Haskell Indian Nations University will host a free screening of the documentary “Imagining the Indian” Friday, followed by a panel discussion with film producers and local leaders.
The award-winning documentary, subtitled “The Fight Against Native American Mascoting,” examines the movement to end Native American names and images being used as mascots.
“Imagining the Indian is not only a documentary film, but a call to action for anyone who would like to be involved in the fight to address the way that Native Americans have been misrepresented in sports, film, television, literature, pop culture, and beyond,” film producer Ben West (Cheyenne) said.
Following the showing of the film, a panel will hold a discussion. Panel members include film producers West, Kevin Blackistone, and Yancey Burns as well as Rhonda LeValdo (Acoma Pueblo) and Gaylene Crouser (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), from the Not in Our Honor Coalition, and State Rep. Christina Haswood (Diné), of Lawrence.
“Rhonda LeValdo and Gaylene Crouser are featured in Imagining the Indian, along with many others who have been advocating for change around these issues for decades,” West said. “Rhonda and Gaylene are organizers and activists, and the film aims to support their efforts to make change in their communities, and communities everywhere.”
The screening is set to begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20 in the Haskell Indian Nations University Auditorium.
In Kansas, more than 20 schools still use mascots with names like Indians, Braves or Red Raiders. The State Board of Education created an advisory group to address the issue; the board voted in November to endorse the advisory group’s recommendation urging schools to retire Native American-themed mascots within five years.
Learn more about the documentary on its website at this link.
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Cuyler Dunn (he/him), a contributor to The Lawrence Times, is a student at the University of Kansas School of Journalism. He is a graduate of Lawrence High School where he was the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, The Budget, and was named the 2022 Kansas High School Journalist of the Year. Read more of his work for the Times here.