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Arts & Culture

Shining Mountains Film Festival brings a celebration of Native American life and culture to Aspen

Aspen Indigenous Film Fest_EB 2019 homepage.jpg
Eleanor Bennett
Aspen Public Radio
The creators of the documentary "Blood Memory" answer questions from people attending the Aspen Indigenous Foundation’s Shining Mountains Film Festival in 2019. "Blood Memory" tells the story of the Indian adoption era in the United States. This year’s festival takes place at the Wheeler Opera House on Saturday and Sunday.

After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the Aspen Indigenous Foundation is bringing its fourth annual film festival back to the Wheeler Opera House. This weekend’s Shining Mountains Film Festival features 10 films celebrating Native American life and culture.

The stories delve into everything from the Indigenous women who risked their lives to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, to the return of a bareback horse-racing tradition in a new form: Indian relay racing.

“Some of the most beautiful people in the world have come through atrocities,” said Buffalo Child, the Aspen Indigenous Foundation’s special event and cultural coordinator. “When I look at these films, there are some great leaders and some amazing stories.”

Buffalo Child, who helped to put the festival together, is an educator, filmmaker and actor who has been in many movies, including "Dances With Wolves," the 1990 epic Western starring Kevin Costner.

Aspen Public Radio reporter Eleanor Bennett recently sat down with Buffalo Child to talk about this year’s film festival and his role in shaping it.

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