MetroFocus

FULL EPISODE

MetroFocus: October 11, 2021

We sit down with Edgar Villanueva, a globally recognized author and indigenous activist who recently launched #Case4Reparations, an initiative to support indigenous and black grantees working on policy efforts that return wealth to impacted communities. Also, Indigi-queer Grammy award-winning interdisciplinary artist Ty Defoe joins us for a sneak peek at tonight’s “We Will Always Be Here” program.

AIRED: October 11, 2021 | 0:28:19
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>>> THIS IS "METROFOCUS" WITH

RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND

JENNA FLANAGAN.

"METROFOCUS" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY

SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM,

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO

A SPECIAL EDITION OF

"METROFOCUS," INDIGENOUS VOICES.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

TONIGHT, WE'LL BE TALKING TO TWO

INDIVIDUALS WHO EACH IN THEIR

OWN WAY ARE CREATING NEW

NARRATIVES IN THE SPACE OF

INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND IDENTITY.

FIRST, WE'LL TALK TO EDGAR

VILLANUEVA.

HE IS AN AUTHOR AND THOUGHT

LEADER WHOSE BOOK HAS LAUNCHED A

FRESH DISCUSSION ABOUT THE

FUNDAMENTAL ROLE OF COLONIALISM

IN THE WORLDS OF PHILANTHROPY

AND FINANCE.

THENEN, WE'LL HEAR FROM TY

DEFOE.

TY'S WORK EXPLORES THE

INTERSECTION OF COLONIALISM,

SOCIAL JUSTICE, GENDER IDENTITY

AND ENVIRONMENTALISM.

THIS IS PART OF OUR "CHASING THE

DREAM" INITIATIVE, REPORTING ON

POVERTY, JUSTICE AND ECONOMIC

OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA.

SO, LET'S GET STARTED WITH OUR

FIRST GUEST.

EDGARDV

ED GLAR EDGAR VILLANUEVA IS THE

AUTHOR OF "DECOLONIZING WEALTH."

IT IS NOW IN ITS SECOND EDITION.

EDGAR, WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANK YOU, IT'S AN HONOR TO

BE HERE.

>> OH, WELL THANK YOU FOR

JOINING US.

SO, FIRST, I JUST WANT TO START

WITH THE NOTION, THE TITLE

ALONE.

WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT THE CONCEPT

OF DECOLONIZATION.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN SPECIFICALLY

IN YOUR VIEW?

>> WELL, TO UNDERSTAND

DECOLONIZATION YOU HAVE TO FIRST

UNDERSTAND COLONIZATION, BECAUSE

DECOLON NATION IS THE PROCESS OF

UNDOING THAT.

>> OKAY.

>> RIGHT, AND WE'RE OFTEN KIND

OF FAMILIAR WITH THE CONCEPT

BECAUSE WE WERE ALL TAUGHT ABOUT

COLONIZATION IN SCHOOL, BUT THE

PROBLEM IS, WE WERE TOLD A VERY

ROMANTICIZED KIND OF VERSION OF

COLONIZATION AND WE ARE TAUGHT

ABOUT COLONIZERS, YOU KNOW, IN

THE SENSE THAT THEY'RE HEROES,

THAT THEY CAME TO THIS LAND,

THEY DISCOVERED THIS, THAT AND

THE THIRD.

THE TRUTH IS, COLONIZATION IS A

FORCE AND IT'S A VERY VIOLENT

FORCE AND I THINK OF IT AS A

VIRUS, ACTUALLY, THAT TOUCHED

THE SHORES OF THIS COUNTRY 500

YEARS AGO AND IT IS -- HAS

CREATED SEPARATION, DIVISION,

TRAUMA, IT CREATES THE US VERSUS

THEM.

IT'S ABOUT EXTRACTING AND

HOARDING RESOURCES AND FORCING

ANY BEING THAT IS OTHER TO

BECOME LIKE IT.

AND THIS IS AN EXPERIENCE THAT

WE HAVE BEEN SEEING IN THE U.S.

FOR 500 YEARS AND LONGER AROUND

THE WORLD.

SO, DECOLONIZATION IS A PROCESS

OF SAYING, HEY, THIS HINGE HAS

BEEN HAPPENING.

IT HAS CAUSED ALL THIS TRAUMA,

WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO HEAL

FROM THAT OR TO REPAIR FROM

THAT?

>> THAT IS A MOUTHFUL.

AND -- I WONDER, BECAUSE I WANT

YOU TO TALK ABOUT YOUR BOOK, BUT

I'M WONDERING FOR AUDIENCES, HOW

MUCH OF TALKING ABOUT YOUR BOOK

INVOLVES HAVING TO SORT OF GIVE

A HISTORY LESSON?

>> SO MUCH.

I FEEL LIKE MOST OF MY DAYS ARE

SPENT TEACHING HISTORY.

I SHOULD GET A DEGREE IN

AMERICAN HISTORY, BECAUSE I AM

LITERAL LLY RIGHTING A WRONG AN

HELPING FOLKS UNDERSTAND THAT

WHAT WE WERE TAUGHT IS NOT AM

RAT.

AND WHEN IT COMES TO THIS BASE

OF MONEY, WHICH IS WHERE I WORK,

OUR ENTIRE ECONOMIC SYSTEM IN

THIS COUNTRY IS CONNECTED BACK

TO HISTORY AND WHETHER YOU ARE

IN THE SPACE OF EDUCATION OR YOU

ARE WORKING ON OTHER TYPES OF

SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD,

YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THE

HISTORY OF MONEY AND ITS

CONNECTION TO COLONIZATION

FIRST, BEFORE WE CAN REALLY MOVE

FORWARD WITH ANY SOLUTION.

EVERYTHING THAT IS BROKEN IN OUR

COMMUNITIES TODAY HAS A ROOT

BACK TO THE WAY THAT WEALTH HAS

BEEN EXTRACTED AND THIS HISTORY

OF COLONIZATION THAT WE MUST ALL

UNDERSTAND.

SO, THAT'S LITERALLY HOW I SPEND

MY TIME.

THERE'S A WHOLE SECTION IN THE

BOOK THAT'S A PRIMER ON

COLONIZATION, WHICH IS IMPORTANT

FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE

THEY GET INTO THE DEEPER END OF

THE POOL.

>> OKAY, TELL US A LITTLE BIT

MORE ABOUT YOUR BOOK.

>> SO, YOU KNOW, I GO TO THE

TOPIC OF MONEY.

I'M A PERSON THAT HAS WORKED IN

THE SECTOR FOR 20 YEARS, SO,

I'VE WORKED IN AND AROUND, LIKE,

LOTS OF WEALTH AND I'M

INDIGENOUS AND AT A CERTAIN

POINT IN TIME I REALIZED THERE

WERE A LOT OF CONTRADICTIONS, AS

A PERSON WHO DID NOT COME FROM

WEALTH, THAT'S WORKING IN THE

SPACE THAT HAS THE ILLUSION OF

CHARITY AND OF DOING GOOD.

I HAD TO REALLY COME TO TERMS

WITH THAT THERE'S CONTRADICTIONS

AND UNDERSTAND THAT EVEN IN THE

SPACE OF CHARITY, THERE'S A

HISTORY OF TRAUMA CONNECTED TO

MONEY.

YOU KNOW, OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM IN

THE UNITED STATES WAS BUILT OFF

OF THE SLAVE TRADE.

THE WEALTH THAT WE HAVE AS THE

RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD IS

SO LARGELY BECAUSE THAT WEALTH

WAS EXTRACTED AND LAND WAS TAKEN

FROM NATIVE AMERICANS.

AND SO, AS WE IN FINANCE ENJOY

THIS BOUNTY OF WEALTH THAT WE

SPRINKLE AROUND THE NONPROFITS,

WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THAT

MONEY CAME FROM AND THERE'S A

HISTORY BEHIND IT.

SO, THAT -- THAT'S A BIG PART OF

THE BOOK IS HELPING FOLKS

UNDERSTAND THAT THE ACCUMULATION

OF WEALTH IN THIS COUNTRY HAS

RESULTED IN TRAUMA AND IT IS UP

TO US TO OWN THAT AND TO ADDRESS

THAT.

>> NOW, DOES YOUR BOOK GET

INTO -- BECAUSE SOMETIMES WHEN

PEOPLE HEAR, YOU KNOW, TRAUMA IS

INVOLVED, THEY MIGHT SAY, BUT

THOSE ARE PAST TRAUMAS, THOSE

ARE -- THAT'S THE PAST THAT

YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

SO, DOES YOUR BOOK TALK ABOUT

HOW TRAUMA -- OR DOES IT ADDRESS

TRAUMA THAT EXISTS IN THE HERE

AND NOW?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

IT IS, YOU KNOW, WHEN I TALK

ABOUT COLONIZATION, I DON'T JUST

TALK ABOUT IT IN THE HISTORICAL

CON

CONTEXT.

COLONIZATION IS STILL HAPPENING.

IN THIS COUNTRY, WE ARE STILL

SEPARATING CHILDREN FROM THEIR

FAMILIES, RIGHT?

THE TRAUMA IS VERY RECENT.

WE ARE HEARING IN THE NEWS DAILY

ABOUT THE BODIES OF CHILDREN

BEING FOUND IN BOARDING SCHOOLS

THAT CLOSED DOWN IN THE '80s.

THIS IS A VERY HARMFUL,

TRAUMATIC PROCESS FOR MY

COMMUNITY WHOSE GRANDPARENTS

WERE TAKEN AWAY AND SENT TO

INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOLS THROUGH

A PROCESS THAT WAS ORDAINED BY

THE CHURCH AND BY THE FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT.

SO, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT JUST

WHAT HAPPENED 500 YEARS AGO.

THIS IS A VIOLENT FORCE OF

EXTRACTION, DOMINATION AND

OPPRESSION THAT IS VERY MUCH

ALIVE AND WELL TODAY AND

CONTINUES TO HARM US.

WE'VE GOTTEN SO ACCUSTOMED TO

IT, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE'VE

EVER KNOWN.

WE'VE ONLY KNOWN A SOCIETY THAT

IS FULL OF EXTRACTION AND

DOMINATION AND SO THIS IS WHY,

AT NIGHT, WE SLEEP VERY SOUNDLY

WHILE DOWN THE STREET, CHILDREN

ARE IN CAGES AND DIFFERENT TYPES

OF CAMPS.

THIS HAPPENS ALL AROUND US.

SO, IT IS REALLY ABOUT

UNDERSTANDING THAT, YES, WE'RE

TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING FROM THE

PAST THAT CAN INFORM OUR

PRESENT, BUT THIS IS VERY MUCH

STILL A VIOLENT ACT OF

OPPRESSION AND FORCES AT PLAY

RIGHT NOW THAT IS TEARING OUR

COUNTRY APART.

>> SO THEN, HOW DO YOU REIMAGINE

THIS SOCIETY, THE ONE THAT WE'VE

ONLY KNOWN AND ADDRESS OR

ATTEMPT TO PROVIDE, AS YOUR BOOK

DESCRIBES, I WANT TO MAKE SURE I

GET THIS RIGHT, BALANCE, THERE

WE GO.

HOW DO YOU BEGIN TO CREATE THE

IDEAS THAT COULD CREATE BALANCE

IN OUR SOCIETY?

>> WHAT I'M ADVOCATING FOR IS

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION.

AT A FEDERAL LEVEL, AT A GLOBAL

LEVEL AND THEN ABSOLUTELY WE CAN

TALK ABOUT TRUTH AND

RECONCILIATION AT AN

INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL.

WE AS A NATION, BEING AS

ENLIGHTENED AS WE ARE IN SO MANY

WAYS, WE'RE THE ONLY NATION THAT

HAS NOT HAD A PROCESS OF TRUTH

AND RECONCILIATION TO ATONE FOR

THE ATROCITIES THAT HAVE BEEN

COMMITTED AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE

AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE BY THE

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

WE'VE NEVER HAD AN OFFICIAL

APOLOGY FROM CONGRESS FOR

SLAVERY.

WE'VE NEVER HAD AN APOLOGY OR

PROCESS OF TRUTH AND

RECONCILIATION FOR EVERY SINGLE

BROKEN TREATY THAT HAS -- THAT

HAS HAPPENED.

AND SO, WHAT WE DO IN THE U.S.,

INSTEAD, WE WANT TO REWRITE

HISTORY, WANT TO PRETEND IT

DIDN'T HAPPEN.

MORE THAN HALF OF THE STATES IN

THIS UNION DO NOT EVEN MENTION

NATIVE AMERICANS IN K-12 HISTORY

CURRICULUM, RIGHT?

THERE'S AN ACTIVE REWRITING AND

ERASURE OF HISTORY, VERSUS

COMING TO TERMS WITH OUR

HISTORY.

WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO IS

EDUCATE OURSELVES ABOUT WHAT HAS

HAPPENED AND WHAT'S BROKEN IN

THIS COUNTRY AND ADVOCATE FOR A

NATIONAL TRUTH AND HEALING

PROCESS SO THAT WE CAN ONCE AND

FOR ALL COME TOGETHER AND

ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HISTORY OF

WHITE SUPREMACY HAS NOT ONLY

HARMED MY COMMUNITY OR THE BLACK

COMMUNITY, IT'S HARMING ALL OF

US AND IT'S REALLY IMPAIRING OUR

ABILITY AS A SOCIETY TO MOVE

FORWARD AND TO HAVE RACIAL

HEALING.

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, I WANT TO

PROBE A LITTLE BIT DEEPER INTO

THE IDEA OF TRUTH AND

RECONCILIATION, I BELIEVE IS HOW

YOU PUT IT, AND I WANT TO GO

DEEPER INTO THAT, BECAUSE AFTER

THE SUMMER OF 2020 IN THE WAKE

OF THE, YOU NKNOW, BLACK LIVES

MATTER MOVEMENT, WHICH IS

CONNECTED AND NOT ENTIRELY

SEPARATE FROM THE INDIGENOUS

MOVEMENT, BUT THERE SEEMED TO BE

SOME SORT OF EFFORT TO PERHAPS

MAYBE BEGIN TO ADDRESS SOME OF

THESE ISSUES BUT FOR A LOT OF

PEOPLE OF COLOR ACROSS THE BOARD

AND THIS IS FROM STORIES THAT

WE'VE DONE INVOLVING ASIAN HATE

AND THE WAY THOSE COMMUNITIES

HAVE BEEN TREATED IN AMERICA AND

OF COURSE AND THE

AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY AND

INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY, DOES THIS

AMOUNT TO NOTHING MORE THAN JUST

"SORRY"?

IT CAN FEEL EMPTY TO PEOPLE.

WHAT EXACTLY DOES THIS

RECONCILIATION MEAN,

PARTICULARLY WHEN IT COMES TO

PHILANTHROPY AND FINANCE?

>> YOU KNOW, PART OF TRUTH AND

RECONCILIATION IS ACTUALLY NOT

JUST SAYING I'M SORRY BUT REALLY

LISTENING TO WHAT WE AS PEOPLE

OF COLOR SAY WE WANT AND NEED TO

HEAL AND THEN PROVIDING THAT.

AND SO, IN ADDITION TO TRUTH AND

RECONCILIATION, WE NEED TO

CONSIDER THE PETITION FOR

REPARATIONS FOR BLACK AMERICANS,

WHICH WE ARE A MAJOR SUPPORTER

OF AT MY ORGANIZATION.

WE NEED TO LISTEN TO WHAT

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE DEMANDING

IN ORDER FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD

AND TO BE WELL AND TO HAVE THE

ABILITY TO THRIVE IN OUR

COMMUNITIES.

AND SO IT'S BOTH AN ACT OF

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, AN ACT OF

APOLOGY, BUT ALSO AN ACT TO

RECONCILIATION, WHICH MEANS THAT

WE RIGHT THE WRONG.

AND SO, WE HAVE TO REPAIR AND

REPAIR FOR ME LOOKS LIKE

REPARATIONS AND THE APPRECIATION

FOR THE SELF-DETERMINATION OF

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN THIS

COUNTRY.

>> AND THE WORD REPARATIONS IS

SOMETHING THAT I THINK HAS BEEN

BANTERED ABOUT QUITE A BIT, BUT

PERHAPS NOT WITH -- MAYBE NOT

WITHOUT FULL UNDERSTANDING OR

WITH ALMOST EACH GROUP OF EACH

INDIVIDUAL HAVING THEIR OWN

INTERPRETATION OF WHAT THAT

MEANS.

SO, WHEN IT COMES TO INDIGENOUS

COMMUNITIES, WHAT DOES

REPARATIONS ACTUALLY LOOK LIKE?

>> FOR INDIGENOUS FOLKS, OUR

DEMANDS VARY, BECAUSE WE HAVE

574-PLUS SOVEREIGN NATIONS IN

THIS COUNTRY, BUT IN GENERAL,

THEY, YOU KNOW, I'M A PERSON WHO

SUPPORTS FINANCIAL PAYMENT FOR

REPARATIONS, YOU KNOW, I'M

ADVOCATING FOR THAT FIRST FOR

BLACK AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN

ADVOCATING FOR THAT FOR A LONG

TIME.

I DO THINK THAT SOME TIME OF

PAYOUT IS REQUIRED AND SHOULD BE

GIVEN ALSO TO INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

HERE.

BUT BEYOND MONEY, A LOT OF THE

DEMANDS THAT YOU SEE COMING FROM

OUR COMMUNITY ARE AROUND LAND.

WE'RE VERY CONNECTED TO LAND AND

THE DISPLACEMENT OF OUR FOLKS

THROUGH FORCED REMOVALS THROUGH

THE LAST FEW HUNDRED YEARS HAS

REALLY BEEN TRAUMATIC FOR OUR

PEOPLE, SO I THINK RETURNING

LAND TO OUR COMMUNITIES IS A

MAJOR DEMAND.

YOU'LL HEAR THESE #LANDBACK

CAMPAIGNS THAT ARE HAPPENING ALL

ACROSS THE COUNTRY RIGHT NOW.

WE ARE ALSO ASKING FOR RESPECT

AS SOVEREIGN NATIONS TO BE

TREATED IN A GOVERNMENT TO

GOVERNMENT TYPE OF RELATIONSHIP

WITH THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

WHO CONTINUES TO VIOLATE THOSE

UNDERSTANDINGS AND THOSE

TREATIES THAT ARE IN PLACE.

WE HAVE BEEN PUT AS A PEOPLE TO

BE UNDER STHE FEDERAL GOVERNMEN

TO THE EXTENT OUR TRIBES ARE NOT

OFFICIAL UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT

SAYS SO.

WE HAVE TO PROVE OURSELVES TO

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT IN ORDER TO

EVEN BE ELIGIBLE TO BE IN THOSE

TYPES OF RELATIONSHIPS.

SO, WE HAVE TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY,

THERE'S SO MUCH AT STAKE THAT

CONTINUES TO DENY OUR EXISTENCE

AND TO PUT US UNDER THE FOOT OF

THE U.S. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND

THESE, YOU KNOW, DECADES AND

DECADES OF OPPRESSIONS ARE

REALLY RESULTING IN VERY HARMFUL

IMPACTS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE HIGH RATES

OF SUICIDE.

IMAGINE BEING A YOUNG PERSON

FIGHTING FOR YOUR IDENTITY IN A

COUNTRY WHO SAYS YOU'RE NOT

NATIVE AMERICAN UNLESS THE U.S.

GOVERNMENT SAYS YOU ARE.

SO, THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT WE

WANT.

WE WANT TO BE -- WE WANT

PROTECTIONS FOR OUR COMMUNITIES

AND, YOU KNOW, RESPECT FOR OUR

TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY AND WE WANT

CONSULTATION, GOVERNMENT TO

GOVERNMENT, BEFORE YOU BUILD

PIPELINES THROUGH OUR

COMMUNITIES, THOSE TYPES OF

THINGS.

SO, WE CONTINUE TO BE TREATED AS

A DIFFERENT CLASS OF CITIZEN IN

THIS COUNTRY AND CONTINUE TO BE

DISRESPECTED BY THE U.S. FEDERAL

GOVERNMENT.

SO THOSE ARE JUST A FEW THINGS

THAT WE'RE LOOKING TO CHANGE.

>> OKAY.

>> YEAH.

>> ALL RIGHT, WELL, FOR

EVERYONE, JUST A QUICK REMINDER,

THE BOOK IS "DECOLON NIZING

WEALTH."

THE AUTHOR WE'VE BEEN SPEAKING

TO, EDGAR VILLANUEVA IS THE

PRINCIPLE OF THE DECOLONIZING

WEALTH PROJECT AND LIBERATED

CAPITAL.

SO, EDGAR, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING US AND COMING UP, WE'LL

TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THE

ISSUES FROM A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT

LENS.

MY GUEST WILL BE THE

GROUNDBREAKING INDIGI-QUEER

ARTIST TY DEFOE.

THAT'S NEXT.

>>> THE CIRCLE IS A WEB.

LIKE A SPIDER WEAVING SILK.

SACRED SECONDS OF MEMORIES THAT

UNFOLD MOMENTS OF HISTORIES.

LIKE LANGUAGE DISAPPEARING ON

TONGUES.

OR RITUAL SITES BURNING.

SMOKE COLLECTED.

THE SPINNING AROUND AND AROUND

TO RECLAIM SACRED GEOMETRY AND

PEACE INSIDE THE TAPESTRY.

THE CIRCLE IS BELIEF OCCURRING

IN A SERIES OF MOMENTS, ECHOING

ACROSS TURTLE ISLAND, IN A

KALEIDOSCOPE OF PATTERNS.

CYCLES OF NATURAL ROTATION TO

THE BEAT OF THE DRUM, REVIVING

THE BREATH OF LIFE TO THOSE WHO

STOP BREATHING TOO SOON.

THE CIRCLE IS PEACE.

THERE IS PEACE IN THIS CIRCLE.

WE ARE THE CIRCLE.

>>> THAT WAS A SHORT CLIP FROM

"CIRCLE" BY TY DEFOE.

HE'S AN AWARD-WINNING ACTOR,

COMPOSER, CHOREOGRAPHER, DANCER

AND STORYTELLER.

TY'S WORK INTERWEAVES IDEAS OF

SOCIAL JUSTICE, GENDER AND

ENVIRONMENTALISM AND CHALLENGES

STEREOTYPES ABOUT INDIGENOUS

PEOPLE AND THEIR COMMUNITIES.

TY, WELCOME TO "METROFOCUS."

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE.

>> SO, FIRST, I JUST WANT TO

SAY, I GAVE THIS SORT OF LONG

TITLE DESCRIPTION DESCRIBING

YOUR WORK, BUT I'D LIKE TO HEAR

FROM YOU.

WHO ARE YOU AS AN ARTIST AND

ALSO AN INDIVIDUAL, BUT HOW DO

YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?

>> LOVE THESE BIG QUESTIONS.

WHO ARE YOU?

ISN'T THAT RIGHT?

SO, I'LL SAY -- SO, I SAID

HELLO, GREETINGGREETINGS.

MY NAME IS TY DEFOE.

I'M FROM THE ONEIDA TRIBAL

NATION AND I CURRENTLY RESIDE IN

HIPSTER BROOKLYN.

AND JUST GIVING THANKS TO ALL OF

THE DIRECTIONS THAT BROUGHT ME

TO MAKE THE ART THAT I DO AND I

PRIMARILY IDENTIFY AS A

SHAPE-SHIFTING, WORKING AT MANY

INTERSECTIONS OF THEATER, SONG,

DANCE AND STORYTELLING AND MOST

ALWAYS COMMONLY AMPLIFYING THE

VOICES OF NATIVE INDIGENOUS

PEOPLE AND IN PARTICULAR,

GLITTERIZING VARIOUS FORMS OF

THIS, YOU KNOW, ECO-JUSTICE AND

LIBERATION FOR ALL PEOPLE.

>> OKAY, SO, THEN TELL ME A

LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT

SHAPE-SHIFTING, BECAUSE WE'VE

TALKED ABOUT THIS IN DEPTH ON

"METROFOCUS" THAT, FOR PEOPLE OF

COLOR, FOR VARYING DIFFERENT

REASONS, THAT BECOMES ALMOST

SECOND NATURE TO THE PART WHERE

WE'RE PROBABLY NOT EVEN ALWAYS

CONSCIOUS OF DOING IT, BUT TELL

ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR

EXPERIENCE, WHAT DOES

SHAPE-SHIFTING MEAN FOR YOU?

>> YEAH, SHAPE-SHIFTING, TO ME,

MEANS TO NOT NECESSARILY GOING

FROM POINT A TO B IN A LINEAR

TYPE FASHION, BUT IN FACT,

UTILIZING THE SHAPE, THE GREAT

HOOP, THE GREAT CIRCLE AND

FINDING VARIOUS COMPONENTS, HOW

THINGS INTERSECT WITH EACH

OTHER.

SO IT'S THIS IDEA ABOUT

TRANSCENDING FORMS, RIGHT?

TRANSCENDING THAT GOES UP WITH

THINKING, BINARY THINKING AND

FEELING.

SO, SHAPE-SHIFTING FOR ME IS

ABOUT THE DIALOGUE AND

CONVERSATIONS THAT HAPPEN FROM

MOMENT TO MOMENT TO MOMENT AND

YOU CAN ALSO TRANSLATE THAT FROM

DECADE TO DECADE TO DECADE, FROM

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

AND I FEEL LIKE SHAPE-SHIFTING

IS ESSENTIAL, BECAUSE IT'S THE

WAY, HOW ONE MOVES -- MOVES IN

THE WORLD.

>> WELL, I -- AND I LIKE THAT

YOU ACTUALLY PUT IT THAT WAY,

BECAUSE FIRST OFF, WE DID SEE A

CLIP OF "CIRCLE" AND ALSO YOU,

AMONGST THE MANY THINGS THAT YOU

DO, YOU ALSO -- YOU PRACTICE

TRADITIONAL DANCE AND I KNOW

THAT THE CIRCLE DANCES ARE A

VERY IMPORTANT PART OF CULTURE

FOR YOU.

SO I'M WONDERING, HOW IS IT THAT

YOU SEE, I GUESS, BRINGING

SOMETHING THAT'S A VERY

TRADITIONAL DANCE AND INCLUDING

THAT IN YOUR CURRENT PERFORMANCE

ART FOR PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT BE

AWARE OF OR MIGHT -- MOST LIKELY

DON'T KNOW THE SIGNIFICANCE OF

WHAT YOU'RE DOING?

>> YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

AND THIS -- THIS DANCE IS VERY

IMPORTANT TO ME, YOU KNOW, IT

WAS GIVEN TO ME FROM A COUSIN OF

MINE AND IT'S A DANCE THAT HAS

ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR ME, THIS

IDEA ABOUT THE CIRCLE AND WHAT I

REALIZED AT THE TIME IS THAT

THIS WAS A MODEL AS WHICH TO

INSPIRE TO IN LIFE.

I MET TEACHERS, MY OWN FAMILY,

SORT OF TALKING ABOUT THIS GREAT

HOOP OR GREAT CIRCLE OF LIFE

THAT'S ROOTED VERY TRADI

TRADITIONALLY, LIKE, ROOFS

INSIDE OF THE EARTH, RIGHT?

AND THEN THERE COMES A POINT AS

A HUMAN EVOLVED MYSELF, YOU

KNOW, BEING AN ARTIST AND LIVING

IN A SORT OF CONTEMPORARY TYPE

WORLD, NEEDING TO BRANCH OUT

INTO OTHER ART FORMS, WAS ABLE

TO BRAID, IF YOU WILL, THESE

BRANCHES TOGETHER TO COME UP

WITH WHAT THE VIDEO THAT YOU SAW

CALLED "CIRCLE."

THAT INCORPORATED VARIOUS

MESSAGES THROUGH, YOU KNOW,

POETRY, LISTENING TO THE HEART

BEATS OF DRUMS TO VARIOUS

COMPOSITIONS OF MUSICIANS.

AND THE CIRCLE THE VERY

IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IT TALKS

ABOUT THE VARIOUS FORMS

INCLUSIVITY, NOT ONLY PEOPLE,

HOW WE'RE RELATED BUT HOW WE'RE

RELATED TO THE ENVIRONMENT, THE

WORLD AROUND US.

THAT GOES FOR THE TWO-LEGGED,

THE WINGED, THE ROOTED, FROM

EARTH TO FIN TO SKY AND BACK

AGAIN.

ALL IN THAT GREAT HOOP, THAT

GREAT CIRCLE OF LIFE.

SO, FOR ME GROWING UP, THIS HAS

BEEN A VERY FOUNDATIONAL DANCE

AND IT'S TRULY HIGHLIGHTED BY

THE EMBLEMATIC POWER, THE

MESSAGE AND THE TIM BOLLS WHEN

THE DANCE BEGINS TO HAPPEN.

THERE'S A STORY THAT GOES ALONG

WITH THIS DANCE THAT TALKS ABOUT

BRINGING JOY AND PEACE TO THE

PEOPLE.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BRING PEACE

TO BROTHERS, SISTERS, RELATIVES,

WHO MIGHT NOT LOOK LIKE US, TALK

LIKE US, BUT HOW CAN WE CONTINUE

TO WORK IN SOLIDARITY IN THAT

GREAT HOOP?

AND WE'RE SORT OF SEEING THAT

RIGHT NOW, IT'S VERY RELEVANT TO

TODAY, IT'S RELEVANT OF THE PAST

AND QUITE FRANKLY, TO ME, IT'S

RELEVANT FOR CREATING

SUSTAINABLE FUTURE RELATIONSHIPS

WITH EACH OTHER.

>> YOU KIND OF ALREADY ANSWERED

MY NEXT QUESTION WITH THE ONE

THAT YOU JUST GAVE, BUT I DO

WANT TO ASK, USING THE CIRCLE AS

A SORT OF LARGER METAPHOR, HOW

DO YOU SEE THE VISIBILITY OF

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AS PART OF THE

LARGER AMERICAN CIRCLE?

>> YEAH, I THINK, YOU KNOW,

IT'S -- THERE'S MANY LAYERS TO

THAT QUESTION.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, THIS IDEA

ABOUT BEING AMERICAN IS THROWING

OUT, RIGHT, WHO YOU ARE TO

BECOME SOMETHING ELSE.

AND I FEEL LIKE THIS CIRCLE, THE

SYMBOL OF THE CIRCLE IS ACTUALLY

BEING WHO YOU ARE BECAUSE YOU

ARE IN THE CIRCLE, EVERYONE IS

IN THAT CIRCLE AND WE NEED

EVERYONE IN THAT CIRCLE.

IT'S NOT A TRAPEZOID, IT'S NOT A

TRIANGLE, BECAUSE THOSE HAVE

CORNERS.

THE CIRCLE IS A VERY POWERFUL

IMAGE AND WHAT THAT DOES IS,

IT'S NOT EVEN ALSO CREATING A

HIERARCHY, BUT IT'S SAYING, HEY,

THIS PERSON THAT I'M NEXT TO ON

MY RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE AND/OR

ABOVE OR BELOW, THE CREEPY

CRAWLIES ON THE EARTH AND THE

GREAT FLYING BIRDS OF THE SKY,

WE LITERALLY ARE CONNECTED BY

MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT.

AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT

SYMBOL, TOO, I THINK, TO A LOT

OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, BECAUSE IT

IS CALLING UPON ANCIENT WISDOM

THAT HAS EXISTED THAT WE ARE

USING TODAY TO GET THROUGH TIMES

OF TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS.

IT'S CALLING UPON ANCIENT WISDOM

TO CREATE NEW OPPORTUNITIES AND

NEW PRACTICE.

YOU KNOW, I HAVE THIS SAYING

THAT'S IN MY TRIBE AND THE

SAYING IS, IF YOU ARE NOT

DREAMING SEVEN GENERATIONS

AHEAD, YOU ARE NOT DREAMING BIG

ENOUGH.

RIGHT?

SO, IF YOU ARE NOT DREAMING

SEVEN GENERATIONS AHEAD, YOU ARE

NOT DREAMING BIG ENOUGH.

AND I UTILIZE THIS BECAUSE OF

THAT SHAPE OF THE CIRCLE AS

EVERLASTING, RIGHT?

IT'S EVERLASTING AND WILL GO ON

INTO THIS FUTURE, BEYOND WHAT WE

MIGHT EVEN KNOW TODAY.

AND SO, IT'S VERY POWER FUL

SYMBOL TO REMIND, TO INVOKE THE

REREMEMBERING, TO INVOKE, YOU

KNOW, THE PROCESS ABOUT BEING

TOGETHER.

THESE TYPES OF SYMBOLS ARE

BECOMING VERY, VERY IMPORTANT,

BECAUSE IT IS SAYING THAT, YES,

WE WERE HERE AS NATIVE

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, WE ARE HERE

AND WE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.

>> THAT IS -- I'M STAMMERING.

THAT IS ALMOST MIND-BLOWING

TO -- TO EVEN STATE THAT

THINKING SEVEN GENERATIONS AHEAD

IS NOT EVEN THINKING BIG ENOUGH.

BUT WE ARE COMING UP ON THE END

OF OUR TIME TOGETHER AND I CAN'T

BELIEVE IT, BUT I DO HAVE ONE

LAST QUESTION, AND THAT WAS THAT

EARLIER I WAS SPEAKING WITH

EDGAR VILLANUEVA ABOUT

COLONIZATION AND DECOLONIZATION

WHEN IT COMES, ESPECIALLY IN THE

REALM OF FINANCE AND I'M

WONDERING FOR YOU, AS A

CONTEMPORARY ARTIST, VERY

QUICKLY, WITH ABOUT 45 SECONDS

LEFT, WHAT IS DECOLONIZATION

MEAN FOR YOU?

>> DECOLONIZATION, I LIKE TO

THINK ABOUT IT IS STARTING AT

THE ROOT OF THE TREE.

IT'S UNDOING SYSTEMS THAT ARE IN

PLACE WHICH IS ALSO NEEDED, SO,

THESE TWO THINGS NEED TO EXIST

AT THE TIME.

WE NEED FOLKS DOING THE

DECOLONIZING WORK OF UNDOING THE

ENTANGLEMENT OF PROBLEMATIC

SYSTEMS AND AT THE SAME TIME,

HONORING BLACK, BROWN FOLKS THAT

ARE CALLING UPON ANCIENT WISDOM.

HOW CAN THESE TWO THINGS WORK IN

TANDEM AND WE SEE THAT

REPLICATED IN OUR BELTS HERE ON

THE EAST COAST.

A LOT OF THE GREAT TEACHINGS

THAT THE UNITED STATES

CONSTITUTION IS ACTUALLY MODELED

AFTER, SO, I THINK THAT'S

DECOLONIZATION AND I LIKE TO

BRING IN IT TO WORK WITH EACH

OTHER.

>> LISTEN, TY DEFOE, A

MULTIFACETED PERFORMING ARTIST,

SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON THE

SHOW AND MORE IMPORTANTLY,

SHARING YOUR WORK.

SO IMPORTANT, THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

HAVE A GOOD DAY.

>>> "METROFOCUS" IS MADE

POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR

WACHENHEIM III,

SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA

PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT

ANTI-SEMITISM,

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN

GANZ COONEY FUND,

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ,

BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG,

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER,

JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD,

CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN

FAMILY,

JUDY AND JOSH WESTON,

DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN

FOUNDATION,

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

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