Elaine Miles Reflects Back on Auditioning, Filming, and Native Representation for ‘Northern Exposure’

On July 12, 1990, the Emmy Award-winning comedy-drama, Northern Exposure, began its run on CBS. Created by Joshua Brand and John Falsey, a neurotic Jewish physician (Rob Morrow) from New York is forced to work as a general practitioner in the small, fictional town of Cicely, Alaska, in order to pay the state of Alaska for underwriting his medical school education. Over the course of the series’ six seasons, not only did audiences watch Morrow’s Dr. Joel Fleischman slowly adjust to his surroundings, but they also got to know the quirky residents of the small community and follow their day-to-day lives as well.

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Author Rebecca Roanhorse Makes Her ‘Star Wars’ Universe Debut with ‘Resistance Reborn’

Rebecca Roanhorse is no stranger to writing worlds and realities beyond our own. A speculative fiction writer of both novels and short fiction, she is a recipient of both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. Her work often features indigenous characters as the leads; such as her Sixth World series where a Dinétah monster slayer navigates a post-apocalyptic world filled with gods and monsters of legend. Continue reading “Author Rebecca Roanhorse Makes Her ‘Star Wars’ Universe Debut with ‘Resistance Reborn’”

The Asian American ComiCon Presents: A Summit on Art, Action & the Future

In 2009, the Asian American ComiCon was held in New York City, bringing together Asian indie and mainstream comics creators for a historic gathering to celebrate the unique and flourishing graphic storytelling of our community. Now, eight years later, AACC is hosting its second event: a Summit on Art, Action and the Future. In a time where diversity and creativity are both under attack, the Summit will feature diverse creators talking about where we’re going next.

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The Official NOC #CrossLines Reading List

This past weekend in Washington DC, the Smithsonian’s historic Arts & Industries building was home to the most important gathering of artists you have ever seen. The CrossLines pop-up culture lab on intersectionality brought together over 40 artists and scholars to explore race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, etc.

I was fortunate enough to be invited and helped organize a Reading Lounge and live podcasts — while artist Matt Huynh painted a mural in real time the entire weekend. One of the questions I got asked the most was about the books we included, so after the jump you can find a complete list of books we had in the Lounge!
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Magic in North America: The Harry Potter Franchise Veers Too Close to Home

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Remember back in June when it was announced that the new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts had an American Wizarding school? Remember how I was concerned? If you don’t, here’s a link to that post.

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‘Pan’ and the Amazing Technicolor Natives

First things first: Pan — opening in U.S. theaters this weekend — is a colorful, action-packed PG-13 reimagining  of the origins of Peter Pan and his relationships with and to Captain Hook, Tiger Lily, and Neverland as we know them through J.M. Barrie’s play and novel and their myriad subsequent Broadway, Disney, and Hollywood (re)interpretations.

My daughters, ages 11 and 6, enjoyed the film, and the 6-year-old, who often asks to leave the theater during intense or “scary” action sequences, made it through with only a bit of parental ear-covering during loud bits. The world-building and -design and the effects were beautiful and well-done, with visual call-backs to many fantasy, science fiction, and action films that parents will recognize fondly (the Mad Max films and Avatar being just an example) and original effects like giant bubbles of water containing aquatic life floating in the sky that I will remember for a while. But it’s the twists, and the questions and consequences they bring up, that I want to talk about now. So from here on in, SPOILERS AHEAD.

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, following “magizoologist” Newt Scamander. I hadn’t been following it closely, but a few days ago, I saw your exchanges on Twitter about the name/location of the American Wizarding School — and I started to get a bit concerned.

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Why “Fix” Tiger Lily? Why Can’t We Just Let Her Go?

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Indian Country Today

On Thursday night, NBC aired their Peter Pan Live! event, a highly publicized three-hour-plus live performance starring Allison Williams as a weirdly sexualized little boy who doesn’t want to grow up. Tucked among the many press releases for the event was the information that the role of Tiger Lily would be played by Alanna Saunders, who is a “descendant of members of the Cherokee Nation.” OK.

Additionally, the show promised us they changed the offensive “Ugg-a-Wug” song to something culturally “authentic” and appropriate. They even hired a Native composer, Chickasaw Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, to consult on the “improved” “Ugg-a-Wug,” causing National Museum of the American Indian director Kevin Gover to praise the production for being, “closer to our heritage, our culture and portrays a deeper sensitivity and helps diminish the many stereotypes surrounding Native Americans.”

I’m going to hope that he said all that before he saw the costume or the number. Because the costume. Oh the costume. Vegas showgirl-meets-Halloween-pocahottie-flapper.

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Why I Teach ‘The Walking Dead’ in My Native Studies Classes

by Cutcha Risling Baldy

So a friend of mine wrote me a message on Facebook that went a little like this:

Question: how the heck do you get through to someone that thinks natives need to just get over it?

Answer: Shake them? I never advocate shaking people, but maybe something is loose in there. Tell them to take a Native American Studies Course (it ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it).

But if I’m being honest, lately, when this comes up — and isn’t it telling that it comes up often enough that I can begin with “lately” instead of “well the last time, a long time ago, man I can barely remember that time?” — I like to tell them about The Walking Dead.

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Elsewhere Around the Internet

Last week, while we were a little preoccupied with the idea of casting an Asian American actor as Iron Fist, Hollywood — as if on cue — once again proved cross-racial casting is really a one-way street and announced Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara will be playing Tiger Lily in Warner Brothers’ upcoming live action Peter Pan adaptation.

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