Documentary at local film festival explores work and diversity of Indigenous artists

Love And Fury Documentary Screenshot
Courtesy of Julia Keefe

SPOKANE, Wash. — A documentary about Indigenous artists showed in Spokane as part of the One Heart film festival, exploring the meaning and diversity of their work.

“Love and Fury,” made by “Reservation Dogs” creator Sterlin Harjo, explores culture, identity, history, heritage, cultural appropriation, pain and other matters among Indigenous artists. It depicts the lives and work of musicians and painters in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alaska and other regions across the country.

The film played at Magic Lantern Theatre in downtown Spokane Friday night. The showing included a panel of artists featured in the film.

Julia Keefe, executive director of the festival who appears in the film, said she wanted people to know Indigenous people are still here. A member of the Nez Perce tribe, she said Indigenous people are creative, honest, raw and vulnerable.

“We [Indigenous people] are not one size fits all. We are diverse, and we are wonderful storytellers and we’re here to tell our stories,” Keefe said.

Micah P. Hinson, a musician featured in the documentary, said identity was an important part of the film for him. A member of the Chickasaw tribe, he said even though he looks white he is Indigenous. Just because he looks a certain way or raised a certain way, he said it doesn’t take away from his ancestry.

Keefe hopes the film, as well as art made by Indigenous people, will shatter misconceptions non-Native viewers may have toward them.

“I hope it shatters the misconception that a Native artist has to look and sound and be and act in a certain way that’s been drilled into our brains from western culture and Hollywood and so on,” she said. “We’re just as edgy as any other artist within our genre.”

These misconceptions include how a Native musician is a traditional flute player or drummer, or a Native artist only makes ledger art or paints horses, according to Keefe. However, she added there is worth and merit in artists who do these from a place of honesty.

“There’s also Native artists who do graphic arts, pop culture art, and art and music that has nothing to do with that traditional conception or perception of what a Native artist or musician does,” she said.

She encouraged people to support Indigenous artists, watch films and shows like “Rutherford Falls,” and listen to their stories.

“Now is the time to really help amplify [Indigenous] voices and the stories that they’re telling though their art,” Keefe said.

The film festival will conclude Saturday night. If you didn’t see the documentary, it will be showing at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Magic Lantern. Also, the short films program will be happening at 4 p.m. at the theatre.

Over at the Washington Cracker Co. Building, music from the documentary will be performed at 7:30 p.m.

You can find the schedule of events here.

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