In October, I journeyed far above the Arctic Circle to the Sápmi Region in Norway and was hosted by the Indigenous Sami People. Their traditional territory runs across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, and they have recently established the International Sami Film Center (ISFC) who were the hosts of the Indigenous Film Conference. The Conference had 125 participants from across Sápmi and around the world including Russia, Australia, Panama, Guatemala, Peru, the U.S., and Canada. Fellow Native Americans Heather Rae and Chris Eyre participated as well as several leaders from the International Indigenous film community including: Erika Glynn,manager of the Indigenous Unit, Screen Australia; Cory Generoux, producer, National Film Board of Canada; Jason Ryle, executive director, ImagineNative Film Festival; Paul Quassa, Isuma TV; and Anne Lajla Utsi, International Sami Film Center. After three days of sharing stories about the success of Indigenous Cinema in various parts of the world and strategizing for continued growth, the Film Conference concluded with a declaration drafted and presented as a statement from everyone in attendance.
We the Indigenous screen storytellers
United in this northern corner of our mother, the earth
In a great assembly of wisdom we declare to all nations
We glory in our past
And thus through motion picture make the invisible visible again
We vow to manage our own destiny and recover our complete humanity in pride
In being Indigenous screen storytellers