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Augsburg Professor Eric Buffalohead Discusses Native Americans in Film With ICT

In a recent newscast, ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) interviewed Augsburg University Associate Professor Eric Buffalohead about persistent stereotypes of Native Americans in film. Buffalohead chairs the Department of American Indian, First Nations, and Indigenous Studies and is the co-editor, with Professor Elise Marubbio, of the book “Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory.”

“I’ve been teaching “American Indian in the Cinema” for going on 30 years, and people have asked me, what’s the solution to some of these problems?” said Buffalohead. “And it’s contemporary representations. The big theme that you walk away from my course with is that most of our images are stuck in time, meaning that they’re somewhere in the past. People don’t see us as contemporary—they see us as these images in the old West and very much stereotypes of plains or southwest Indians. They don’t see the real diversity of Indigenous people in the Americas.”

The conversation with anchor Aliyah Chavez also touched on expanding representations in television through shows like “Rutherford Falls” and “Reservation Dogs,” translation of major films into the Navajo and Comanche languages, and Professor Marubbio’s work on representations of Native women in film. Find the full interview in the ICT newscast archive (segment begins at 6:15).

Elise Marubbio discusses on-screen portrayal of American Indians

Elise Marubbio, associate professor of American Indian Studies, shed light on the history of American Indians in film in the wake of a social media frenzy regarding a group of American Indian actors who walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie due to its portrayal of faulty stereotypes. Marubbio’s doctoral work in Cultural Studies focused on the issues of race in film and media, with particular attention to the representation of Native Americans in American popular culture and Hollywood cinema.

In the article, “Adam Sandler movie flap sparks debate over American Indian roles in media,” Marubbio explained that tribes of the Great Plains often are portrayed living in Monument Valley – the legendary site of many John Wayne-John Ford movies, which is located on the Arizona-Colorado border, largely on the Navajo reservation.

Visit the Capital Journal website to learn more.

Augsburg College community celebrates alumna’s film debut

Courtesy image

Kuoth Wiel ’13 visits Twin Cities for advance screening of ‘The Good Lie’

Augsburg alumna Kuoth Wiel ’13 finished the final semester of her undergraduate education from afar, trading the College’s Minneapolis campus for film sets in Georgia and South Africa. Wiel is featured in a supporting role in “The Good Lie,” a drama about refugees from Sudan learning to navigate life in the United States with the help of a character played by Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon.

Wiel, a psychology major with Sudanese heritage, has been touring to promote “The Good Lie” since the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in early September. She will introduce the Twin Cities’ first screening of “The Good Lie” on October 14, and the Augsburg College community has been invited to take part in the event. Auggies also can acquire free tickets to an advance screening on October 16.

Ticket information is posted in the October 10 edition of Augsburg’s Daily A-mail.

To learn more about the film, visit

Photography workshop teaches more than camera skills

centroWith her second grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Susan Boecher [top], Art Department faculty member, taught a six-week photography workshop that partnered OverExposure, a media arts nonprofit, Augsburg College and Centro, an area social service organization.

Four Augsburg photography students served as OverExposure mentors to help teach black and white photography to 11 teens from Raices/Roots, a youth development program for high-risk Latino youth offered through Centro.

Meeting at Augsburg twice weekly from July 5 to August 11, students learned the technical and artistic skills required to properly expose, develop, and print black and white film and the vocabulary needed to articulate and write a statement of their completed work. Using themes of identity, culture, and places as assignments, students created a portfolio of prints that was presented at Centro on August 12, 2011. Continue reading “Photography workshop teaches more than camera skills”

From film lab to Uptown Theatre

ben_katz On Friday, Aug. 22 at the Uptown Theatre, film alumnus Ben Katz ’08 (pictured left, red circle) will be screening “Bits,” an independent film about an awkward inventor who spends his days and nights obsessing over a mysterious project. Katz produced the film, and it stars Augsburg alumni Linnea Mohn ’04, Philip Mershon ’06, and Nancy Waldoch ’06.

Though Ben did not start out studying film at Augsburg (his first major was psychology), his first filmmaking course showed him that all he wanted to do was make films. “I realized that [making films] made me happy, and I would not be happy unless I was making films.” Continue reading “From film lab to Uptown Theatre”

WWII through film and literature

WWII_trip Last month, history professor Jacqui deVries and English/film professor Bob Cowgill led a group of 20 Augsburg students through Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Using literature, film, architecture, and eyewitness accounts, students explored the aftermath of World War II to understand how people made sense of their suffering and now pay homage to the past.

The idea for the trip began when deVries joined a Lilly grant-sponsored trip in Europe to study Martin Luther and the Reformation. There she met tour director Andreas Brecht, and the two discovered a common interest in post-World War II history. Continue reading “WWII through film and literature”

Film Minor Finds Major Success

Critics described the film as “a brilliant example of how good band documentaries can be” (Classic Rock) and “a truly vibrant and exciting slice of virtuoso filmmaking” (Record Collector). The rockumentary The Fearless Freaks, 2006 recipient of the Mojo Vision Award, was a film editor’s biggest challenge–it required 400 hours of footage following rock band The Flaming Lips spanning over 30 years to be edited into a 90 minute film.

Augsburg graduate and film minor JoLynn Garnes ’02 was up for the challenge.

At Augsburg, JoLynn studied studio art and film before film was a major. She got to know 16mm film teacher Phil Harder very well, who is also a well-known music video director. This relationship would prove integral to JoLynn’s future projects. Continue reading “Film Minor Finds Major Success”