It is Native Heritage Month and Amazon Studios is celebrating indigenous people and their creativity, as they present its newest “Voices” virtual event. The event highlights the many contributions to entertainment from the native community, as well as Hollywood’s complicity in the ongoing erasure and whitewashing of indigenous stories.
‘Voices’ launches with the intent of celebrating the heritage, diversity and beauty of Native American communities. It also seeks to evaluate Native American representation in current film and changing the narrative of indigenous culture in media, the one-day program will take place on Nov. 8 and will be available to stream on Amazon Live and Prime Video’s YouTube channel. The entertainment-focused lineup features Bird Runningwater (executive producer, “Sovereign”), Crystal Echo Hawk (IllumiNative founder and CEO), Heather Rae (director and producer, Iron Circle Pictures), Jenna Clause (“The Wilds”) and Leah Salgado (IllumiNative’s chief impact officer), as well as performances by artist and producer Mato Wayuhi and singer-songwriter Raye Zaragoza.
Full Program Line-Up:
11:30-11:37 AM PT | Welcome & Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
Speaker: Mato Wayuhi, artist and producer
11:37-11:52 AM PT | Lightning talk: The History of Ingigenous Erasure on Screen and How the IllumiNative Guide Can Help
Speakers: Heather Rae, director and producer, Iron Circle Pictures; Leah Salgado, chief impact officer, IllumiNative
11:52 AM-12:02 PM PT | Entertainment: artist and producer Mato Wayuhi
Brief remarks about the indigenous connection with hip hop culture, followed by a performance.
12:06-12:51 PM PT | Panel Discussion Changing the Narrative: Effective and Representative Indigenous Stories on Screen
Panelists: Bird Runningwater (executive producer, “Sovereign”), Jenna Clause (“The Wilds”)
Moderator: Laura Clark (Deputy Editor, In The Know)
12:54-1:00PM PT | Entertainment: singer/songwriter Rye Zaragoza
The virtual celebration marks the latest Amazon Studios’ Voices event, following the company’s Asian & Pacific Islander Representation in Film & Media summit, which was held in May, with Daniel Dae Kim, Sophia Ali, Stephanie Hsu and producer Christina Oh among the speakers. In June, Amazon Prime Video hosted a Pride celebration, which highlighted intersectional LGBTQ+ representation with panels centered on recent projects including “My Name is Pauli Murray,” “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” “With Love” and “A League of Their Own.” The most recent event was September’s “Voices/Voces” headlined by John Leguizamo, Rep. Joaquin Castro, Laz Alonso, Gloria Calderón Kellett and comedian Gina Brillon.