READ ABOUT THE ILI LAKOTA INTENSIVE 2017 HERE
Hosted by First Peoples Fund
The second intensive for the 2017-18 fellows was held September 14-19, 2017 in the Lakota Territory within South Dakota. The experience was grounded on the first evening by culture bearers who shared the Lakota emergence story and the offering of a sunrise ceremony the next morning in the Black Hills. We visited Pe’Sla, The Heart of All That Is, before leaving the Black Hills and then traveled to Rapid City for sessions on Ledger Art History and Revitalizing Native Cuisine. On the following day, we were at the Mother Butler Center for sessions including Courage in the Face of Manifest Destiny and Truth & Racial Equity through an Indigenous Lens. We experienced the Mitakuye Oyasin exhibit at Racing Magpie and a community cultural exchange at the Ursa Major Event Center. For our final days together, we traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation where we spent time at the Oglala Lakota Heritage Center, the Wounded Knee Memorial Site and the Thunder Valley CDC and had the opportunity to check out FPF’s Rolling Rez Arts.
Local luminaries and presenters during ILI Lakota included Sean Sherman (Oglala Lakota), Founder and CEO Chef of The Sioux Chef; Kevin Killer (Oglala Lakota, Kiowa), South Dakota State Representative and Founder & Director of Native Youth Leadership Alliance; Kimberly Tilsen-Brave Heart (Oglala Lakota), Painted Skye Management ; Ohitika Locke (Hunkpapa Lakota), Dances with Words Poet; Mary Bordeaux (Sicangu Lakota), Owner/Creative Director of Racing Magpie; Cetan Ducheneaux (Cheyenne River), Dances with Words Poet; Marilyn Pourier (Oglala Lakota), Director of Development, Oglala Lakota College; Tashina Banks Rama (Oglala Lakota, Ojibwa), Executive Director of Advancement at Red Cloud Indian School; Tawny Brunsch (Oglala Lakota), Executive Director of Lakota Funds; Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), Executive Director of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation; and Scatter Their Own (Oglala Lakota including Juliana Brown Eyes-Clifford, Scotti, Scotti Jr. & Wahpe Clifford), Family Band. ILI Lakota faculty included Kayla Shubert (Hunkpapa Lakota); Richard B. Williams (Oglala Lakota, Northern Cheyenne); Donald Montileaux (Oglala Lakota); Gilbert Kills Pretty Enemy III (Hunkpapa Lakota); Dave Archambault Sr. (Itazipo Wakinyan, Hunkpapa Lakota); Faith Spotted Eagle (Ihanktowan Lakota); Heather Dawn Thompson (Mnicounjou Lakota); Liz Medicine Crow (Haida, Tlingit) and Vickie Oldman-John (Dine).
Read Carlton Turner's Welcome here
ILI Welcome to Mississippi
By Carlton Turner
To change the nation, you must first change the South. To change the South, you must first change Mississippi.
Welcome to Mississippi. The name Mississippi is Ojibwe and means Great River. The name of the state, like many of the counties and towns in it, are Native American in origin and it reminds us that we stand on occupied territory. The Choctaw People originally inhabited this particular land.
Most of the Choctaws were relocated to Oklahoma after the 1831 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, but some still remain as part of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Neshoba County in Central Mississippi.
Mississippi, also known as the Magnolia State, is considered to be the birthplace of America’s Music and home of the Blues. American music traditions of gospel, country, jazz, and rock and roll were all invented, or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians, many of them African American, and most came from the Mississippi Delta.
Before Elvis Presley, there was Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Lead Belly.
Other notable Mississippians include Leontyne Price, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Richard Wright, James Earl Jones, Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Faith Hill, Beah Richards, Tavis Smiley, Robin Roberts, John Grisham, US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, and next generation writers Kiese Laymon and Jesmyn Ward.
Mississippi. Just the utterance of the word conjures black and white images of state-sponsored violence, extreme poverty, and a race to the bottom of national education and health statistics. But for many native Mississippians and transplants alike, the word means home. This has been the home of my family for eight generations.
Up until the 1930s African Americans were the majority population in Mississippi. But the effects of the Great Migration, which lasted from 1910-1970, saw six million blacks leave the rural South and move to the Northeast, Midwest, and West. But even after that great exodus, Mississippi still retains the highest per capita population of African Americans in the country.
Fifty years ago Jackson, Mississippi was ground zero in the fight for Civil Rights. Thousands came to Mississippi to work with the faith community to aid in the struggle for basic human dignity for all of its citizens.
1964’s Freedom Summer brought busloads of students to Mississippi to register African Americans to vote, because although we had the highest percentage of African Americans, we also had the lowest percentage of African American registered voters.
It was also in that summer a little more than fifty years ago, that Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Baker, and Robert Moses, through the auspices of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, started the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. They traveled to New Jersey in 1964 and challenged the legitimacy of the all-white Democratic Party delegation.
Fifty years later, Mississippi has the highest number of African American elected officials. But despite the increased participation of African Americans in the political arena, Mississippi still upholds some of the most conservative state politics in the nation. Good ol’ boy values that serve private interests at the detriment of the people.
Welcome to the Bible belt.
Growing up and out in Mississippi I have learned that hard work and talent are not enough to thrive in our work. There are still issues of access, which by and large are issues deeply connected to white privilege and systems of oppression.
Access determines what stories get told, who gets to tell them, and where they are being told, which also determines who will get to hear them. All of this affects public perception and ultimately determines public policy. This is why cultural equity is so critically important. This is why our work is so important. Through our work we create the environment for positive social change to take root in the most important place: in each person.
Our work in the arts sector is on the frontline of the imagination. We possess the power to dream and manifest change through our work as tradition bearers and culture shapers. Let’s take this moment as a challenge to live a better history.
Welcome to Mississippi.
Hosted by Alternate ROOTS
The 2017-18 ILI fellows’ first intensive was held March 23-28, 2017 in Jackson, Mississippi, hosted by Carlton Turner, his family and the Alternate ROOTS staff. We were welcomed by Carlton as well as local luminaries on the first evening at the Smith Robertson Museum for African-American Culture. Over the next two days, we met at the Arts Center of Mississippi and had a community cultural exchange at the Chokwe Lumumba Center. On the fourth day, we took a field trip into the Mississippi Delta to the B.B. King Museum in Indianola and our last full day was at the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation with a closing session at Woodworth Chapel on the campus of Tougaloo College, an important site in civil rights history.
Local luminaries and presenters during ILI Mississippi included Judge Jaribu Hill of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights; Pamela D.C. Junior, Director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum; Jesse Robinson of the BB King Blues Band; Hollis Watkins, civil rights legend and Primus Wheeler of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. ILI Mississippi faculty included Dr. Maribel Alvarez, Sherry Salway Black, Claudio Dicochea, C. Liegh McInnis, Tufara Waller Muhammad, Clinnesha Dillon Sibley and Makani Themba. Stephanie McKee and Tufara Waller Muhammad led the facilitation with support from Carrie Brunk and Vickie Oldman-John.
ILI SAN ANTONIO
READ María López De León'S WELCOME
Welcome to San Antonio
By María López De León | President and CEO
National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures
I welcome you to my home where many peoples have lived for generations across a span of time, a region where many of our ancestors journeyed freely back and forth across this land. Multiple heritages, stories and cultural practices have coalesced to shape the consciousness of this place.
Indigenous populations lived across what we now call Texas long before Spanish colonization in the 1500’s and Anglo colonization in the 1800’s. Over 52% of the Texas population is Latinx and 88% are of Mexican descent. Mexicans/Mexican-Americans are a large part of Texas history and the stories left to us by our elders provide us with an understanding of our legacy. The knowledge of many diverse peoples combined to take on variations in our language, culture, traditions, and ways of being that make Texas what it is today.
In San Antonio you will be immersed in a living Mexican-American culture grounded in indigeneity. You will hear the unique sound of conjunto music-- a musical genre born from a Tejano/German fusion of the accordion and Bajo sexto. You will learn about the origins of the food, traditions, artistry and cultural expressions of our heritage.
There are many layers that inform the current moment of this place- my homeland- some are harmonious, while others are syncopated. A nuanced embodiment of this complexity is evident through events like UNESCO’s 2017 designation of San Antonio Missions as a World Heritage Site- a designation based on the interaction between indigenous people of this area and the colonizers that contributed to a fundamental change in the culture and values of the hunter-gather tribes. Similarly, as you move about town you may encounter signs commemorating the City of San Antonio’s Tricentennial history- an abridged version of history that overlooks regional roots that trace beyond a 300-year history. With this in mind, The American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions will provide a fuller context of where we are.
In your third ILI gathering you will have an opportunity to share more about your own work to help shape a narrative of interculturality. We took our insight and wisdom from Jackson, Mississippi and Lakota Territory to shape our third intensive program as an affirmation of who we are, how and what we do and why we matter. Artists and culture bearers from San Antonio and beyond will join us throughout the week to share knowledge, stories and artistic and cultural expressions that will support intercultural learning.
We aspire to achieve understanding to help us imagine a future where the artistic and cultural expressions of our communities are fully valued. Arts and culture are a manifestation of the values, creativity, vision and aspirations of the people who make those communities their home. The character and texture of a community’s cultural life is expressed through artmaking and cultural practices and centers life in our neighborhoods, allowing one to understand the inseparability of the arts from education, community development, personal growth and socio-economic equity. Artists have a long tradition of being the truth tellers, reflecting through their work the issues that impact our society and can catalyze change and propel social movements. There is a need for places of being that make space for the expression of our creativity, cultural practices and movements of resistance and liberation. The Intercultural Leadership Institute is such a space.
We look forward to the shared learning during our time in San Antonio and together with you explore a new way to work in solidarity. Together we can re-imagine ways to create a new narrative that more broadly includes and supports our communities. Journalist and music and culture critic, Jeff Chang notes “Equity is the current horizon of our imagination; it begins in a circle; a space of creativity; community forms; re-emerges in a revolution of coming together.” You are a cohort of change makers and thought leaders who will build a new way of being.
Thank you for the grace and energy with which you hold this space.