Walker Art Center

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DNA//Memory: Storytelling and Cultural Heritage

Part of INDIgenesis: Indigenous Filmmakers, Past and Present

Using storytelling to address erasure and preserve traditions for future generations, these short films beautifully express filmmakers’ examinations of ancestry, language, and history. Program length approximately 70 minutes.

Smoke that Travels

Directed by Kayla Briët
Smoke that Travels is an autobiographical doc by a young, award-winning, self-taught filmmaker that transmits Prairie Band Potawatomi teachings from her father—dance, music, history, and language—in hopes of preserving and inspiring a new appreciation of her culture. 2016, US, 13 minutes.


In Person: Director Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.
Shinaab follows a young Anishinaabe man as he struggles with his place in the inner-city. This short film by Minnesota-based filmmaker Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr. premiered in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Corbine, the recipient of several grants from the Sundance Institute and the Minnesota State Arts Board, is a Sundance Institute-Time Warner Story Fellow as well as a Sundance Institute Native and Indigenous Program Feature Film Fellow. Through these fellowships, he is being mentored by world-renowned writers, directors, and producers throughout the development and production of his first feature, Wild Indian. 2016, US, 8 minutes.

Anishinabemowin Nagishkodaading (Ojibwa Language Introduction)

Directed by Eve-Lauryn Little Shell Lafountain
This short poetically captures a journey of discovery through language and place. The film was inspired by Eve-Lauryn Lafountain’s experiences during a summer on her tribe’s reservation in North Dakota, where she attended an Ojibwe language camp with her cousins. 2011, US, 6 minutes.

Four Faces of the Moon

Directed by Amanda Strong
An animated short told in four chapters, Four Faces of the Moon explores the reclamation of language and nationhood, peeling back the layers of Canada’s colonial history. This personal story told through the eyes of director and writer Amanda Strong connects the oral and written history of her family as well as the history of the Metis, Cree, and Anishinaabe people and their cultural link to the buffalo. This story seeks to uncover some of that history and establish the importance of cultural practice, resistance, and language revival from a personal perspective. The moon—which holds great importance in Cree and Anishinaabe culture as a seasonal guide and a marker of change—is used as a symbol to mark the passage of each chapter. 2016, US, 12 minutes.

I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become

Directed by Sky Hopinka
This film is an elegy to Diane Burns on the shapes of mortality, being, and the forms the transcendent spirit takes while descending upon landscapes of life and death. A place for new mythologies to syncopate with deterritorialized movement and song, reifying old routes of reincarnation. Where resignation gives hope for another opportunity, another form, for a return to the vicissitudes of the living and all their refractions. 2016, US, 12 minutes.


Directed by Blackhorse Lowe
In the late 1920s, on the serene Navajo reservation, Mary Jane must decide whether to retain her traditional lifestyle at home with her másání (grandmother) or seek a new life “just over the mountain.” 2009, US, 15 minutes.