Section: Arts

Film series brings the voice of First Nations to Gund Gallery

RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, written and directed by Catherin Bainbridge, was the powerful kickoff to Kenyon’s first ever First Nations Film Series. In partnership with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), the Gund Gallery will screen four films that recognize the impact Native Americans have on the United States today. Three Gund Gallery Associates – Ashley Li ’22, Pearson Hague ’22 and Adam Mirah ’23–spoke about how the film series was significant to them, despite having no known Native American ancestry.

“There are so many things in American culture nowadays that really had Native American roots that we didn’t even know about … It’s really cool to address that, and to be able to respectfully and rightfully attribute the things we have to the Natives,” Li said. This statement encapsulates the idea behind the series: to give due credit to influential Native Americans.

Featuring interviews from moguls such as Martin Scorcese, Marky Ramone, Iggy Pop and Quincy Jones, the film centers around the indelible impact of Shawnee guitarist Link Wray and his 1958 song “RUMBLE.” Iggy Pop cited Link Wray as one of his reasons for becoming a musician, but Iggy, along with many others, claimed to not have known that he was of Indigenous roots. Descendents of Wray spoke about his run-ins with the Klu Klux Klan, which prompted him to hide from the Klan in his house. The hour and forty-three minutes of RUMBLE is tastefully informative and plot-driven.

This film reinforces the fact that many people are not aware of the lineage of well-known artists and influencers. RUMBLE brings to light the many musicians who have had a huge impact on the industry, yet whose ancestry goes overlooked. The band Redbone, for example, who are known for their song “Come and Get Your Love,” is comprised of four Native American musicians. Heralded Jimi Hendrix is also of indigenous roots. He was quoted telling members of Redbone to “do the Indian thing,” advice which they took, creating one of the most revered songs of the 70s.

The First Nation Film Series did not get due publicity (only five people came to the Saturday screening), but the films are free and open to the public. The implications of these movies are significant in the context of the recent Keystone XL Pipeline protests, along with the possible desecration of sacred sites. The impact of Native Americans is ubiquitous to this day, yet, as shown by RUMBLE, their role is left in the dark. The next upcoming movies will be at 3 p.m. on October 26, November 9 and December 7, all of which are Saturdays.

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