Kunįkága Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkága Remembers the Welcome Song
“We were always here, no one discovered us.”
Hopinka’s grandmother shares memories and history of the Hočąk (Ho-Chunk nation) to orate the story of Red Banks, a pre-contact Hočąk village near present day Green Bay, WI. Layered with scenes of changing atmospheres and landscapes– highways to coastlines, thunder to early morning sun- the past lives of Hočąk people and land are transported into the present moment. “Using moving pictures – we see the story as they used to tell it.”
“It was dark but I could see it all so clearly – that’s what it was like entering Standing Rock.”
In a rare moment when untouchable inner faith becomes earthly reality, Hopinka connects questions about identity with views and experiences of the protesters and fellow participants at Standing Rock. Terry Running Water describes his camp and what he hopes it will become. Cleo Keahna remembers letting go of ones self-identity to be part of a larger purpose. Uplifting moments of Flag Row symbolize all nations from Palestine to the indigenous homeland, standing together. Set in contrast to the swinging catchy sound of Bobby Darin’s “Not For Me,” the hard realities of the landscape and the lives of the protesters shows the complexities, struggles and paradoxes that are part of Standing Rock.
I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become
Driving through wild and constructed landscapes with Hopinka and his father, Jaaji, we see the family’s indigenous homeland through a spectrum of colors and monumental vistas. Jaaji nostalgically narrates stories from his youth, memories of early prayer songs and Pow wow gatherings, which are juxtaposed with images of neon light bridges, gas stations, and highways running through valleys. Generational perspectives mirror changing environments as we learn of encounters separated in time, yet deeply connected by place.
Between the dizzying hallucinatory landscapes and circular images of a lens or porthole, Hopinka takes us to a world of dreams, spirits and myths, revealing the story of Xąwįska, the Indian Pipe Plant used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted. With abstracted and inverted images Hopinka moves from an editing station into the landscape, illuminating the sense of losing oneself, of fear and renewal. —Ruth Hodgins
Fainting Spells (2018), Dislocation Blues (2017), Anti-Objects, or Space Without Path or Boundary (2017), I’ll Remember You as You Were, Not as What You’ll Become (2016), Visions of an Island (2016), Jáaji Approx. (2015), Venite et Loquamur (2015), Kunįkaga Remembers Red Banks, Kunįkaga Remembers the Welcome Song (2014), wawa (2014)