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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Daughter of a Lost Bird

Daughter of a Lost Bird Trailer from Daughter of a Lost Bird on Vimeo.

Daughter of a Lost Bird

What does blood have to do with identity? Kendra Mylnechuk, an adult Native adoptee, born in 1980 at the cusp of the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act, is on a journey to reconnect with her birth family and discover her Lummi heritage.

The film pays particular attention with regard to our diverse heritage as a nation founded on a multitude of Native nations, and specifically delves into the traditions and culture of the Lummi people.  It also examines the current conditions of Lummi and American Indian people today and the Diaspora formed by the adopted community. Most significantly, the film aims to bring about cross-cultural awareness for those families that adopt across cultural lines, to become more tolerant and understanding of the potential problems that arise from cultural assimilation.


More about the Film: Missoulian News Article 

POLSON – It’s a big leap, going from producing a 15-minute short film to making a feature-length one.
But a woman who spent her childhood on the Flathead Indian Reservation started on a path last week that could help her make the jump.
Brooke Swaney is in New Mexico over Memorial Day weekend for the first of a two-stage development program sponsored by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. She’s one of four fellows and projects chosen for Sundance’s 2012 NativeLab Fellowship, which provides continuous and direct support to Native American, Native Hawaiian and Alaskan Native filmmakers.
She took her script, with the working title “Circle,” with her.
It’s a major expansion on the 15-minute short she made for her thesis as a graduate student at New York University’s Film School, called “OK Breathe Auralee.”
“Circle” is about the same young Native American woman “who was adopted away from her community,” Swaney told “On Native Ground,” “and her wanting to reconnect with her roots – kind of through a roundabout way of really wanting to have a baby.”
Swaney wrote the feature-length script at the home of her mother, Ellen, who lives near Polson on Flathead Lake. Ellen says it weaves the four directions and four elements – air, earth, water and fire – so important in Native traditions into the story.
“Originally I wanted four different characters in four different parts of the United States,” Swaney says, “but after making the ‘Auralee’ short I realized her story is so big, I have to just tell her story.”
It’s an adoption story that eventually leads Auralee from her home in New York City back to the place – a Montana Indian reservation – where she was born, but never knew.
Getting such a project by an aspiring young filmmaker off the ground, that’s the challenge.
The Sundance fellowship is a big step.
 

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Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab

Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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