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Filmmaker examines what it means to be indigenous

Filmmaker examines what it means to be indigenous

What does it mean to be indigenous? What do the history books of today leave out? Writer, photographer and filmmaker Tracy Kim Assing explores these questions and more in her first documentary film, The Amerindians.

The 40-minute film will screen Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 12:30 to 2pm, in the Nat Taylor Cinema, N102 Ross Building, Keele campus.

Right: Tracy Kim Assing

Assing will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions. The film is a personal exploration of her roots in Arima, Trinidad. Through the film, she examines Trinidad’s indigenous history and the inner workings of the organization which represents these indigenous descendants - The Santa Rosa Carib Community, whose queen, Valentina Medina, is Assing’s great aunt. The community is the only recognized group representing indigenous descendants in Trinidad and Tobago.

The film explores how the story of indigenous people has been recorded, as well as the structure of the Santa Rosa Carib Community, its politics and its beliefs. The future seems uncertain and the Santa Rosa Carib Community may soon have to find a new Queen, but what does it mean to be the Queen? What does it mean to be Carib in Trinidad?

Until now, Amerindian descendants have depended on the stories of their grandparents and great-grandparents for their history, while the indigenous story of survival has been written out of the history books.

Assing’s work on indigenous culture has been published in the Caribbean Review of Books and Caribbean Beat magazine, where she has also served as a contributing editor. She is currently contributing editor for ARC: Art.Recognition.Culture. magazine.

The Amerindians premiered at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2010. It is being presented by the Centre for Research on Latin America & the Caribbean, Aboriginal/Indigenous Studies, the Department of Humanities, Latin American & Caribbean Studies at York University and the Department of Social Science.

For more information, visit the CERLAC website.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.