By: Anna Prentiss
Florida State University’s Department of Art History, School of Communication and College of Communication and Information are co-sponsoring a series featuring short films produced by Indigenous filmmaking teams from around the world.
The series aims to honor Native American and Alaska Native heritage by exploring Indigenous relationships to place, kinship and reciprocity.
Seven episodes from the “Reciprocity Project” will be shown at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 23, in the Student Life Cinema. Initially scheduled for November 2022, the event was rescheduled due to Hurricane Nicole. Discussion will follow the screening, and a link to a recorded conversation between the filmmakers and producers will be provided.
The event is in-person, free and open to the public.
Facing a climate crisis, the “Reciprocity Project” embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since the beginning of time.
Comprised of Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Kavita Pillay and Tracy Rector, the series’ producing team believes that healing requires recognizing our relationship with Earth, “a place that was in balance for millennium.”
“I’ve never been a part of a project like this where it’s so collaborative,” Hensel said. “There’s so much love and joy as a part of the process. It sets a precedent for what’s possible, how these stories should be told.”
This short film series, made in partnership with Indigenous storytellers and their communities worldwide, invites learning time-honored Indigenous ways of being.
“These beautiful award-winning films were made by Indigenous filmmaking teams from around the world sharing dynamic stories of Indigenous resurgence and relationships to place and family,” said Kristin Dowell, associate professor of Indigenous Art & Film. “These films will move audiences and inspire everyone to think about creating more sustainable ways of being in the world.”
As citizens of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, Brit Hensel, director of “ᎤᏕᏲᏅ” (What They’ve Been Taught), and Taylor Hensel share a mutual devotion to their community. The devotion extends to all members of the Reciprocity team.
“It is important that this film included the perspectives of western and eastern Giduwa (Cherokee) people. Although our communities are separated by distance, our collaboration on this film offers a balanced perspective of what reciprocity means to our people and how it’s actualized in our lives,” Brit Hensel said. “This film was brought to life by a team of all Giduwa people, in front of and behind the camera, and was shot on lands that have shaped us.”
Episode 1: Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors)
2021, Princess Daazhraii Johnson and Alisha Carlson (Gwich’in)
Episode 2: ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)
2022, Brit Hensel and Keli Gonzales (Cherokee Nation)
Episode 3: SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of my Mother)
2022, David Hernandez Palmar and Flor Palmar (Wayuu Iipuana)
Episode 4: Weckuwapasihtit (Those Yet to Come)
2022, Geo Neptune and Brianna Smith (Passamaquoddy)
Episode 5: Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn)
2022, Jacob Bearchum, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Chris Newell, Roger Paul, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector, and Lauren Stevens
Episode 6: Ma’s House
2022, Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock)
Episode 7: Pili Ka Moʻo
2021, Justyn Ah Chong and Malia Akutagawa (Kānaka Maoli)