Our First Nations Committee, of the Diocese of Olympia is presenting a Film Night as part of St. Mark’s Cathedral’s regular Friday Night Films, Nov. 12th. (For more details about the film and our committee see below.)
Most of the members of our group have seen the film and agreed that it is worth showing and reflecting on. When I asked Daren Chidester, (Blackfeet / Athabaskan) what he thought about the film, it was hard to figure out if he liked or not. Finally he something like…
D. – “It’s too good…it shows too much.” K. – Well, don’t you want other people to know these things? D. (…. no clear answer, but the hint is that, maybe not.)
“Sharing too much?” –
Different world views engage each other in the question above. One world view, i.e. my own Euro-American, overly educated perspective, assumes both that it is good to share as much as possible of one’s life and world view with others, that other people want to know these things, and that sharing such knowledge is good both for other people, as well as for those of us who share them. The other perspective in this little dialogue questions all three of those assumptions. Daren’s response acknowledges that the film has done a good job, perhaps too good a job of telling something of an experience that is his — fancy dancing and at times questioning the value of his experience in the face of “mainstream” practice.
One of the challenges set forth by the film, Daren’s response, my response, and other responses is that it may appear that any one of these responses is “definitive”, the only correct response, and or THE response for all First Nations people, or THE response for all others. None of these is the case.
We show this film in the hope that it will provide both entertainment, as well as the kind of learning that challenges and forms us into more thoughtful people. Our hope is that by watching and reflecting on this film we might take a small step towards contending with a painful past and present of injustice.
In his “convention address” our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel said of those who founded this Diocese 100 years ago: “Of course, they often thought they had arrived as the first people, and the first spiritual presence. We know they were wrong, and we still have that to contend with today, and we should.” The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, Convention Address, Oct 29th, 2010
Our goal for presenting this film is to work together toward reconciliation and healing among First Nations and others peoples in the PNW. Watching, reflecting on, and being transformed by films such as this one, and many others, is one of the ways to contend with our past mis-perceptions of the world and our place in it. In order for such reflection and transformation to occur we need to go beneath superficial observations of film, each other, and life around us. I.e. we need to learn how do what our bishop commended to us in that same address — to “launch into the deep of humanity.”
“―I say that we fear to launch out into the deep of humanity and instead, go all our lives long coasting along the shore of opportunity, privilege and power. Some day soon, the church will have to give an account. And I fear for it.”
That sounds more than a bit daunting, especially for an event that is cast as “entertainment”. This is Friday night and it is supposed to be “fun”! Well, this film is fun, funny and thought-provoking. These dimensions of imagination, creativity, playfulness and humor are some of the great gifts — along side of the popcorn which we will eat this night — to this Nation from our First Peoples.
In spite of what many of us have to come to think of as the “only” effective way to solve all problems, — direct, head-on attack — many of our First Peoples know that indirect approaches such as story telling, humor, subtlety, listening, and observation are actually more effective in addressing especially complicated problems, such as our need for contending with our past and present needs for reconciliation and learning how to “launch out into the deep of humanity.”
With an opportunity to hear the panel respond to the film you will be invited indirectly into the story, the humor, through listening and observation. You will hear very different responses to the film from various people, including the film maker Rick Stevenson, some FN people and others. (No one FN person speaks for “all Indians.”) One of the advantages of humor is to disarm our overly serious efforts, cause us to take a step back and laugh long enough so as to be able to see something more than we saw at first, on the surface. That is, then we might be able to peak into something of the depths of humanity, seeing beyond our own experience. This sort of initial glimpse into the depths of humanity may begin with simply noticing that some people do and see things differently — without having to choose or join either side.
We enter into such a deep when we ponder, Why do we share our traditions? What do we hope to gain by it? What does it mean to share too much of someone else’s traditions? or Why do we hesitate to share our traditions and hold them dearly, fearing their loss or destruction by others who do not treasure them as we do?
Join us on Friday Night.
What: a screening of Indie film EXPIRATION DATE, in celebration of Native
American Heritage Month, followed by a discussion, with local filmmaker Rick
Stevenson as guest
When: Nov. 12, 2010; 7:30 p.m.
Where: Bloedel Hall
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA 98102
Suggested Donation: $5
About Friday Film Night
FRIDAY FILM NIGHT aims to inform, to pique curiosity, to trigger
discovery as well as to inspire, in support of Church in the World Ministries Mission to work boldly for justice, reconciliation and peace among all people, to resist injustices perpetuated against the earth and its inhabitants and to engage the entire community of Saint Mark’s by creating awareness of and fostering responsibility for our impact on the world.
About First Nations Committee (Diocese of Olympia)
Since its inception in 1991, the mission of the First Nations Committee has
been to encourage an appreciation of the presence of peoples of the First
Nations, their spirituality and their ministry within the diocese of Olympia.
From 2004 onward, the committee has greatly increased the types of education
and liturgical resources within the diocese specific to First Nations.
The Diocese of Olympia is one of 100 dioceses in the 2.4 million-member
Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA). ECUSA
(www.episcopalchurch.org) is one of 38 provinces in the 77 million-member
Anglican Communion (www.anglicancommunion.org), which spans 164 countries
We are inclusive; we are growing and learning; we are stewards; we are
evangelists; we are on mission; and we are the church in the world. The servant
leadership style is one of consultation and collaboration, with ministry of
congregations our primary focus.
About the film Expiration Date (2006, NR, 94 minutes, USA)
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month: A special joint event with
First Nations Committee (Diocese of Olympia); Special guest Rick Stevenson,
film maker; Bloedel Hall
Death interrupted: a romance – Charlie Silvercould III carries around a family curse passed down from his grandfather; death by a milk truck on his 25th birthday. With eight days left, Charlie accepts his fate and starts taking care of his unfinished business, like watering his plants and returning his library books and so on. But while he’s out casket hunting, he meets a girl who just won’t let him die in peace. Rick Stevenson writes and directs this dark romantic comedy, which is set in Seattle Winner of 17 awards including American Indian Film Festival, Bluegrass Independent Film Festival, Durango Film Festival, Ojai Film Festival, Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival, Sedona Film Festival