Free State Fest | ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak)
July 1 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
- This event has passed.
Directed by Schon Duncan and Michael McDermit
Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire St.)
RUN TIME: 1 hour 35 min
PRE-SHOW: Seed Warriors short film by Rebekka Schlicting (11 min)
POST-SHOW: Filmmaker Q&A, Refreshments by Jason, the Native Chef and music by Agalisiga “Chuj” Mackey
ABOUT THE FILM
The Cherokee language is deeply tied to Cherokee identity; yet generations of assimilation efforts by the U.S. government and anti-Indigenous stigmas have forced the Tri-Council of Cherokee tribes to declare a State of Emergency for the language in 2019. While there are 430,000 Cherokee citizens in the three federally recognized tribes, fewer than an estimated 2,000 fluent speakers remain—the majority of whom are elderly. The covid pandemic has unfortunately hastened the course. Language activists, artists, and the youth must now lead the charge of urgent radical revitalization efforts to help save the language from the brink of extinction.
ABOUT THE SHORT
A group of seed keepers work to regain food sovereignty in their ancestral homelands of Nebraska. By reclaiming their sacred corn seeds, they seek to return to the healthy, traditional lifeways of the Pawnee people.
ABOUT THE MUSIC
Agalisiga “Chuj” Mackey is a Cherokee guitarist/musician and singer/songwriter from the Cherokee Nation in Northeast Oklahoma. Chuj spent the early years of his life growing up on a creek bank in the small traditional Cherokee community of Kenwood, where his mother’s family settled after the forced removal of Cherokees from what is now North Carolina. Chuj then moved to Tahelquah, the Cherokee Nation capital, to become a language learner at the Cherokee Immersion Charter School. Chuj grew up participating in traditional ceremonies, ceremonial songs being the foundation of his voice which he carries with him as he creates more modern music. Chuj writes and sings original country-folk music in the Cherokee language and performs old country classics. He aims to inspire other Indigenous peoples to make art in their languages so he eventually won’t have to.