The Margaret Mead Festival Highlights Indigenous Nations & Native Artists

By 11/22/2022 12:10:00 PM , ,

The Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History returns with an in-person celebration from Saturday, December 3, through Sunday, December 4.

This year’s Mead Festival— Mead 2022: Voices of the Pacific Northwest—is inspired by the opening of the Museum’s revitalized Northwest Coast Hall in May 2022.

The two-day festival will celebrate storytelling from the Indigenous Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast and focus on film, performance, and other media by Native artists.

Voices of the Native Northwest Coast

VR Experience: Unceded Territories

This first-come, first-served VR experience is included with general admission to the Museum and will be on view in the Grand Gallery on Saturday and Sunday.

Unceded Territories is a provocative VR experience that engages viewers in an interactive landscape that grapples with colonialism, climate change, and Indigenous civil rights.

Featuring the iconic artwork of Canadian First Nations artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Coast Salish and Okanagan descent), co-directed by Canadian filmmaker Paisley Smith, and with music from native Producer and DJ crew “The Halluci Nation,” Unceded Territories forces viewers to confront their role in the destruction of Indigenous land.

Mead Festival Sat, December 3 Film Program

On Saturday, the Mead Festival will feature 13 films created by and featuring members of Pacific Northwest Coast communities, selected by a group led by Mike Bourquin, a Tahltan/Gitxan multi-disciplinary filmmaker from the Iskut First Nation.

The program includes three sections: a slate of six animated shorts screening at 1 pm, a selection of six short films screening at 3:30 pm, and a full-length thriller in the Haida language (English subtitles) at 7 pm.

Each showcase will be followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers.

Saturday, December 3

1 pm: Cry Rock and Other Animated Films from the Pacific Northwest

A man is dragged to the underworld in the belly of a whale. A curious mink embarks on an ethereal escapade to find his true self. A salmon journeys from a polluted cityscape into the past.

In these six inventive and soulful animated shorts created by artists from the Pacific Northwest, watercolor, stop-motion, and illustration bring to life ancient myths and traditions, recording language and wisdom for generations to come.

This presentation will be followed by a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers.

3:30 pm: Now is the Time and Other Short Films from the Northwest Coast

Bridging tradition and modernity, the films in this program cleverly and poignantly juxtapose legacies of Indigenous culture with radically contemporary style.

As outdated modes of ethnographic spectatorship are called into question, artists including Nicholas Galanin and Barb Cranmer forge new cinematic vocabularies to record their cultures, forcefully affirming the perseverance of Indigenous peoples’ futures.

Presentation followed by a Q&A session with some of the filmmakers.

7 pm Feature Film: SG̲aawaay Ḵʹuuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018)

Set in Haida Gwaii in the 19th century, the epic thriller SG?aawaay ?'uuna (Edge of the Knife) (2018) adapts a classic Haida folk tale of a man left for dead in the forest who becomes the Gaagiid/Gaagiixiid, or “the Wildman.”

The first feature film to be released entirely in the critically endangered Haida language, the film was made with a Haida cast, who trained with fluent speakers to build proficiency in the language for filming.

With sets, costumes, and props from traditional Haida craftspeople, Edge of the Knife is both visually engrossing cinema and socially minded catalyst for cultural revitalization. The film, which is directed by Helen Haig-Brown and Gwaii Edenshaw, will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.

Sunday, December 4

In this 30-minute, family-friendly performance, with a variety of carved masks, headdresses, drums, and rattles, the Git Hoan Dancers share legends and stories through song and dance while showcasing the magnificence and creativity of Tsimshian art.

Tickets are currently on sale at -

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