Online festival features Native American business representatives, films and youth leaders on sustainability and innovation in Indigenous agriculture. 

In celebration of Earth Day, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian presents its annual Living Earth Festival, available online and on demand this year. The four-day festival will bring together Native innovators and practitioners dedicated to using Indigenous knowledge to protect and sustain the environment.  Through cooking demonstrations, conversations and film screenings, this year’s festival explores agriculture trends, innovations and sustainability in Indigenous communities and Native-owned businesses. All events will stream at americanindian.si.edu/online-programs. 

The festival will open with a message from Notah Begay III (Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta), four-time PGA Tour champion, sportscaster and founder of the Notah Begay III Foundation, which provides health and wellness education to Native youth.   

The festival is made possible through the support of the Native American Agriculture Fund. This program will be followed by a webinar series in the summer and fall titled “Part II: Voices from the Field: The Business of Native Agriculture.” In the second series, Native farmers and ranchers will discuss sustainable food systems and agricultural economic development in their Nations. 

 

  • Youth in Action: Sustainable AgricultureApril 22–25; on demand. 

This panel discussion brings together young Indigenous leaders to address the role that traditional ecological knowledge plays in their work as farmers and entrepreneurs. With the onset of COVID-19 and the ever-pressing issues of climate change, investing in sustainable agriculture and food production is more important than ever. Moderated by Michaela Pavlat (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). Panelists include Kelsey Ducheneaux-Scott (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Jack Pashano (Hopi) and Marco Ovando (Shoshone-Paiute Tribe). 

 

  • Cooking DemonstrationApril 22–25; on demand. 

Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet/Cherokee Nation), founder of Indigikitchen, an online cooking platform, will explore traditional Indigenous foods and show how to incorporate them into people’s everyday lives. 

 

  • Building an Agriculture Business in Indian CountryApril 22–25; on demand. 

Experts address a crucial issue – creating innovative, robust and ecologically sound food systems and agricultural businesses in Indigenous communities. Speakers include Dawn Sherman (Lakota/Lenape/Shawnee), CEO of Native American Natural Foods; Mark N. Fox, chairman, Mandan Hidatsa and Arikara Nation; and Leonard Forsman, chairman, Suquamish Tribe. Moderated by Carmen Davis (Makah/Chippewa-Cree/Yakama), editor of Native Business magazine. 

 

FILM SCREENINGSApril 22–25; on demand 

 

  • Gather (USA, 2020, 74 min.) Director: Sanjay RawalProducer: Sterlin Harjo (Seminole/Creek)Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide. 

 

  • Voices from the Barrens: Native People, Blueberries and Sovereignty (USA, 2020, 56 min.) Director: Nancy GhertnerCanadian Director: Brian J. Francis (Mi’kmaq)This film documents the wild blueberry harvest of the Wabanaki, who live in the United States and Canada. 

 

  • Crow Country: The Right to Food Sovereignty (USA, 2020, 21 min.) Director: Tsanavi Spoonhunter (Northern Arapaho/Northern Paiute)Crow Country follows several tribal members who are fighting for better food and a better future for their community. 

 

  • One Word Sawalmem (USA, 2019, 18 min.) Director: Natasha Deganello Giraudie. Co-director: Michael “Pom” Preston (Winnemem Wintu)A rare look into the life of Native wisdom keepers, men and women respected within Indigenous communities for their intimate knowledge about living in balance with the natural world. 

 

  • Guardianes de semilla (Guardians of the Seeds)(Colombia, 2020, 8 min.) Director: Mauricio TelpizFour Pastos community members known as guardians of the ancestral seeds showcase traditional rituals. 

 

 ABOUT THE MUSEUM 

In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. For information about the museums, including hours and directions, visit americanindian.si.edu. Follow the museum on social media at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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