Culture Theme Panellist
Rachel Naninaaq Edwardson is an Iñupiaq filmmaker and educator whose work has been critically acclaimed in the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Her ongoing History of the Iñupiat documentary series, produced in partnership with the North Slope Borough School District, is the first Native produced and directed documentary series in Alaska, celebrating and validating the culture, land and strength of Iñupiaq people. “Being raised in a rural Iñupiaq community taught me the importance of continuing our shared stories. Digital media filled with Western narratives permeates our communities. These new platforms for storytelling are quickly replacing our traditional models of storytelling. As Indigenous communities it’s imperative we create content to fill these platforms and use these new tools to address the fractures in our societies that are the result of surviving colonization.” In 2015 in partnership with the North Slopem Borough School District, Rachel completed the beta-site of an Iñupiaq virtual Qargi [Community House]- an exciting and ambitious online culture and education space. The Qargi will allow Iñupiaq people to upload and share their cultural knowledge, stories and family narratives in a dynamic interactive space that honors and celebrates their way of being. Since 2007 Rachel has been an advisor and program designer of educational initiatives and reforms delivered by Australian company Community Prophets. She has facilitated and worked on programs developed in partnership with communities in Sydney, Yirrkala, Jabiru, Cape York and country Victoria.