Raquel “Kelly” Redshirt is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico and is a member of the Navajo tribe. She believes a broken system exists in her homeland where many still do not have easy access to cooking fuel or alternative solutions. Redshirt has answered the call for change through a homemade solar oven project she began in seventh grade. Now an environmental engineering student at the University of Oklahoma, she plans to eventually return to the Navajo Nation where she can use her knowledge to create a brighter, greener future for her people.
Sydney Freeland is a Native American and Transgender filmmaker. Her debut feature film, Drunktown’s Finest, explored the Navajo reservation where she grew up and the impact of gender, race, and culture within the community. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win both the Grand Jury Prize and HBO Outstanding First Feature awards at LA Outfest 2014. Freeland was also a participant in the Sundance Screenwriter’s and Director’s Labs, and is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.
People of the Hemp, Part 1: Losing Land, Culture, Tradition
The way Tracy Johnson tells it, the plateau of land overlooking Niagara Falls and nestled among the Finger Lakes of northwestern New York once was covered in fields of hemp. The natural herb, interspersed with rows of corn, was evidence of centuries of inhabitation by the Tuscarora, now a dwindling tribe on a tiny sliver of land.