During October and November nonprofit organizations and other community groups throughout Arizona will come together to host events that celebrate Native American culture. As part of the 31st annual Native American Recognition Days, Arizona State University's Deer Valley Rock Art Center is presenting Native Now.
The festival will include music, live performances, film screenings, food, and more -- all meant to explore what it means to be indigenous in Arizona today. Native Now focuses on artistic and cultural works "make sense of contrasting indigenous voices, experiences, and knowledge."
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Musical performances will be provided by Shining Soul, an Arizona-based hip-hop duo who "use vintage beats and empowering rhymes to bring to light the social injustices that affect the daily lives of indigenous and immigrant communities." The duo, comprised of Liaizon of Central Phoenix/Tohono O'odham Nation and Bronze Candidate of south Phoenix, released their first full-length musical project in 2011.
You'll also be able to hear performances from artist Bryon Fenix, senior producer and host of the weekly radio program Soul Deluxe, which spotlights soul music in various genres as well as emerging artists and musicians.
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Wilana White-Coyote, a performer who grew up hearing stories of the Cocopah people and her family Coyote, will perform "Re-Introduction." The piece is a "collection of songs and stories where, in the style of Coyote, she explores deep issues of culture and identity with truth and humor." Melanie Sainz, of the Hochunk Nation of Wisconsin, will bring her presentation "My Transformation" to the festival. In it she explores her tribal heritage and daily identity.
Award-winning filmmakers Dustinn Craig and Velma Kee Craig will be screening their short films In This Manner I am and I Belong to This at the festival as well. The latter is a personal documentary from the 2003 PBS series called Matter of Race. The former, was recently included in the AZ100 Indie Film Collection, a project of the U of A Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry in collaboration with the Arizona Media Arts Center.