If you are going to be in New York this month, check out the 2009 Native American Film + Video Festival, running from March 26 to 29.

Founded in 1979 and now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, the festival is organized by the Film and Video Center of the National Museum of the American Indian. The festival aims to showcase the creative talents of Native American directors, producers, writers, actors, musicians, and cultural activists. The Film and Video Center serves indigenous media throughout the hemisphere through extensive exhibition and information services.

From the more than 350 entries received, sixty award-winning shorts, features, and documentaries are being screened, representing indigenous media artists from Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, and the United States. The films deal with themes central to indigenous life in the twenty-first century — honor to elders and hope for youth, courageous community action, the survival of Native languages, and the everyday strugle for life and dignity in a profoundly changing world.

Subjects of the films range from young Apache skateboarders to the Chiapas massacre, from blood quantum rules to Indian boarding schools, from Navajo weavers to preserving the traditional umiaq skin boat. Several films recount the struggles — and the triumphs — of Asháninka, Guarani, Ayoreo, and other indigenous Amazonian peoples.

All festival programs are free. For details, take a look here.

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