bidder70’s effort to save the earth

Why is a Utah student, Tim DeChristopher, who single-handedly thwarted Bush’s last minute efforts to sell off wilderness for oil and gas leases, put on trial when people who have lied in order to engage in warfare that has resulted in thousands of deaths walk FREE and live in luxury in the USA? What is wrong with this scenario? Priorities anyone? Save the planet or kill it? Why are those trying to save the earth arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the ‘law’ while those who seek to destroy the environment we all depend upon for sustaining all our lives face no punishment or reprisal for their destructive actions? Does greed and profit still reign supreme in the USA?

“The Garden”

Another of the other many intriguing offerings at the KC Filmfest was the documentary film, The Garden, which chronicles the efforts of the community to save 13 acres of urban garden in the midst of LA. The film is a study in the politcs of money, power, greed, values, poor vs rich, and quality of life. “Them” versus “Us” in America is starkly evident in this incredible film about the Money values that have set America into its current chaotic economic mess. There’s more to LIFE than big bucks and profit profit profit–or is there?

Winter Fox Frank

So yes, I’ve got more to say about “The Only Good Indian”–a film perhaps of most interest to those who have had direct experience with the issues it raises. The film introduces the talent of Winter Fox Frank as “Charlie” –the name randomly given to him by the boarding school staff. Winter gives a performance that makes it believeable that a boy his age would take the actions he does–deadly serious actions that have a major impact on Sam, Studi’s private investigating Cherokee, who wants to best the white man at being the white man. It’s the Indian boy who speaks most strongly to the Indian man by what he DOES according to his faith in his traditional Indian values and upbringing. It’s Charlie’s refusal to have the life blood sucked out of him by the boarding school mentality that sets everything into motion for the adult characters. Without the ‘boy’ and his faith in what he knows to be ‘true’ and ‘right’ the film would have no anchor. Winter’s portrayal of the willing to stand up for his beliefs Charlie is so good that even when he does what we expect him to do in regard to the rescue of Sally, we can’t help but watch in fascination and support his nervous yet no retreat conceivable confrontion with the Pickering man. It’s clear that Charlie forces Sam to re-examine his own choices at and since the Sand Creek Massacre. Winter Fox Frank’s performance ought to be enough to make anyone examine their value system through the eyes of a  ‘child’ well on his way to the sort of manhood that evokes respect and admiration. What will Winter ‘do’ next in regard to acting? He’s got the likes of Wes Studi, Adam Beach, director Chris Eyre and other adults breaking all kinds of ground for Native Americans in film. What will Winter do indeed—I’m  looking for him to make new trails for young Native American actors.

For touch of ‘bad indians’ warp to Wyld’s abode for some Red Corn rhymes,

Shemekia Copeland’s “Never Going Back”

Some times you just have to put aside all economic stress and put out some bucks to support what trips your musical trap–especially when you KNOW you won’t be hearing much of it on the corporate radio stations. Even though Copeland wowed David Letterman on late night television with her performance–and her band’s smokin’ hot performance–of “Never Going Back to Memphis”–her cd could only be found in my Independent Music store. Apparently none of the corporate commerical establishment bothered to guage either Letterman’s or the clearly appreciative studio audience’s reaction to Copeland’s truly wonderful rendition of the title song. Or maybe they just don’t think anyone would put out for such a dark dark number.  Anyway, the title song resonates on the fourth track of the cd which opens with a social/politically aware track.  While there’s not quite the entertaining naughtiness of her “Wicked” cd–there’s more polished vocals and a different quality of engagement about “Never Going Back”‘s tracks, eg “Dirty Water,”  there’s still plenty of Copeland’s big woman passionate sound in abundance.  “Never Going Back to Memphis” alone is worth the price of admission.  Any woman who has ever gotten entangled with the WRONG sort of man can relate to the song story.  Also, it’s clear throughout the cd’s offerings that Copeland and the Band are engaged in a mutually responsive and supportive relationship that pays and pays the listener back again and again.

The Only Good Indian

The title of the movie refers to the longstanding attitude expressed in the historical actions of Chivington, Sherman, and Andrew Jackson that — The only good Indian is a dead Indian.  But as the new PBS series states with its title We Shall Remain—Indian peoples have neither vanished nor ‘died out’. Instead they endure and survive despite all the odds.

The Only Good Indian

New film by Kevin Willmott shown at KC Filmfest April 22, 2009. Wes Studi produced and stars in this first step in film to dare to present the Indian Boarding School experience–and issues regarding assimulation and forced acculturation of Native Americans. Taking into consideration that most mainstream audiences are ignorant of the issues faced by Native Peoples this film might be titled ” Indian Issues 101″. It’s a good first step. Studi is solid as a Cherokee Indian turned private detective in pursuit of the runaway Charlie–who gives the film its heart and soul in an incredible performance that manages to convey some fundamental differences in values and world views. Willmott serves the audience issues of forced sterlization of Native American women, forced boarding school attendance, language & culture intolerance, racism, the horrors of an insane asylum for Native Americans, the ‘big lies’ regarding history that movies have presented for decades, and mutlitple references to the Sand Creek Massacre. There’s a lot to absorb in this film that goes where no other film-maker has gone before–straight at the real assualt upon Native Peoples in America and –as Charlie says “An Indian would stay and fight.”

And one way to ‘fight’ is Ryan Red Corn’s way–curious? wander to Wylde’s for some words and video–

Agitate, Educate, and Organize ~OO~


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