Heritage Project Grant – WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North

Project: WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North
Grantee: Anchorage Museum Association
Story by: Jamie Newsom Eaton

WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North is a feature-length documentary film produced by the Anchorage Museum. It profiles the rising stars of Northern Indigenous hip-hop while exploring themes in their work which connect them across vast distances, such as: the challenges of decolonization, pride in self and traditional culture, deconstructing stereotypes, celebration of endangered Native languages, and spiritual connections to Northern homelands.

Audiences engaging with the film have shown enthusiasm and excitement to learn of the work that these artists are doing—most audiences understood that hip-hop is important to Indigenous youth in communities, but the film has been able to explore the traditions, identity and contemporary currents that stretch across Northern communities through hip-hop.

The completed film was screened at the Elders and Youth conference in October 2018, at the Anchorage International Film Festival (where it was a featured headlining work), at the Tromso Film Festival in Norway, and in Skabmagovat Indigenous Film Festival in Inari, Finland. The now completed film will continue to be screened at North x North 2019 in Anchorage, with discussion and performances by featured artists in the film, as well as the potential for additional film festivals in the Circumpolar North through 2019.

Additional screenings occurred at workshops in Soldotna and Eklutna, where film project team-member and TCF Recipient Aaron Leggett presented the film and held workshops with youth audiences to engage around discussions of Indigenous identity and contemporary expression.

More information and additional images and videos are available online at: https://www.anchoragemuseum.org/the-lab/projects/we-up/

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