Relinking Past & Present

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On Wednesday, April 21st, 2021, Dr. Beverly Singer, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies at UNM, and John Jota Leaños, Professor of Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz, joined Borderless Cultures Film Festival curators, Unsettling Journeys producer Emmanuel Ramos Barajas, and Assistant Professor in American Studies UNC-Chapel Hill Annette Rodríguez to discuss Native Resistance as explored through Leaños’ 2014 short FRONTERA! REVOLT AND REBELLION ON THE RIO GRANDE and Singer’s 2021 documentary CONTEMPORARY PUEBLO WOMEN: JOURNEYS AND PATHWAYS.

The Borderless Cultures Online Filmfest is generously sponsored by the UNC Humanities for the Public Good Initiative and the Critical Ethnic Studies Collective.


Dr. Beverly SingerDR. BEVERLY SINGER
Associate Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico

Beverly Singer (Tewa / Navajo from Santa Clara Pueblo) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose video productions explore the subject of cultural revitalizing in Native American communities. She has previously worked in New York City as public programs specialist with the Museum of the American Indian Film and Video Center, and taught at Parsons School of Design and at California Polytechnic State University. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico; M.A. in Administration from University of Chicago; B.A. in Social Welfare/Psychology from the College of Santa Fe; and film training at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe. She is a founding member of the Native American Producers Alliance and author of Wiping the War Paint Off the Lens: Native American Film and Video, about Native American independent filmmaking.

Artist and Filmmaker – Frontera! (2014)

John Jota Leaños is an award-winning Mestizo (Xicano/Italian/Chumash) new media artist using animation, documentary, and performance focusing on the convergence of memory, social space, and decolonization. Leaños’ animation work has been shown internationally at festivals and museums including Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Short Film Corner, the Morelia International Film Festival, Mexico, San Francisco International Festival Animation, the KOS Convention 07, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Leaños has also exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Leaños is a Guggenheim Fellow in Film, Creative Capital Foundation Grantee, a United States Artist Fellow and has been an artist in residence at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Center for Chicano Studies, Carnegie Mellon University in the Center for Arts in Society, and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Leaños is currently a Professor of Film & Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


Contemporary Pueblo Women

JOURNEYS AND PATHWAYS: Oral Histories of Contemporary Pueblo Women in Service, Leadership and the Arts  (2021)

(dir. Beverly Singer, 2021, 70 min)

Within New Mexico Pueblo communities, women take on a variety of leadership roles. They are activists, artists, teachers, business owners, innovators, tribal officials, and sit on various Boards. They fight for rights, proper recognition, sustainability, resources, and decolonization. They fight against exploitation, encroachment, destruction, abuse, and violence. Journeys and Pathways interviewed nineteen Pueblo women who were the “first” in their fields, or among the first women in their communities to cross traditional gender lines. These contemporary perspectives add to the archival record of Pueblo perseverance and resilience.

Produced by the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (IPCC) in Albuquerque, NM. The project was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Rose Diaz, Ph.D wrote and directed the interviews.

Frontera Revolt and Rebellion on the Rio Grande
FRONTERA! Revolt and Rebellion on the Rio Grande (2014)

(dir. John Jota Leaños, 2014, 19 min)

The Pueblo peoples orchestrated the unthinkable: a pan-Indian uprising successfully expelling the Spanish occupiers from the entire Rio Grande region leading to an indigenous cultural and social renaissance.

Still from Frontera!The first American Revolution occurred along the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico when the Pueblo Indians broke from the Spanish Empire. The 1680 Pueblo Revolt has shaped the deeply contested territories of the US-Mexico borderlands even today. Native and Chicano narrators recall this living history through humor, music and cartoons.


These screenings will be presented alongside another work by Beverly Singer: 12-minute short THE BLANK STARE AT MOVIE INDIANS, which employs a de-colonizing methodology and works to counter stereotypes of American “Indians” will be available.

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