ICQ 2003/4



Celebrating Native Americans

Filmmaker Chris Eyre
Photo by Brooke Olson

Members of the College community had the chance to learn about historical and contemporary Native American cultures in November when the College hosted a series of Native American Month events. Guests included filmmaker Chris Eyre and artist Eli Thomas.

Eyre -- dubbed "the American Indian Spike Lee" by the Arizona Daily Star -- screened his film Skins. Set on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota reservation in South Dakota, Skins centers on two brothers, one a police officer and the other a jobless alcoholic. Using the harsh realities of reservation life as the background for his tale, Eyre shows the brothers trying to come to grips with their surroundings and each other. He made his directorial debut in 1998 with Smoke Signals, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to much critical acclaim. Eyre also directed Skinwalkers, a PBS American Mystery anthology series presentation based on a novel by Tony Hillerman.

Artist Eli Thomas and students at work on mural
Photo by Brooke Olson

Native American painter Thomas also came to campus as part of the series. Thomas, of the Onondaga Nation's Wolf clan, is renowned for his landscape paintings, which show the spirit of environmental elements. Students from different majors and disciplines worked with Thomas to design the content of Good Company, Good Mind, a collaborative mural project that is being displayed on a wall of the College library's fifth floor.



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A. Ozolins, Ithaca College Office of Publications, 30 April, 2004