Native Nations, Native Voices, New York City, and Funding
g.bronitsky at att.net
Wed Sep 15 16:33:47 UTC 2004
Native Nations, Native Voices continues to gain publicity. I thought
you might find of interest this prepublication draft of a short article
which will appear in the next issue ofTalking Stick Quarterly,
published by the Amerinda Foundation in New York:
“Native Nations, Native Voices Festival
Bronitsky and Associates, an organization that has been working with
Indigenous cultures worldwide since 1992, is planning a festival to
honor and showcase Native languages and Native language writers.
Organizer Gordon Bronisky, PhD, with assistance from the Indian Pueblo
Cultural Center of Albuquerque, NM, has scheduled the three-day event
for July 2005. Taking place in Albuquerque, the festival will give
voice to those Native people writing in their own language.
Translations will be made available to the audience at the option of
Amerinda Inc. is at the forefront of encouraging and supporting Native
writers. We recently published, in conjunction with Nation Books,
“Genocide of the Mind”, edited by Marijo Moore. This anthology of
Native writers featured mainly urban Indians, and for all accounts and
purposes the writers used the English language to get their themes.
Most of us were raised with English as our first language. For many of
us, our Native languages are a Grandmother’s whisper we barely
remember. For others, there is no sound to remember, only the sadness
felt when hearing what is essentially a foreign language. This loss of
language is as profound and tragic as the loss of land, maybe even more
so. To speak like our ancestors is to be able to think as they did.
Amerinda fully supports the Native Nations, Native Voices festival. As
of this pressing, participants include those writing in such diverse
languages as Cree, Otomi, Inuktitut, Greenlandic, Anishanaabe, Xokleng,
Choctaw, Kawaikagamedzene (Laguna Pueblo) and many more. “
I have been thinking about a Native language writers festival for many
years and actually began planning Native Nations, Native Voices in
October, when the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center agreed to serve as the
non-profit conduit through which I could submit funding proposals
Despite interest from across the United States and around the world,
the festival has not gained significant funding support with the
wonderful exception of the Sheraton Old Town Hotel.
I think much of the funding difficulty was best expressed in a
conversation I had earlier this with people at a national arts agency
about funding Native Nations, Native Voices. The person in charge of
literary projects said they couldn’t fund it because the writers were
not writing in English or European languages; their folk culture
official said they couldn’t fund it because it wasn’t a folk event such
as a powwow or hula festival.
I have been privileged to read the works of the writers who would
participate in Native Nations, Native Voices and I believe more
strongly than ever that literature is the domain of writers, not
particular languages. Native language writers have something to say to
the rest of us and I have set October 8 as a funding deadline. If the
festival does not attract a commitment of significant funding by that
date, I will be forced to produce it elsewhere in 2005, perhaps
bringing it back to New Mexico in 2006.
Native language writers are creating a new genre, a new voice, powerful
and strong. They will be heard. I’ll keep you posted.
Gordon Bronitsky, PhD
Bronitsky and Associates
3715 La Hacienda Dr NE
Albuquerque, NM 87110
e-mail g.bronitsky at att.net
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