Greetings and Welcome to Indigenous Roots Productions!

If you have signed up for IRP’s newsletter, it is likely that you already know a bit about the organization’s foundation, mission, and vision. If not, I encourage you to check out our website at www.indigenousrootsproductions.org

IRP was established on June 28th, 2023 and much of the first few months was focused on our first major event which can be considered our official introduction as a 501(c)3 organization. On November 16th, 2023 Sights and Sounds of the Assyrian Diaspora: Art in Response to Statelessness premiered at the University of Central Arkansas where I wrote my undergrad thesis which is complementary to the film itself. This initial Oral History research film was dedicated to my own indigenous nation. Of course, it brought me immense joy and even deeper insight into the power of Indigenous Roots Productions. While investigating the significance of art in the lives of Assyrians, the research provided profound reciprocal benefits for the featured artists as well as myself. 

Firstly, empowering the film participants (a primary function of IRP’s activist research) led to connections between Assyrian artists who had not previously known of one another. These introductions created a sense of belonging and elevated the motivation of indigenous Assyrian artists as they work to preserve and evolve our nation’s heritage on a global scale. In the same way, this particular film provided me an opportunity to meet Assyrians whose passion and creativity are in sync with my own.

Following film production and narrator approval began the challenging journey to host a film premiere event. Confirmed options fell though and miscommunication from external entities pushed me to adapt to ensure that the marginalization of indigenous communities would not eclipse the inspiring artistic contributions made by the 13 Assyrian superheroes featured in the film. Executing such an event takes an immense amount of work and communication including:

In addition to finalizing the production as well as planning and executing the film premiere event, the first months of IRP’s conception included all the basics and necessities required for establishing an NGO including:

Moving forward, although I am eager to facilitate more research within the Assyrian community, it is important to provide IRP’s services for other indigenous communities around the world per IRP’s vision. Therefore, I prepared to embark on a brand new kind of adventure even for an experienced traveler like myself!

I arrived in Mexico this past week to carry out the Roots Phase of IRP’s project development. Detailed information about what is necessary for pre-assessments and pre-agreements can be found via the Ethics and Practices page on our website. Essentially I am here to connect with, volunteer with, and build rapport with indigenous communities in preparation for upcoming research. Mexico was selected for a number of reasons:

Pictured: Obsidian Tools displayed at the Museo Histórico Casa de Allende

Already, I have learned about the indigenous communities of Michoacán (such as the Chichimeca and Purépecha) who were initially met peacefully by the Spanish in the 16th century; that is, until the silver mines of Zacatecas led to the forceful displacement of indigenous peoples who’d settled in what is known as Guanajuato.

I have contacted the Secretaría de Cultura here in Mexico as well as the Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indigenous de Mexico and my goal is to volunteer with them in Mexico City as well as to head south into Oaxaca and Chiapas in order to network with the indigenous leaders and institutes of those states. By our next newsletter, I hope to provide news about these exciting opportunities!

Thank you for your support of IRP and the First Nations of our planet :)