An Indian with a Camera.

  1. "The Mechanics of Being NDN" examines the objectification of Indigenous representation in mainstream popular culture through an Indigenous lens. It is a literal representation of the "object" as objectification, in this piece a toy that perpetuates the stereotyped depiction of Native Americans for global mass consumption and consumption by American children. The construction of The Mechanics of Being NDN takes its cue from traditional cinematic western genre conventions, where Native Americans were depicted inaccurately and disparagingly.

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  2. This one minute piece examines the phenomenon of cultural appropriation. Using the 1970s cult film, "Billy Jack," I re-present a segment of the film where the character is "snake dancing, to become brother to the snake." This re-presentation makes reference to classical Italian artist, Bernini's sculpture, "The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa" in which it is said she is experiencing an orgasmic pleasure.

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  3. Shot on super 8mm film stock, this is the traditional Haudenosaunee wedding of my brother in 1998, the union of Snipe and Turtle clans. The film's structure is loosely based on the Haudenosaunee creation story, beginning in the Sky World, then descending downward to the Water World where we live upon the Turtle's back. Shot on the Onondaga Nation, 1998. Music: Robbie Robertson

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  4. This short video is a mathematical dissection exposing one of American Cinema's "directorial masters", D.W. Griffith as nothing more than a man absent virtue, imagination, or courage. A juxtaposed ten-second increment descends second-by-second down to a final one-second image from The Battle of Elderbush Gulch inter-cut with the ascension of a one-second image culminating into a final full ten-seconds of Powwow dancers. Contrary to Popular Belief addresses cinema's long history of racism towards, misrepresentations and inaccurate depictions of Native Americans, something D.W. Griffith perpetuated throughout his life, although not solely encompassing Native Americans.

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  5. In a similar fashion to filmmaker Martin Arnold and his sub-textual deconstructions of films, I appropriate Dances With Wolves to deconstruct Kevin Costner's solo reenactment/interpretation of Native dance. Through a frame-by-frame approach in various parts of this scene, I reconstruct Costner's ridiculous desire to become Native by repeating certain movements, calling attention to the absurdity of his actions as a filmmaker following the audacity and arrogance of many non-Native people's desire to co-opt another culture. The co-optation of another culture is, in this instance particularly, for the sole benefit of profit and not accurate portrayals of Native culture. This film also explores the popular theory that engages white people's desire to become that which they've destroyed and which they feel nostalgia for. The title of the film comes from two Jim Jarmusch films, Dead Man and Ghost Dog, which are lines delivered by Native actor Gary Farmer's character, Nobody. I utilize Modest Mouse's, Cowboy Dan as a contemporary song befitting this commentary.

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An Indian with a Camera.

torry mendoza PRO

An Indian with a Camera contains a variety of serious, satirical, witty, and humorous films and videos that deal with issues of Indigenity in American popular culture.

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    Please, tell me what you think. Did you like something, dislike something? Let me know, it's much appreciated. Nyaweñ:ha

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