Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Columbus Day Legacy Sweeps Class X at SWAIA


A Transform Columbus Day youth supporter waits for the Denver Columbus Day Parade to arrive. Image courtesy of Paul Abdoo.

Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT) proudly announces the documentary film Columbus Day Legacy as the award recipient of the prestigious title of "Best Documentary" and "Best of Classification: Moving Images (Class X)" at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts' (SWAIA) 11th Annual Native Cinema Showcase. This new documentary examines issues of free speech and ethnic pride through the cultural tensions that arise between Denver, Colorado's Native and Italian-American communities during the city's annual Columbus Day parade.

Columbus Day Legacy, produced by TricksterFilms, LLC and NAPT, was also the recipient of the Special Jury Award for Bridging Cultures and served as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Linguistics Program at the University of Kentucky. It was an official selection for the 2011 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the 2011 Smithsonian Native American Film + Video Festival, the 2011 Black Hills Film Festival, the 2011 Indie Spirit Film Festival and the 2011 Arizona International Film Festival. In the documentary, Navajo filmmaker Bennie Klain and Producer Leighton C. Peterson take viewers into this very personal, yet public conflict on the streets of Colorado's capitol asking tough questions about identity and history in America.

Since 1992, the Denver Italian-American community has proudly and publicly celebrated Columbus Day with a revived parade that has long been a part of the city's history. The parade's presence is much to the dismay of the local American Indian Movement chapter who is equally determined to vilify the man credited with "discovering" America. The history of this annual parade is peppered with both verbal and physical violence--challenging ideas of political correctness and freedom of assembly. Both the Italian- and Native Americans are strong, vibrant, tight-knit communities-a point conveyed by the film as it uncovers conflicting notions of what it means to be an "American."

Columbus Day Legacy director Bennie Klain explains, "I decided that Columbus Day Legacy needed to begin with an equal representation from both sides of the conflict-a task which can be a difficult undertaking as a Navajo filmmaker. What emerged as a result of this persistent vision is a contemporary digital portrait of two strong and proud ethnic communities, both fighting to preserve the memory of their prejudiced experiences."

Columbus Day Legacy is produced by the same team that created the award-winning documentary film Weaving Worlds, which documents the lives of Navajo weavers and sustainability in the face of increased globalization.

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About TricksterFilms, LLC

Navajo-owned TricksterFilms, LLC, based in Austin, Texas, makes modern-day fables that tackle humanity with an irreverent twist.

About NAPT

A television reporter from 9‐News interviews a Native American man during Denver’s Columbus Day Parade. Image courtesy of Paul Abdoo.

Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT), a non-profit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, shares Native stories with the world through support of the creation, promotion and distribution of Native media. Founded in 1977, through various media-public television, public radio and the Internet--NAPT brings awareness of Indian and Alaska Native issues. NAPT operates AIROS Audio, offering downloadable podcasts with Native filmmakers, musicians and Tribal leaders. VisionMaker is the premier source for quality Native American educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media--to be the next generation of storytellers. NAPT is located at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. NAPT offers student employment, internships and fellowships. Reaching the general public and the global market is the ultimate goal for the dissemination of Native-produced media. For more information, visit

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