NACF Fellow Participates in Australia’s BlakDance National Indigenous Dance Forum

We know that is necessary for indigenous artists to develop opportunities to network and build relationships within states, regions, nationally, and even internationally. Experiencing other Native cultures, practices, and ceremonies is important for learning about one another and gaining a deeper appreciation for the value of Native arts and cultures.

In that spirit, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation supported choreographer Rulan Tangen (Metis) and one Dancing Earth artist to attend Australia’s BlakDance National Indigenous Dance Forum at Yirramboi in May 2017. Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival is a citywide event gathering creative visionaries from across Australia and around the world. The festival features ten days packed with indigenous arts and cultural events that “honor the visions of yesterday and dreams forward into tomorrow.” Artists and creators presented indigenous ideas and perspectives through live performances discussions. As the founding Artistic Director and Choreographer for Dancing Earth Creations, a Santa Fe-based contemporary indigenous dance collective, Ms. Tangen represented indigenous contemporary dance of the United States, and engaged in deeper issues of global injustices that have adversely impacted indigenous arts.

She had this to say about her experience:

“Yirramboi was literally the other side of the world, a place in time where an entire city (Melbourne) was Indigenized – activated by songs, dances, theater, fashion, panel discussion, food created by global Indigenous creators. It gave me a vital vision of what could be. I arrived humbly, to listen and be of service, contributing where needed. At one of the summits that mentioned the huge opportunity coming forth about a transnational presenting partnerships between Canada, Australia, New Zealand as related colonizing governments with vast resources, I advocated for Indigenous peoples of the less wealthy countries, of US where our people are getting attacked for upholding treaties, of Guahan where there are no treaties and the US government is in possession of 3/4 of their land, of Guatemala where a peer has murdered for teaching traditional dances, of small Pacific Islands where the people are being asked to relocate because of the impending submersion of their land due to Climate Change – these are the artists who should not be excluded by another sweep of colonizing curation of arts. This was heard loud and clear with open hearts and helped me understand my reason for being there.”

NACF is proud to support artists like Ms. Tangen in their efforts to create connections and find opportunities with other artists. Supporting individual artists and giving them the resources needed to attend international events such as Yirramboi helps to build a global network of support for socially engaged Indigenous artists. Through this support, we can celebrate their work and help them achieve new heights through art.