Wednesday, November 08, 2006

more in NYU

Rain in New York! I went to a lecture at Columbia University ( a few subways away ). Joesph P. Gone was speaking on "Keeping Culture in Mind." This was about the "Prospects and pitfalls of Therapeutic Integration in a Canadian First Nation Treatment Center". I found the presentation very affirming for my own work and was inspired to feel I am travelling in the right directions in my thinking on this issue. Proffessor Gone has a few books out, which you can google.

Yesterday I gave another presentation on the topic of "Health , Human Rights and Community development" at NYU in the Culture , Media and History department. It was well recived and afterward I had great conversations with some of the people who came.

Faye Ginsburg and Fred Meyers are amazing people and they have really put a huge effort over the years to shaping this department . I am touched to find academics who genuinely care and who do so well mentoring their students to a high level. I have been so impressed and feel very at home here and supported. The work coming out of this department is very inspiring and creative and I will be sad to leave such a rich affirming environment. Fred and Faye have had a long association over the years with Australians and have helped and shared deeply with Indigenous people , here and In Australia and also in other parts of the world .The diversity is wonderful to be around. New York is wonderful this way !
I met so many people doing projects that move me deeply, across such a huge range of areas. I have learnt so much. I am sure to return to NY , well , I hope in some future time.
Tonight I am attending the opening of the "Margaret Mead film and video festival" and have been able to be involved in the screenings of a number of works in progress and documentaries from here and overseas . films from Indonesia , India , films on Disabilties and films made by Indigenous people, here in the USA and from Canada , south and central America .

My most current film is nearly finalised with the editing help of my good friend Paul Tait. It is a film about the wonderful Rhoda Roberts who inspired and visioned the " dreaming" festival in Australia. I am excited to have this come together in time to be screened perhaphs in Australia in Decemeber ( even though I will be here ). Wish I had more days and more hours in every day , so much to do and accomplish.
People here are also very excited about Digital stories and the narrative approach in working to address health issues and Trauma. I expect over xmas and the new year besides finally having some down time , to relax and not be so busy , that I will enjoy having time to gather some of my thoughts and write and refect on what has been a very active and busy ( nearly 4 mths already) in the USA.

The big news thought today , Is the elections. It seems the Democratic party here has had huge success and that things are going to change here. Time will tell . There is a clear message though that can not be denied , which is that the majority of people in the USA, wish for a dramatic change in relation to the war in Iraq. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

I am off to teach and share at Bronx Community college next week and other than this doing some writing and preparing to move on again.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A few more pictures of NYC

Central Park

Brooklyn Bridge
( walked at night)


resident cat
(pete from Bombay)

Local street and
more of the park.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

central Park NYC

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

New york

I Have not had much time to update MY BLOG and some problems downloading the pics. I have some great ones , so will try again soon. I have been as usual very busy with lectures and meetings. Anna Cadden ( My dear friend ),who works for Warlpiri Indigenous Australian media and wo has just finished shooting" Aboriginal Rules" , a new doco drama you can look for on ABC tv In the future. ( you can google and have a look ), was here and we gave a presentation together to NYU.
The presentation was called " shifting the focus "( New perspectives in Indigenous Australian media). It went very well and it was interesting to look at issues and compare with desert and remote communities and east coast communities in Australia and from our perspectives. We looked specifically at the use of media in a health context and I spoke about using digital stories as a more accessible and empowering process for people to tell stories in first person. Anna shared about the work of Warlpiri and future directions.

I am now preparing for another presentation for NYU on 'Human Rights , health and community "on the 7th November. I am looking forward to this and the discussion after.
I Have met many people here and attended a number of events. The national Museum of American Indians in NYC, is wonderful and met some great folks there. They are busy preparing for the "Native American Film festival ",( Also worth a Google), it happens every 3 years. Unfortunately I will miss it , but have the inside on a lot of great films now to try find and watch later. I was interested to hear that Australian Indigenous film is considered very highly and as being very advanced. We can be proud!!! thanks to a lot of hard work by many before us.

We had lunch with a woman from Chile , Amalia , who works with the spanish speaking indigenous films and we spoke about touring some in Australia. Again we found that issues are similar for Indigenous people the world over in terms of health , governance , borders , power , identity and impacts of colonisation. ( so it seems and not a surprise )....It is inspiring to meet so many passionate and creative people trying to bring change .
Getting stories out there is part of the solution, in our voices, the other part is connecting and sharing and being allies for each other.

Had a tour of the metro art gallery and met a wonderful woman, lesley who works with Indigenous Art there. There is a real community of people here interested and connected to home. AMAZING ! but then everything is in NEW YORK.

I have just come back now from the VA film festival in Charlottesville Virginia . The festival theme , was " Radiance , God at the Movies ". I was invited to LAUNCH the Wonderful film " Ten Canoes" courtesy of the University and the " Kluge Ruhe" ( collections that are housed there.
This is one of the largest and most significant collections of Central desert and northern Australian art in the world( outside of Australia) and it was amazing to be there. Margo Smith our host was so kind and we were looked after with great care.
' Ten Canoes " is shot in remote northern Australia in central Arnhem land.You can have a look at the web site on this to find out more . It is a wonderful film again google "Ten Canoes " and go see it of it comes your way. Alos the new " making of Ten canoes".
I was honored to be asked to be there, to do this . The film is rare film, in that it was made very collectively and with much respect to culture and kinship and with an all Aboriginal cast .

The response was a full house and people LOVED IT. I sat on a panel afterwards and did my best to answer questions and try give the feeling of issues at home and life and the importance of community healing and film/. I was asked about how I found coming to the USA in regards to how I see things here for American Indian people. I was pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this. I do feel that we have so much in common , the good and the hard . The issues are so similar and so I shared some observations and stories. one thing I shared was how in coming to the east coast here , people kept asking me " why ?" as " there are NO indians there "!!! which is not true at all and I was so shocked to hear .The truth is that just like the East coast at home , this coast was also colonised first and so the impact of settlement and the resultant policies of removal etc, have led to Indians here being invisible and not counted by a lot of people as they may not match the John wayne , buffalo bill idea of an Indian.

I have also made some wonderful connections with other academics and Indian( I am saying Indian , as here people seem to prefer this term and not the more used reference as ' native american).
I have met many wonderful local Indian Film makers and met with people working also in the area of trying to address " historical Trauma " . It is a rich conversation and my work is developing well. I will have much to share and write up once home.

ok , that is a bit of news , there is so much more, Ican only give a brief outline here , but enough so you can feel what I am up to. Now I will go try load some pics in the next blog.
take care.