Indigenous People's Day 2020: Shaping the Future: On Why Decolonizing Cultural, Political and Social Spaces is a Must for a Sustainable World

This session will explore issues of misrepresentation and misappropriation in media, cultural and educational institutions, and the myriad ways in which indigenous peoples around the world are fighting back to decolonize political and social spaces.

Moderated by S.M. Rodriguez, scholar-activist, and Assistant Professor of Sociology, Hofstra University


David Hernandez Palmar, (Wayuu, Iipuana Clan, Venezuela), Academic Director at Fundación Audiovisual Indígena Wayaakua, Political Advisor at CLACPI, and Programming Manager at Muestra Internacional de Cine Indígena de Venezuela
Manuel Rozental, Colombia, physician and veteran human rights activist, Co-founder of Pueblos en Camino
Colleen Thurston, (Choktaw), Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas School of Journalism and Strategic Media, Emmy Award-winning nonfiction media producer, educator, and film programmer
Elias Jade Not Afraid (Apsaalooké, Crow nation), traditional beadwork artist, Whitecone, Arizona.

Speaker Biographies:

David Hernández Palmar, (Wayuu, IIPUANA Clan, Venezuela), is a filmmaker, independent curator and film programmer with recognized experience in the Latin American region. He is also a photographer, journalist, researcher and producer of several audiovisual works that have portrayed the Wayuu world. He is a member of the Wayuu People Communications Network, Director of the Indigenous Audiovisual Foundation Wayaakua, Curator and Programmer of the Wayuu Film and Video Showcase and Programmer of the International Indigenous Film Showcase of Venezuela MICIV. He is the Political Advisor for Latin American Coordinator of Cinema and Communication of Indigenous Peoples, CLACPI. He has co-directed films such as: "Owners of The Water", "Wounmainkat". With the short film "The Foreign Body", World Premiere in competition at the Toronto International Film Festival TIFF and Winner of the First Prize at FICMAYAB (13th International Festival of Film and Communication of Indigenous Peoples), he began his career as a Film Producer.

Manuel Rozental is a veteran human rights and social justice activist, a physician, and community organizer who has worked for years with the Indigenous movement in Colombia, where he was one of the co-founders of el Tejijdo de Comunicación, a grassroots, internationally-recognized indigenous communication movement of the Pueblo Nasa, in the northern Cauca region of Colombia. He is one of the founders of the international website and movement Pueblos en Camino.




Colleen Thurston is an award-winning media producer and film programmer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Arkansas, where she teaches documentary studies and video production. Colleen holds a BA from the University of Arizona in Media Arts and Anthropology, and earned her Masters of Fine Arts from Montana State University's Science and Natural History Filmmaking program. Specializing in short form non-fiction production, her films tend to explore the relationships between humans and the natural world, and often focus on Indigenous stories and perspectives. Colleen has worked for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Smithsonian Channel and has produced and crewed documentaries for museums, public television stations and federal agencies. She also produced and directed short documentaries for four seasons of the Cherokee Nation’s series, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People,” earning two Emmy awards for her work as a producer and writer. In 2019, Colleen had two short documentaries on Native women "Speaking Through Generations" and "Chasing 14,000," on the film festival circuit. She is currently in production on her first feature length documentary, "Drowned Land," which deals with water rights issues in the Choctaw Nation. Currently a board member of the Fayetteville Film Festival, Colleen also curates film and storytelling events independently and in conjunction with partnering organizations. Colleen is a 2019-2021 Firelight Media Documentary Lab fellow, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation and a seventh generation Oklahoman.

Elias Jade Not Afraid (he/him) is 30 years old and a member of the Apsaalooké nation (Crow nation). He was born and raised on the Crow Indian reservation in Montana and taught himself to bead at the age of 12. He uses antique/vintage glass cut beads on smoked deer hide to create works of art from both sustainable and recycled materials. He has received multiple ribbons for his work at art markets. He has his work featured in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the Field museum and the Minneapolis institute of Art. He has also been in multiple publications including Vogue magazine. His main goal is to teach others about the materials that he uses as well as the history of anything related to Native American beadwork, including antique glass beads, various materials, and techniques. He posts tutorials about how to do beadwork and answers any questions other beaders might have. 


Indigenous People’s Day 2020: Join students, faculty and the community for an all-day exploration of the global indigenous movement and its centuries-long struggle for the defense of territory, culture, and the environment within the context of the many crises facing the planet.

This annual event is co-sponsored by the Center for Civic EngagementCenter for “Race,” Culture and Social JusticeHofstra University Honors CollegeLatin American and Caribbean StudiesOffice of Intercultural, Engagement and Inclusion, and the Hofstra Cultural Center.

Date: Monday, October 12, 2020

Panels include:

11:15-12:40 p.m.: Reclaiming the Past: Why Setting the Record Straight on Indigenous History and Colonialism is Necessary Today

12:50-2:30 p.m.: Confronting the Present: In Defense of Indigenous Territory Against Predatory Extraction

2:55-4:20 p.m.: Shaping the Future: On Why Decolonizing Cultural, Political and Social Spaces is a Must for a Sustainable World

Related Event:

Wednesday, October 14 @ 6:30 p.m.   “Never Forget” Talk Back: Dawnland

Advance registration is required; registrants will be sent a link prior to the event.

RSVP for Shaping the Future: On Why Decolonizing Cultural, Political and Social Spaces is a Must for a Sustainable World


In case you missed the live event, please see recording:

Indigenous People's Day 2020: Shaping the Future


Monday, October 12, 2020



Hofstra University Virtual Event
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549-1000


Hofstra Cultural Center

Phone: 516-463-5669

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