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Event Series Event Series: Action/Abstraction Redefined

Movies at the Museum: Sugarcane

May 22 @ 6:30 pm 8:30 pm

Film still from the documentary Sugarcane.

A stunning tribute to the resilience of Native people and their way of life, Sugarcane – the debut feature documentary from Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie – is an epic cinematic portrait of a community during a moment of international reckoning.

Set amidst a ground-breaking investigation into abuse and death at an Indian residential school, the film empowers participants to break cycles of intergenerational trauma by bearing witness to painful, long-ignored truths and the love that endures within their families despite the revelation of genocide.

This film is presented in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in honor of AMFA’s exhibition Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s to 1970s. The exhibition is on view through May 26, 2024.

About the Film

In 2021, evidence of unmarked graves near an Indian residential school run by the Catholic Church in Canada sparked a national outcry about the forced separation, assimilation, and abuse many children experienced at this network of segregated boarding schools designed to slowly destroy the culture and social fabric of Indigenous communities. When Kassie – a journalist and filmmaker – asked her old friend and colleague, NoiseCat, to direct a film documenting the Williams Lake First Nation investigation of St Joseph’s Mission, she never imagined just how close this story was to his own family.

As the investigation continued, Emily and Julian traveled back to the rivers, forests, and mountains of his homelands to hear the myriad stories of survivors. During production, Julian’s own story became an integral part of this beautiful multi-stranded portrait of a community. By offering space, time, and profound empathy the directors unearthed what was hidden.

Kassie and NoiseCat encountered both the extraordinary pain these individuals had to suppress as a tool for survival and the unique beauty of a group of people finding the strength to persevere.

Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Action/Abstraction Redefined is organized by IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM. Support for this exhibition is provided by Art Bridges.

Action/Abstraction Redefined: Modern Native Art, 1940s to 1970s is organized by Dr. Manuela Well-Off-Man, chief curator, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Tatiana Lomahaftewa-Singer, curator of collections, IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, and Dr. Lara Evans, IAIA Associate Professor of Native Art History.

Museum of Contemporary Native American Art logo.
Art Bridges logo


May 22
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Event Category:

Event Details


$15 for Adults / $10 for Seniors (65+) and Children (2-11)


Performing Arts Theater
Doors open at 6:00 p.m.