To be both Indigenous and Jewish can be enriching and confusing. Those who are members of both of these communities may struggle to feel like they belong in either place. However, as many Indigenous Jews have pointed out, there is much that is similar between the two communities, including struggles for acceptance, histories of oppression, and rich cultural traditions.
This program, presented by the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, features a conversation between Sarah Podemski, star of FX’s Reservation Dogs, and Emily Bowen Cohen, artist and comic writer. The program is moderated by Cindy Benitez, Program Manager at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
Watch the program below.
Recording transcript for Intersections of Identity: The Jewish Indigenous Experience
This program’s original recording transcript is below. This transcription was created automatically during a live program so may contain inaccurate transcriptions of some words.
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): hi everyone, my name is Sydney agar and i'm the public programs coordinator at the Museum of Jewish heritage, a living memorial to the Holocaust.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Before we go any further, I want to say the week briefly knowledge, the native peoples on who's ancestral homelands, we gather.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): which, in the case of the Museum of Jewish heritage is manabe hooking the ancestral lands of the manabe people, we also want to acknowledge the diverse and vibrant native communities who make their home here today.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Now, in its 24th year the museum is committed to the personal mission of educating our diverse community about Jewish life and heritage, before, during and after the Holocaust.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): As part of that mission our programs are meant to illuminate the stories of survivors broader histories of hate and anti semitism through time and stories of resistance against injustice.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Today, we will be discussing the Jewish indigenous experience in North America, we are so pleased and excited to be co presenting today's program with our neighbors the smithsonian National Museum of the American Indians.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): In addition, we are honored to be joined by Sarah podolski Emily bowen colon and Cindy benitez.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): syrup adamski is an audition obey ashkenazi multiply this multi disciplinary artists from Toronto.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Sarah has been passionate about recreating the indigenous narrative that has been misrepresented since the beginning of cinema.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): sarah's many credits include CBC the corner SCI fi resident alien and, most recently peabody award winning series reservation dogs greeted by sterling harjo and tycho whitey.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Sarah is also the owner of totem designs, where she creates one of a kind dream catchers with a modern twist.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Emily bow and Colin is a member of the muskogee creek nation and grew up in rural Oklahoma.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): her father was the chief of staff at their tribal hospital and her mother is a nice Jewish girl from New Jersey.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Her first graphic novel to tribes will be published in June 2023 by heart drum I need to focus to imprint at harper Collins.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Emily recently sold a show to Disney plus the first series, to have a native American superhero as the lead.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Cindy benitez who will be serving as our moderator today is the program manager at the smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian or enemy I.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): She curates and runs enemy is annual net native cinema showcase hosts film and conversation series and carrots international film showcases.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): A graduate from Barry universities Cindy holds a BA in public relations and an Ms and media studies from cuny brooklyn college raised in New York and South Florida she continues to maintain ties to her family homeland of Paraguay.
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Sydney Yaeger (she/her): If you have questions for our speakers during the program please put them in the zoom Q amp a box and we'll get to as many as we can, at the end of the hour, thank you all so much for joining us today and now i'm going to hand things over to Cindy Sarah and Emily.
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Cynthia Benitez: hi everyone Thank you Sydney for that wonderful introduction i'm honored to be part of today's discussion hi Sarah hi Emily.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: hi.
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Cynthia Benitez: Can you both just briefly introduce yourselves and tell us where you're from today, if you want to go for Sarah.
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Sarah Podemski: Sure hi i'm Sarah for them ski I am right now in Toronto born and raised in North York and, yes, this is where I call home at the moment.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And hi i'm Emily and right now I am in Los Angeles, I live here with my three kids and my husband and i've been here for about 20 years.
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Cynthia Benitez: Wonderful thank you both and i'm here in brooklyn New York.
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Cynthia Benitez: moderating today's discussion of Sarah and Emily just to start off, can you share a bit about your family background like What was it like, with your upbringing having a Jewish parent and an indigenous parent Emily do you want to start.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Sure Okay, so my father is the American he's a member of, as we said in the beginning muskogee creek nation and he met my mother when they were both at school in Boston she's from New Jersey.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: My mother really I grew up in Oklahoma, which is where my dad side of the family Islam and my grandmother, is a very was a very devout Baptist.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Within the Indian church and because of that she really wanted us to love Christ, and she spent a lot of time reading us from a beautiful from her beautiful copy of the New Testament which my mother, who was battling these Bible belt influences all around us.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: really tried to remind us that we were Jewish, so I think there was a little bit of tension there because the.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Indian cultural.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: rituals that my family participated in were all part of the Christian church, my father was very he was a he pushed against that a lot of he wasn't he wasn't religious so he really helped.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: My mother find a synagogue.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: which was like two hours away from where we lived and we would go and make sure, and he was really helpful and making sure that we had a Jewish education, so it was a weird sort of bipolar existence, you know.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Because we would spend the week.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: With my native Community where we lived and then we'd spend the weekends in the Jewish community and Tulsa.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And it rarely ever crossed over so.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: It was it's interesting.
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Sarah Podemski: wow um I it's funny because there's kind of like.
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Sarah Podemski: Huge differences, obviously, but then also.
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Sarah Podemski: You similarities, but I mean I grew up in a Jewish home with my father, I was part of an organization called tasha moorhead car, which was a movement that my grandfather was part of in in Poland, when he was a youth, so there was really.
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Sarah Podemski: Like the idea of like legacy was was you know all around and then with my mother's side being able to you know go to Palo and see you know her work in politics and.
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Sarah Podemski: kind of have that you know at the forefront, to have like my development was really powerful, but they also rarely intersected and I think only as an adult I realized.
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Sarah Podemski: that these two identities were like both kind of they weren't really mesh together, and I feel like i'm just going through that right now, which is like oh.
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Sarah Podemski: You know, because when you're in the Jewish community you feel like you're part of the Jewish community, then when you're in the indigenous community kind of feel like you're part of the indigenous community so.
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Sarah Podemski: it's so incredible to have these conversations and to keep meeting like native Jews, because it really is this very specific lived experience that we have that I think.
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Sarah Podemski: Both parts kind of influence each other complement each other in the same at the same time.
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Cynthia Benitez: Wonderful thank you both.
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Cynthia Benitez: being raised in both communities by your family clearly was very influential for you growing up now outside of that family what were your experiences like walking into a Jewish space or an indigenous face i'm not just as an indigenous to but also as a woman of color.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: i'm.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Sorry.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I would say walking into an indigenous space was a lot easier because no one could see on my face that I was Jewish so it was.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I mean I.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I knew I was mixed because my mom was white, but I think it was I mean that that's the situation with plenty of people, so it was not it was that was not a challenge as much as it was walking into a Jewish space.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: You know people just have a lot of questions they they they immediately thought I didn't well, they were more curious in a well meaning way they're more curious about.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: How I had ended up in a synagogue and I think that started really right from the very beginning of my Jewish community experience like I said I would travel to the synagogue to get Jewish education and like right from the very beginning, the kids.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Were unconscious unkind i'd say.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Because so much of my ashkenazi is so Sarah and so many people almost 100% I would say in Tulsa Oklahoma are white or white passing and.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I think, right from the very beginning.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: That was something that was always part of my Jewish experience, and so I think today.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I find a real affinity with other Jews of color and I found that to be a really, really important Community to be part of in my Jewish life.
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Sarah Podemski: yeah um I would say that because i'm totally white passing and i've been able to kind of like move fluidly through you know different communities and people, no matter where I am they're like what are you what is it you know there's kind of that curiosity as well.
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Sarah Podemski: The comforting thing is that I come from three sisters both all I start two sisters there's three of us two of them are older, we all kind of went through this summer camp experience that hash marks here together.
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Sarah Podemski: So for me, I was able to like benefit from the familiarity to our family's story.
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Sarah Podemski: But there's still was that disconnect and feeling like I still wasn't the same as everybody else didn't come from the same circumstances, you know, I was raised in a single family home by my father like that also even.
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Sarah Podemski: You know even 30 years ago was like unheard of, so there was like just different things that I felt always a little bit like the other.
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Sarah Podemski: And then you know going into the native Community I am white passing you know, and I do have a lot of privilege, you know moving amongst those communities as well, so I I really in both I didn't really feel.
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Sarah Podemski: hundred percent myself but i'm noticing like as an adult those kind of pieces are slowly being put together realizing like you say meeting other you know people who are dealing with this.
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Sarah Podemski: intersection ality that there are so many Jews that come from different places, come from mixed race mixed religion backgrounds and it's interesting to see like how many of us, we are that we are right now.
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Sarah Podemski: And how that's developing and just you know, hoping to speak more about it so that kids don't feel the way that we did growing up in the Jewish community.
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Cynthia Benitez: Do you feel that there has, from the way you guys grew up to what the net this generation, do you find that there is a change, between now like more of an acceptance, or is there still you think barriers to that as an indigenous Jew or you know next color.
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Sarah Podemski: I mean I, I would still say there's a lot of work to be done, I I do see a lot of friends and their kids being mixed race, you know growing up in Jewish homes.
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Sarah Podemski: I think there's a transition happening for sure, even having this conversation and being able to participate in other conversations with synagogues where.
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Sarah Podemski: People are saying what can we do, how can we make this a more inclusive environment for the next generation coming up, so that they don't kind of have to grapple with their Jewish identity that they actually feel you know safe in Jewish spaces, so I think that.
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Sarah Podemski: A transition is happening for sure, and the adults are the ones who have to kind of you know, make those decisions and make that programming and kind of.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: You know.
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Sarah Podemski: start to create a different safe space for the youth, because, as we know, like you know the younger generation, things are changing for them so quickly, in terms of like.
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Sarah Podemski: Identity and gender all those things, and I think we have to like keep up with that and also know how to support their identification.
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Sarah Podemski: And you know go on that journey together we're all learning at the same time at a very quick pace, so I do, I do hope that there's support in that I feel it I feel like there's a transition, so I really hope that that.
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Sarah Podemski: That continues.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I think, in my experience it varies so much depending on my geographic location and the kind of synagogue I was going to so it was really it was interesting I.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I lost my father, when I was nine and then, then, when I was 12 I moved to New Jersey and in Tulsa I was at a reform synagogue and it was very white.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I think we're the only mixed kids there, but when I moved to New Jersey to montclair New Jersey anybody's if anyone in the audience is from it's a really, really great community and I, for the first time, my life I was like not the only mixed race Jewish kid with my sister my sisters.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And that was a That was a conservative synagogue and there was a little bit more of a sense, you know, in that, in that town even that there were a lot of mixed families and stuff like that there was just like a little bit more room to sort of like talk about those issues.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And then I married an Orthodox Jewish man and move to Los Angeles, and the you know the Orthodox world is a lot different I, and I wasn't new to it.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And I would I did not know.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I didn't realize how.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Also rigid things were in the Orthodox world, I mean there's a real sense I mean, in order to continue the legacy of orthodox traditions, you know it's just a very tight knit community and there's not a lot of recognition that Jews of color are also part of that community.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: So.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: i've really seen as i've moved around the country like.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: That where I kind of feel like there's a little bit more work to be done, as in communities that are in a little bit more of a bubble.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: And it's a little frustrating, because I feel like myself and other Jews of color really have to put in the work in order to.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: find a recognition within a religious community.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: So that's that's a challenge and I agree with i'm so happy and pleased to see like Sarah said, like you know younger generation embracing sort of more questions about like.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Their gender and I see that even in my own Orthodox community that you know there's a little there's more The more I see people welcoming.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: People who look different even engender The more I feel like there's space for Jews of color as well, and so I think that's I think that is getting better.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: At least, where I live.
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Cynthia Benitez: that's wonderful you both mentioned definitely parallels between both communities, you mentioned like legacy.
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Cynthia Benitez: And there's also like other other elements, you know long history of systematic oppression, as well as stories resilience for both Jewish and indigenous peoples.
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Cynthia Benitez: How impactful are these parallels based on your own knowledge and experience for Jewish and indigenous peoples if you could speak further on the point what I discussed or other ones that you mentioned, like legacy.
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Cynthia Benitez: want to begin Sarah.
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Sarah Podemski: yeah I mean, I would say from my like my experience just being in the film and television industry, for you know the last however many years has been a long time.
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Sarah Podemski: The importance of like authentic representation, I think has been something that's at least coming to light now but it kind of also touches on that legacy of like the legacy of who tells our stories who gets to tell our stories and and being able to see us from our own perspective.
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Sarah Podemski: And that's something that you know i've always been really passionate about talking about from the you know from an indigenous perspective.
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Sarah Podemski: Just because only now we're kind of you know, being able to you know tell our own stories on a larger scale.
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Sarah Podemski: and getting funding and support for that, but then you have something crazy like this Bradley Cooper wearing a prosthetic nose.
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Sarah Podemski: And I met at bernstein which I and then I think oh my God and I, I remember, I remember, I remind myself, that this is still something that the Jewish community.
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Sarah Podemski: Is battling to, and I think that that's one of the parallels that I find, at least in my industry is i'm constantly just asking what else can we do to further educate.
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Sarah Podemski: And that's with Jews on the production and like Jews spearheading the production, you know.
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Sarah Podemski: What can we do to just further this idea that like we deserve to be present in our own storytelling you know that our lived experience makes a character more dynamic and interesting and it makes the story more dynamic and interesting.
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Sarah Podemski: So I think that that's one parallel where I feel like we're turning a corner right now is that we're having these conversations of you know.
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Sarah Podemski: authenticity.
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Sarah Podemski: And our storytelling which is, which is so so important in both in both cultures, you know storytelling is just you know it's what we We grew up on and it's what tells us who we are and who we are in the world and who we are, in society who we are on our culture, so.
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Sarah Podemski: I think that's something that like i'm just seeing a lot of recently as i'm realizing that's not only on the indigenous side that like even as a Jewish person in the industry i'm often the only Jewish person on a set.
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Sarah Podemski: which still is crazy because there's this fallacy that you know Jews around Hollywood but it's like.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I love to meet.
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Sarah Podemski: i'd love to act with them, and I would love to see them writing my felt like you know, so I think that there's there's something there to that we're feeling with the shift of the parallel of like.
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Sarah Podemski: I think there's a really exciting new generation of filmmakers coming up that are like you know telling our stories in a really authentic way and.
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Sarah Podemski: And I just really hope that continues, because there's just so much that we haven't even you know we've just scratched the surface, on our on our experiences and and yeah and I think that that's that's something that i'm having conversations on like almost daily.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah I am it's interesting because I know I agree there's so many different stories that haven't been heard from both both from both of Jewish experience and the native American experience and when you speak about legacy I you know it's I I feel like a real emotional response to that.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Because I feel like I I feel like what I should have what should have been passed down to me from my native American family was disrupted.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: You know, because my father died because it, you know, then I moved to New Jersey and the unfortunate also lost my grandmother was also in Oklahoma and at that point, I you know.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: I did not see my native side of my family for 20 years so and I really, really missed that and I don't think that's like an unusual thing for native people to experience you know, given the history of America and the real efforts to stop us from learning our culture, you know.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: So when I did return to my native family and reunited with them yeah I.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Any bits of knowledge, I got that was being passed down about my father's history or you know cultural elements creation stories anything that I would hear from my family, you know it felt really sacred.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: Every felt really like you know I held it is so hard, one that I really cherished it and.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: To relate that to my Jewish experience, where I felt like everything was has been served on a platter.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: You know, I have the same rituals I hi celebrated holidays, I was educated in Jewish things, especially being orthodox now I mean like there's rituals everywhere.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: But the one thing I could kind of the places I could emotionally sort of understand I kind of saw the two similar to similar was i'm going to the mikvah which you know.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: it's something in Judaism and religious in the religious world like you just don't talk about it.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: it's you it's done after dark and it's you don't mention it to people it's considered you know just in the same way kind of I felt like you held it sacred and it was just something that was special and.
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Emily Bowen Cohen: That was a similar sort of emotional feeling for me about the sort of legacy on both sides of my identity.
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Cynthia Benitez: Wonderful That was a beautiful story, thank you.
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Cynthia Benitez: for that.
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Cynthia Benitez: I mean you both mentioned traditions, how they beautifully intersect and.
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Cynthia Benitez: Do you find that maybe, is there a difficulty and would you have would would you separate the Jewish and indigenous cultural traditions or do you find them more of i'm not parallel almost kind of like hand in hand they're almost very similar in that sense.
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Sarah Podemski: um I would say, maybe just out of necessity, they kind of get married a bit in terms of like.
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Sarah Podemski: spiritual like spiritual practices and and prayer and whether that's smudging on shabbat or you know.
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Sarah Podemski: You know.
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Sarah Podemski: So you know sitting Shiva and smudging and like because they exist in us, at the same time anytime there's kind of a sense of ceremony, I find that they both.
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Sarah Podemski: They both come together.
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Sarah Podemski: Because there's just there has to be space for for it all.
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Sarah Podemski: In terms of.
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Sarah Podemski: I guess like making sense of the world, just in general.
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Sarah Podemski: As a daily practice, so I think that it's not I don't feel like i've ever forced it.
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Sarah Podemski: it's just been something that happens, really, naturally, which I think is also beautiful it's like we have this abundance, we have this is abundance.
00:24:47.010 --> 00:24:51.270
Sarah Podemski: and also to with me just slowly reconnecting as an adult because I think.
00:24:51.660 --> 00:24:59.280
Sarah Podemski: It was an extreme privilege to have a grandfather, who I was able to go back to Poland with and go to Germany with and who spoke about the Holocaust and.
00:24:59.610 --> 00:25:06.750
Sarah Podemski: You know who spoke about his experiences and we were able, that was such a privilege to be able to you know be with him and hear those stories firsthand and.
00:25:07.200 --> 00:25:15.330
Sarah Podemski: You know, travel and see with my own eyes, whereas, for you know my mom's parents who you know, were in the residential school system, I didn't ever get to speak.
00:25:15.930 --> 00:25:26.640
Sarah Podemski: With them about those experiences personally so as i'm slowly reconnecting on one side i'm realizing the privileges of having exactly what you said, which is just like this beautiful Jewish.
00:25:27.720 --> 00:25:30.600
Sarah Podemski: Experience that is accessible.
00:25:31.680 --> 00:25:46.050
Sarah Podemski: So I think as i'm learning, you know as i'm learning more about my mother's roots, they will slowly start in for infiltrating you know new practices and stuff, but I think that they just work.
00:25:46.890 --> 00:25:52.440
Sarah Podemski: In and if anybody comes from a mixed background like they can all work beautifully together, because you know.
00:25:53.520 --> 00:26:02.850
Sarah Podemski: What is resonating with us at any given time is it's what's you know it's what's going to stay and I think you know when you have that connection, and you have meaning behind the connection.
00:26:03.240 --> 00:26:10.020
Sarah Podemski: It makes all those practices so much more you know so much more important and also important to kind of like keep.
00:26:11.070 --> 00:26:13.230
Sarah Podemski: You know, keep the ceremony of them alive.
00:26:15.540 --> 00:26:21.570
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah Sarah I really I I relate to that so much it's like your mind is constantly working to like.
00:26:22.200 --> 00:26:30.810
Emily Bowen Cohen: To draw parallels between the standard trying to make sense of like two very different things and it's like anytime I sort of catch like little similarities I get.
00:26:31.350 --> 00:26:38.910
Emily Bowen Cohen: excited and I want to, I want to you know go deeper into that um it's it's often the experience that, like well as as another things.
00:26:39.810 --> 00:26:52.380
Emily Bowen Cohen: You find these little moments of connection, but then, once you sort of look into it a little bit more easy where it starts to diverge, and I mean that in itself is really interesting it sort of feels like you're constantly trying to weave it in, but then it kind of like.
00:26:52.770 --> 00:26:54.300
Emily Bowen Cohen: goes back out again and phrase.
00:26:55.920 --> 00:27:02.430
Emily Bowen Cohen: So you know, and I was thinking about this question, you know getting ready for this conversation.
00:27:03.540 --> 00:27:21.750
Emily Bowen Cohen: And I was thinking about how you know our creation stories like this is one of the ways I was like Oh, this makes sense, my muskogee tradition is like my Jewish tradition in our creation stories, which is you know ingratiate in genesis like the first book of the Torah.
00:27:23.400 --> 00:27:39.540
Emily Bowen Cohen: Before you know the world began, and it was tokuda who, which is like a mess like a chaotic mess and void and at that point, you know God started to delineate things and and likewise in my muskogee attrition.
00:27:40.950 --> 00:27:52.710
Emily Bowen Cohen: World began, and it was a dark mess like a dark fog and it was a scary place in the same way that the same genesis and but in obscurity tradition.
00:27:53.730 --> 00:27:58.500
Emily Bowen Cohen: People were scared they reached out for each other, and they also reached out for animals and things from nature.
00:27:59.430 --> 00:28:10.230
Emily Bowen Cohen: And when the fog was removed, you know, whoever they were standing next to it became your clan so you were always had a kinship with in my case, my grandmother we it's not to lineal.
00:28:10.800 --> 00:28:23.610
Emily Bowen Cohen: So my grandmother was bird clan and so that was our kind of kid and you know there's other things from nature there's a wind clan and there's raccoon and so there's potato potato, and you know bog or something and.
00:28:25.260 --> 00:28:27.690
Emily Bowen Cohen: But they were all leaked, and they were sort of like are.
00:28:28.770 --> 00:28:45.000
Emily Bowen Cohen: They were our family and in like the Jewish tradition it's so interesting because God started to like delineate things and put it in categories and who was and then people were kind of at the top, because they were created in his image and they were also.
00:28:46.680 --> 00:28:55.110
Emily Bowen Cohen: held I look this up i'm sensitive I looked it up in the Torah and it said that like man has dominion over over the animals.
00:28:55.710 --> 00:29:04.830
Emily Bowen Cohen: And that we have to language as it was translated in this particular Torah and you know and that speaks to like a main.
00:29:05.340 --> 00:29:16.200
Emily Bowen Cohen: difference between these two cultures, you know, like there's a lot of stuff in the Torah about like you know, for example, letting your land.
00:29:16.680 --> 00:29:22.710
Emily Bowen Cohen: Have a Sabbath year should be a year, where you just let it be so that it can repair itself.
00:29:23.640 --> 00:29:30.240
Emily Bowen Cohen: But it's not something that's like embedded you know in our tradition and I kind of feel like you have to be a scholar.
00:29:30.720 --> 00:29:42.300
Emily Bowen Cohen: In order to know more of those land original swear as in the muskogee tradition it's right at the very, very beginning it's always there and it's it's inseparable from the creation story.
00:29:44.040 --> 00:29:50.370
Emily Bowen Cohen: So it points to the sort of similarity but then, also where we really diverge which is interesting, but you know.
00:29:51.390 --> 00:29:53.190
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know, also makes it hard to reconcile.
00:29:55.110 --> 00:29:56.670
Emily Bowen Cohen: As a human being, you know.
00:29:58.860 --> 00:30:00.450
Cynthia Benitez: No, it was very informative I had.
00:30:00.450 --> 00:30:03.930
Cynthia Benitez: been asked yeah you know i'm learning as you're telling me.
00:30:06.450 --> 00:30:06.690
Cynthia Benitez: it's.
00:30:09.240 --> 00:30:18.090
Cynthia Benitez: What i've noticed with both of you, and you guys mentioned, you know Hollywood and representation is that both of you in the arts and entertainment industry.
00:30:18.570 --> 00:30:31.890
Cynthia Benitez: Have utilized almost like language revitalization right Sarah I your character and reservation dogs, I think, like says a couple of couple or so words I think in creek or whatever, when she does you know doesn't want so and so to.
00:30:32.280 --> 00:30:42.450
Cynthia Benitez: You know, and then Emily in your comics you have it, both in my Greg Hebrew as well as in Korea yeah so i'm interested in like um.
00:30:42.720 --> 00:30:53.370
Cynthia Benitez: If you could tell me how important that is like to eat to speak it, even though it's not you know if it's your language or not, but how important that is for you know both indigenous and the Jewish.
00:30:57.360 --> 00:30:58.380
Emily Bowen Cohen: Well i'll speak to that.
00:31:00.780 --> 00:31:12.030
Emily Bowen Cohen: um I feel like i'm learning Hebrew at the same time i'm learning the creek language which is cool they're both kind of equally mysterious to me.
00:31:12.960 --> 00:31:23.280
Emily Bowen Cohen: And i've recently become involved the Yiddish book Center, which is a great resource for this kind of thing, and it really has opened my eyes to how.
00:31:25.440 --> 00:31:41.760
Emily Bowen Cohen: How many like how many exciting mysteries lie like if you have the ability to reclaim these language these languages which were I don't they're not forgotten, but they've just been sort of you know they've been resting.
00:31:43.020 --> 00:31:53.580
Emily Bowen Cohen: And you find all these really amazing parts of both the Jewish experience and the native experience when you're able to reclaim some of those resources.
00:31:55.200 --> 00:32:04.560
Emily Bowen Cohen: That have been dormant like in the in Yiddish there's all these books, written by women and they write about like things you wouldn't think.
00:32:05.160 --> 00:32:16.800
Emily Bowen Cohen: In the 1920s, for example, I recently saw that they had translated something by a woman who wrote about like like sexual issues in a really like just.
00:32:18.420 --> 00:32:27.210
Emily Bowen Cohen: In a way, that you wouldn't expect somebody from the 1920s to write about and, likewise, I was gifted a book of creek.
00:32:29.130 --> 00:32:47.610
Emily Bowen Cohen: stories that were translated and it's just so many ways it's like the let me see if I can summarize this these stories are so much funnier and like so much more contemporary I think than you would expect, because.
00:32:49.230 --> 00:32:55.830
Emily Bowen Cohen: it's just funny it's like you know stuff about like turtles looking up women's dresses and stuff like that, like little aside.
00:32:56.910 --> 00:32:57.270
Emily Bowen Cohen: You.
00:32:58.410 --> 00:33:03.390
Emily Bowen Cohen: You don't hear when people usually talk about I mean unfortunately when they call them like.
00:33:03.810 --> 00:33:16.440
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know myths or folk tales and it's not like that at all it's like people talking the way people talk and I think when you reclaim these languages which have sort of been forgotten or whatever you want to say that in a nicer way.
00:33:18.090 --> 00:33:19.800
Emily Bowen Cohen: You really see how alive.
00:33:20.820 --> 00:33:28.320
Emily Bowen Cohen: It was the Culture has been and how it still is because it's it's shockingly.
00:33:30.150 --> 00:33:39.150
Emily Bowen Cohen: accessible to even today, I think, and that's some really exciting work that is still has to be done yeah yeah.
00:33:41.010 --> 00:33:51.810
Sarah Podemski: yeah when I get to like when I it's mostly through work, and I would love to do it more on a personal level, but when I get to study language I did a project, a few years ago, where I was.
00:33:53.220 --> 00:34:15.270
Sarah Podemski: Where we were speaking Cree and my mum's mother was created and the language is just like so mind blowing in terms of like one word will give you like a whole story of why something is what it is, and in some ways it's really humorous and then some ways it's like really.
00:34:17.730 --> 00:34:24.000
Sarah Podemski: Really so deep and like explores like humanity and like one word kind of thing, so I think.
00:34:24.420 --> 00:34:32.820
Sarah Podemski: And then, so when you're talking about what you're speaking about yet ish and sometimes i'll ask my dad or like when my grandfather was around i'd say like what is what is, what is the meaning of that let's like.
00:34:33.120 --> 00:34:39.450
Sarah Podemski: Pressing or like you know or something and I can't remember which it was I don't know if it was class or something, but it was like.
00:34:40.170 --> 00:34:48.480
Sarah Podemski: Just have some juicy with a bird or like a squawk I can remember i'm totally probably just like making a mess of it, but it was just funny that like this idea of like.
00:34:48.990 --> 00:34:56.700
Sarah Podemski: These words that like we have from from jaenisch are just they have so much humor in them of like how they explain something.
00:34:57.120 --> 00:35:07.650
Sarah Podemski: And I find that to just in you know talking about the language revitalization that there's just so much more to learn about the Community when we start.
00:35:08.550 --> 00:35:20.640
Sarah Podemski: Looking at language, and when we start kind of digging deep there's just so many more colors of who we were and who we are and who we have yet to be if we continue to.
00:35:22.020 --> 00:35:33.840
Sarah Podemski: learn our languages because it's just we just all speak English and like maybe one or you know, maybe people have one or two languages, but it's really incredible to think that, like we all have we all come from you know, different cultures and.
00:35:34.860 --> 00:35:40.770
Sarah Podemski: You know, different backgrounds, that you know whether it was you know one or two generations ago we have a different language.
00:35:41.160 --> 00:35:48.030
Sarah Podemski: And I think it's really exciting to kind of be able to dig into that and even just through work that we get to do that.
00:35:48.720 --> 00:35:59.190
Sarah Podemski: i'd like to make it more you know, I would like to do it more personally, but it does it just shows, so how colorful we are and how so many things were kind of muted, with the.
00:36:00.030 --> 00:36:14.910
Sarah Podemski: You know how when English kind of took over and we started speaking English it just yeah there's just a lot more to explore of you know who we are, what our relationship is to each other and the world and the environment, all of those things.
00:36:16.020 --> 00:36:18.330
Sarah Podemski: which I think is just like so fun and so exciting.
00:36:19.530 --> 00:36:34.560
Cynthia Benitez: Wonderful no it definitely is important and it seems because of the access of tools with the Internet and, like you, can you basically get anywhere there's even Apps where you could learn like the most basic things you know, like whatever language Oh, I want to learn Navajo today.
00:36:34.800 --> 00:36:35.370
Cynthia Benitez: You know, and he.
00:36:35.490 --> 00:36:40.860
Cynthia Benitez: said, you know read right, so I mean it's really wonderful to see that resurgence.
00:36:41.880 --> 00:36:53.760
Cynthia Benitez: And what i'm seeing kind of correlation to is that um you know both Jewish indigenous people have this history of storytelling do you think that that's what encourage you to be in the profession that you're in now.
00:36:56.730 --> 00:37:08.190
Emily Bowen Cohen: I would say, I would say, definitely I mean they're both sides of my family are filled with artists and there's always been a real respect for storytelling.
00:37:09.660 --> 00:37:28.200
Emily Bowen Cohen: Definitely, a lot of encouragement and even when I went back home to Oklahoma after absence of 20 years you know it was amazing how it my my cousins are all like they're artists and they're creating place in Greek language and.
00:37:30.150 --> 00:37:39.030
Emily Bowen Cohen: I you know it really felt like Oh, this seems like you know, like what i'm what i'm doing you know.
00:37:39.540 --> 00:37:49.770
Emily Bowen Cohen: By drawing my cartoons and stuff it's like oh it's not that different and this is, this is really part of some, this is something that our family has been doing for generations and because they were so.
00:37:51.690 --> 00:37:54.780
Emily Bowen Cohen: Just it was so it like it was so like of course you're an artist like.
00:37:56.250 --> 00:38:13.740
Emily Bowen Cohen: Which is something I knew from my the Jewish side of my family already since I been able to be you know with them all the time, growing up, but it was just really made me feel like I was in the right place, I was doing the right thing by despite rediscovering that when I went home.
00:38:15.300 --> 00:38:22.170
Sarah Podemski: we're also both like so performative like we love like and dancing and like I grew up.
00:38:22.680 --> 00:38:35.400
Sarah Podemski: You know, doing record am and like singing, all of the newer songs and then you, you know you go to Palo and you see the drumming and singing and all of this there's so much ceremony I think in Judaism and also in.
00:38:36.780 --> 00:38:43.740
Sarah Podemski: I mean indigenous culture and, in general, but specifically you know growing up going to powwow with my mom and.
00:38:44.910 --> 00:38:53.760
Sarah Podemski: The ceremony of song and dance is is just it's like right at the forefront, and I realized that it's similar.
00:38:54.450 --> 00:39:05.490
Sarah Podemski: In Judaism and I always feel very much very emotional when I hear how drama and I feel very emotional when I hear you know the rabbi saying like it's just there's there's something I think that.
00:39:08.550 --> 00:39:24.660
Sarah Podemski: That ceremony, and that performance and the sharing of music and and thought through, music and storytelling through dance and song I feel very, very much connected to both you know to both sides in that in that regard.
00:39:26.820 --> 00:39:36.720
Cynthia Benitez: Wonderful um I have noticed, both of you always kept going back to how important is to come back to the land to really get more understanding.
00:39:37.020 --> 00:39:47.340
Cynthia Benitez: of either you're Jewish or your indigenous side, do you think that if you didn't have the opportunity for you example on Sarah if you weren't didn't have the opportunity to go back to Poland.
00:39:47.730 --> 00:39:55.530
Cynthia Benitez: or Emily if you didn't have the opportunity to go back to you know your indigenous side, do you think there.
00:39:55.890 --> 00:40:08.940
Cynthia Benitez: Where you would be standing now, you would have a completely different experience, do you find that, but how impactful is that for you like it, do you think that, without going back to your land that really wouldn't be a let's say.
00:40:10.710 --> 00:40:19.950
Cynthia Benitez: An experience but i'm familiarity like a like a legacy right to continue on if you didn't have that the opportunity to go back.
00:40:23.100 --> 00:40:34.920
Sarah Podemski: I mean, I would just say from my from my experience, the first time I went back to where my mom was born the capella valley and saskatchewan I had a very powerful experience and being able to be in a Community where.
00:40:35.430 --> 00:40:45.840
Sarah Podemski: You know in Toronto growing up in Toronto, I can pass and I can look, you know any kind of mix of race or whatever, I never really saw myself like.
00:40:47.820 --> 00:40:55.140
Sarah Podemski: I never saw myself in any Community really here but going back to saskatchewan and going back to the reserve and seeing.
00:40:56.220 --> 00:41:01.200
Sarah Podemski: People who looked like me, it was so strange it was like coming home.
00:41:02.250 --> 00:41:14.760
Sarah Podemski: Even in my 20s and being on that land felt really powerful and I don't get to go back often i've only been back a few times, but there is a feeling there.
00:41:15.630 --> 00:41:29.760
Sarah Podemski: And it's similar to that feeling when we say next year in Jerusalem, I think, land is such an important part of like how we understand who we are our traditions, our ceremonies and our travels like where we have come from.
00:41:31.950 --> 00:41:43.740
Sarah Podemski: But I the tough part I mean for both with Israel or like you know the reservation system all over North America, where like people are completely displaced like there.
00:41:43.770 --> 00:41:45.000
Sarah Podemski: Is a similarity in terms.
00:41:45.150 --> 00:41:49.830
Sarah Podemski: Of like where do we go back where do we go back safely, where do we go back.
00:41:52.140 --> 00:41:55.050
Sarah Podemski: to remember where we came from.
00:41:57.420 --> 00:42:06.510
Sarah Podemski: And I had a similar feeling going back to pull to pull in with my grandfather were seeing him experience, that being able to go back home.
00:42:07.620 --> 00:42:19.500
Sarah Podemski: So I think that that's a huge a huge part of it's just that we're at our you know our stories are so displaced and this you know diaspora that you know, in the Jewish community and.
00:42:21.390 --> 00:42:37.860
Sarah Podemski: Oddly in the in the native Community we're kind of like displaced, but even in our own kind of country we don't own the land and we don't live, where we used to live and it's this really complicated relationship with going home, which is you know, a huge political issue and.
00:42:40.140 --> 00:42:42.870
Sarah Podemski: So it is it's complicated because I think.
00:42:44.010 --> 00:42:49.080
Sarah Podemski: There is this need to be on the land where your ancestors were.
00:42:51.150 --> 00:43:01.560
Sarah Podemski: And to want to learn about that land and learn the practices and the ceremonies of that land but it's really hard.
00:43:02.700 --> 00:43:03.360
Sarah Podemski: To do.
00:43:04.440 --> 00:43:06.450
Sarah Podemski: For most people and.
00:43:08.040 --> 00:43:10.620
Sarah Podemski: I think it would be really helpful in a lot of healing.
00:43:11.670 --> 00:43:13.350
Sarah Podemski: I don't know how we get there, but.
00:43:14.670 --> 00:43:20.610
Sarah Podemski: But I feel it, I feel it when I go, I feel it when I go to places where I know there's a history of my family.
00:43:23.280 --> 00:43:33.870
Emily Bowen Cohen: For sure I totally yeah I I really got that sense to when I returned to Oklahoma yeah it was um and I think the you know my family.
00:43:34.590 --> 00:43:40.080
Emily Bowen Cohen: It was really important to my family to send us to Israel, and that was something that was like never really questioned.
00:43:40.560 --> 00:43:47.250
Emily Bowen Cohen: We just sort of grew up, knowing that you know, at some point, you know we would go on, we went on, I went on a team to her when I was 16 it was great.
00:43:47.910 --> 00:44:04.410
Emily Bowen Cohen: And there was something really important about going and standing on the land, and it was also sort of I think also instructive that it was not question like at some point, this is important to us we're going to send you you're going to go back you're going to travel to Israel and.
00:44:05.550 --> 00:44:14.730
Emily Bowen Cohen: When I got older and I was sort of struggling with returning to Oklahoma I mean, I think that was something in the back of my mind like it was important for me.
00:44:15.420 --> 00:44:28.470
Emily Bowen Cohen: To go my for my family to send me to Israel, like, I was even though it was incredibly difficult to go back to Oklahoma and it was really uncomfortable and very strange to me meeting my family who didn't remember.
00:44:29.070 --> 00:44:43.890
Emily Bowen Cohen: But it was like a you know I felt like it's important to go like I just I knew in the same way, like just but my family had taught me like it's important it's important to go into be there and being that to be you know with your feet on the ground or your roots are from.
00:44:45.390 --> 00:44:46.710
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah it was and.
00:44:47.730 --> 00:44:51.690
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah it's something I never as difficult as it was, it was difficult.
00:44:53.610 --> 00:45:02.460
Emily Bowen Cohen: It was it felt it felt right and I was glad I went back and I guess what you also kind of learn when you do those things and go back to the land it's like.
00:45:02.850 --> 00:45:15.120
Emily Bowen Cohen: it's it's about being there if it's also about finding your family, you know and talking to them and hearing those stories passed down like that's like a huge part of why it's important.
00:45:16.320 --> 00:45:20.700
Cynthia Benitez: Well, thank you, we have so many questions in the chat so.
00:45:21.090 --> 00:45:25.380
Cynthia Benitez: i'm going to leave that over to Sydney to ask you, those questions Cindy.
00:45:26.400 --> 00:45:31.800
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): yeah Thank you so much for this conversation so far this has been really amazing.
00:45:33.240 --> 00:45:45.630
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): So I think to start out with a question that we got a few times Emily if you feel sort of comfortable talking about this, can you talk a little bit more about your transition from reform Judaism.
00:45:45.690 --> 00:45:48.720
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Type orthodox Judaism and what that was like for you as a woman of.
00:45:48.720 --> 00:45:53.130
Emily Bowen Cohen: color ah OK i'm sure.
00:45:55.050 --> 00:45:59.250
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah I met my husband college and.
00:46:00.930 --> 00:46:10.680
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know I I really gravitated to orthodox Judaism, because the rules were so black and white, and I really.
00:46:11.430 --> 00:46:21.900
Emily Bowen Cohen: I really craved that structure, having come from a family, we don't lose my dad then moving around, and you know it all just felt very chaotic, and so I think I really gravitated towards.
00:46:22.590 --> 00:46:35.550
Emily Bowen Cohen: towards that, and I really felt like if I just follow all these rules right and I do everything, just like you know i'm supposed to it like it like i'm told like like you've read about.
00:46:36.930 --> 00:46:44.550
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know i'll come to this spiritual awakening and I will feel settled, but I didn't take into account.
00:46:46.230 --> 00:46:51.240
Emily Bowen Cohen: What it would be like to be I didn't realize that being a person of color.
00:46:52.860 --> 00:46:55.590
Emily Bowen Cohen: In a very white space like an Orthodox synagogue.
00:46:56.880 --> 00:47:00.420
Emily Bowen Cohen: it's really challenging to ever get that sense of.
00:47:03.300 --> 00:47:10.680
Emily Bowen Cohen: See ever feel like to get that sense of wholeness that I was sort of seeking and it wasn't just because.
00:47:11.190 --> 00:47:21.390
Emily Bowen Cohen: What I would do everything perfectly and I kind of thought, like well that's it i'll just be accepted, because i'm doing everything just the right way, I know how to wash my hands, I know how to dive in and, however.
00:47:23.040 --> 00:47:26.970
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know the other part of being orthodoxies that you spend a lot of time with other people.
00:47:28.320 --> 00:47:35.760
Emily Bowen Cohen: And around the shabbat table very you know you just do a lot of talking and there's a lot of guests and you just meet a lot of new people and I found as a.
00:47:36.150 --> 00:47:46.020
Emily Bowen Cohen: that the question kept coming up with like, where I was from for like you know people would didn't think I looked Jewish and so they would say you know what's your story, are you a lot of times they would think I was.
00:47:47.520 --> 00:47:53.100
Emily Bowen Cohen: You know, a dupe choice, and so I have to just tell my story a lot, and when I would tell them, I was native American.
00:47:54.090 --> 00:47:58.140
Emily Bowen Cohen: People most people have not had an Orthodox Jewish girl when when I was.
00:47:59.040 --> 00:48:07.740
Emily Bowen Cohen: younger I had not ever met a native American person, so I just felt like I was saying, my story a lot in every single time I told my story It made me feel alienated because I wasn't.
00:48:08.250 --> 00:48:18.510
Emily Bowen Cohen: Just accepted as a Jewish person, and I mean that's another reason why I feel so much alisha I guess with other Jews of color because I think they experienced that as well.
00:48:19.980 --> 00:48:21.210
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah so I.
00:48:23.190 --> 00:48:38.580
Emily Bowen Cohen: I have found it challenging in a way, I didn't expect to you know, be a person of color in the Jewish community it's and I, you know I know i'm really find it i'm sorry for it because.
00:48:40.650 --> 00:48:44.190
Emily Bowen Cohen: yeah it's hard to feel alienated in your own community yeah.
00:48:46.560 --> 00:48:48.000
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Thank you for sharing that.
00:48:49.350 --> 00:48:55.320
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): So this is this question is a bit of background behind it so i'm just going to read this.
00:48:55.770 --> 00:49:02.130
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): i'm oneida Wisconsin and Jewish I grew up Jewish and connected with my native American heritage as an adult.
00:49:02.490 --> 00:49:07.470
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): I worked on the reservation, as the museum director for five years, having never been to the reservation before.
00:49:07.890 --> 00:49:21.630
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): I found that there was a big interest in my Jewish heritage and many people in the United Community withdraw similarities between Native Americans and Jewish history, because both are tribal people have you experienced the same thing and do you have any comments on this.
00:49:24.300 --> 00:49:30.330
Sarah Podemski: I would say from my experience in the Jewish community in Toronto that there.
00:49:31.200 --> 00:49:41.430
Sarah Podemski: There has always been a lot of programming and support with the native community and I don't know if that's something similar in different cities, but I.
00:49:42.210 --> 00:49:54.570
Sarah Podemski: Have i've always seen and have been reached out to and have been kind of invited and there is always been a curiosity from specific organizations i'm not going to say like across the board, but.
00:49:55.620 --> 00:49:58.740
Sarah Podemski: There have out there, I have definitely known.
00:49:59.880 --> 00:50:16.140
Sarah Podemski: And and and vice versa yeah like I have known a lot of relationships within the Jewish community and the native community in Toronto that had been doing a lot of work for many years, so I always saw that I guess that was I had seen that so.
00:50:17.490 --> 00:50:22.050
Sarah Podemski: I always assumed that that was a thing, maybe this kind of kinship.
00:50:24.150 --> 00:50:30.870
Sarah Podemski: And that it wasn't something that I was just feeling, but that there was some there was certain parallels that other people in organizations had had been seeing.
00:50:32.220 --> 00:50:48.990
Sarah Podemski: So I have known that there there's been a few people that have made it, you know, a priority in the Jewish community to you know connect with indigenous organizations and elevate indigenous voices and help support through whether it's financially or just you know.
00:50:50.040 --> 00:50:53.970
Sarah Podemski: Socially that's definitely something i've witnessed here.
00:50:56.580 --> 00:51:01.260
Emily Bowen Cohen: that's such a different experience and then I think, maybe because of Oklahoma there's so few Jensen.
00:51:02.670 --> 00:51:14.610
Emily Bowen Cohen: And there's so many native people in Oklahoma I just feel like I just you know people who I would meet in the indigenous community didn't didn't know much about being Jewish in Oklahoma.
00:51:15.900 --> 00:51:23.160
Emily Bowen Cohen: So they weren't didn't have enough education to I mean, I guess, they would say you know sort of like like i'm.
00:51:24.240 --> 00:51:37.890
Emily Bowen Cohen: This person is asking the question hi i'm so excited to meet you um yeah there's a sense of like I could say, for me it was less about like it being a tribal community and more again in the language.
00:51:38.940 --> 00:51:45.240
Emily Bowen Cohen: Because a lot of people seem to understand that, like they would they didn't know about being Jewish was like you go to Hebrew school.
00:51:45.600 --> 00:51:55.620
Emily Bowen Cohen: And you learn the language and there was a lot of excitement about like finding a way to do that in the muskogee creek community and sort of like having language in schools, like that.
00:51:56.040 --> 00:52:05.250
Emily Bowen Cohen: to sort of educate kids in the same way that every small Jewish child know some Hebrew I mean you know I know some letters, you know in.
00:52:05.790 --> 00:52:18.300
Emily Bowen Cohen: Hoping that they that could be recreated in the native community as well, but it sounds like the person hasn't wishing has had a really nice experience really that's nice that's really i'm so happy to hear that.
00:52:19.380 --> 00:52:34.110
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): yeah she followed up by saying the oneida reservation in Wisconsin is in the green Bay area where there's a very small Jewish community and there were about 600 Jewish people in the area, so their exposure to Judaism is limited, for the Community.
00:52:34.380 --> 00:52:34.740
00:52:36.390 --> 00:52:54.810
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): So Sarah, this is a question for you, but since you grew up, and you know you're located in Canada now, but you have spent a lot of time working in the US, do you find many differences between the Jewish or native communities in both countries and how do you experience that.
00:52:56.880 --> 00:52:57.510
Sarah Podemski: yeah.
00:53:01.140 --> 00:53:17.460
Sarah Podemski: it's it's it changes from city to city it, it really is such an interesting kind of combination to be because in every place I go the the reaction to when I tell people that i'm indigenous or Jewish is like completely different.
00:53:18.780 --> 00:53:30.960
Sarah Podemski: Like like going to tell us that, like there's native people everywhere, I see native culture, I see you know artists in stores, I see posters, for you know.
00:53:31.680 --> 00:53:42.000
Sarah Podemski: shows and people running for office like that's a very that's something that like I don't experience as much when I go, I mean i'd say in in Toronto.
00:53:42.510 --> 00:53:49.950
Sarah Podemski: there's an incredible thriving art scene here, but I would say, like at the like in the mainstream, I still don't see many native people like.
00:53:50.460 --> 00:54:02.340
Sarah Podemski: In positions of like in in in politics or like in municipal or even provincial like in terms of like the way that I, I have seen it, you know and.
00:54:02.760 --> 00:54:09.510
Sarah Podemski: blow up kind of in the states with like having you know Congress people, and I feel like there there's.
00:54:10.050 --> 00:54:17.850
Sarah Podemski: An awareness in certain things in the US that are like I feel like we're so far ahead in the US and then there's things that I feel like we're so far ahead.
00:54:18.300 --> 00:54:26.250
Sarah Podemski: in Canada, for example, like you did a land acknowledgement like you can't go anywhere really in Canada that i've been to any cultural experience, where there's no land acknowledgment.
00:54:26.760 --> 00:54:34.290
Sarah Podemski: You know, whereas I just you know went to an event in in the US and there wasn't a landed all judgment and I felt that because I was like whoa.
00:54:34.590 --> 00:54:42.270
Sarah Podemski: we're in we're in like we're like on the east coast we're like in full, you know full well known territory and there was no mention so.
00:54:42.720 --> 00:54:55.050
Sarah Podemski: It is interesting changes every everywhere, I go and then you know we also spend a lot of time in Los Angeles, where i've always you know, been part of the indigenous filmmaking Community there which I always felt like it was you know really thriving.
00:54:56.310 --> 00:55:13.080
Sarah Podemski: So, and then i've also been able to you know grew up in the theater community in the film Community here with a lot of a lot of you know native creatives, but I would say, you know, in the mainstream for sure reservation dogs has done more.
00:55:15.000 --> 00:55:22.590
Sarah Podemski: In terms of like elevating our voices, then I really think anything in Canada has we're still really fighting to have our voices.
00:55:25.500 --> 00:55:30.120
Sarah Podemski: supported and our story is supported in Canada it's going very slowly, but.
00:55:30.600 --> 00:55:39.780
Sarah Podemski: Seeing the momentum that raise dogs kind of created has been insane to see like how many shows are now coming up how many shows are Greenland all the writers, I know are busy all the actors, I know are busy.
00:55:40.320 --> 00:55:44.580
Sarah Podemski: It is not the same in Canada, unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do so.
00:55:45.390 --> 00:55:57.630
Sarah Podemski: Every different you know aspect of it changes from kind of like city to city and country to country, so yeah i'm always trying to keep up being like okay wait, this is the place that this is the place that needs work, this is the place that you know.
00:55:57.960 --> 00:56:06.690
Sarah Podemski: be part of for it like it's it's kind of dizzying to keep track of and then, and then on the same side with the Jewish community, I would say.
00:56:07.770 --> 00:56:08.820
Sarah Podemski: I would say.
00:56:11.490 --> 00:56:13.350
Sarah Podemski: There still is a lot of.
00:56:17.370 --> 00:56:19.350
Sarah Podemski: There is still so much.
00:56:21.510 --> 00:56:23.010
Sarah Podemski: insidious racism.
00:56:24.780 --> 00:56:30.450
Sarah Podemski: towards Jews, which I still find everywhere, I go and it's this kind of like.
00:56:32.490 --> 00:56:34.140
Sarah Podemski: there's a bit like just.
00:56:34.200 --> 00:56:35.340
Sarah Podemski: Every semitism.
00:56:35.460 --> 00:56:45.330
Sarah Podemski: bill, and like misinformation on both sides, you know, so I think because i'm white passing people don't know i'm Jewish people don't know native i'm caught, a lot of the times feeling unsafe in certain spaces.
00:56:46.050 --> 00:56:50.310
Sarah Podemski: Because you just never know when someone's going to make that comment about Jews are natives or this and that so.
00:56:50.700 --> 00:56:59.940
Sarah Podemski: i'd say across the board, it is very difficult to ever feel like i'm in a really safe space because, even if you're with all natives you don't know if someone's gonna say something about Jews and even with your with Jews you don't.
00:57:00.600 --> 00:57:09.780
Sarah Podemski: say so I got it so it's i'd say something that is consistent, is that there still is very few places I feel totally safe to be myself.
00:57:10.380 --> 00:57:21.000
Sarah Podemski: And to talk in the way that I want to you know speak about issues and to feel like nobody's going to you know take things the wrong way or become super defensive or.
00:57:22.080 --> 00:57:22.650
Sarah Podemski: You know.
00:57:23.790 --> 00:57:24.630
Sarah Podemski: get really.
00:57:26.670 --> 00:57:33.450
Sarah Podemski: You know just get really offended by you know some of the topics that have come up, so I don't know if that answers the question but yeah it's.
00:57:33.690 --> 00:57:36.210
Sarah Podemski: yeah changes geographically.
00:57:39.300 --> 00:57:45.930
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): And so I also, so I think our last question just because we talked so much about sort of our and.
00:57:45.990 --> 00:58:02.010
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Different representations of both Jews and a native peoples in media sides your own illustrious work which we should all go out and check out, is there any other, and I think Cindy you can also jump in on this, is there any other words he recommend that people should check out.
00:58:03.480 --> 00:58:04.350
or anything like that.
00:58:06.330 --> 00:58:07.050
Emily Bowen Cohen: Oh, my gosh.
00:58:08.370 --> 00:58:12.060
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): I mean there's so many, but you know if there's one that comes to top of by.
00:58:12.090 --> 00:58:12.450
00:58:13.980 --> 00:58:18.630
Sarah Podemski: watched when I watched one recently I don't know if people have seen it but it's called Shiva baby.
00:58:20.130 --> 00:58:20.430
Emily Bowen Cohen: huh.
00:58:20.700 --> 00:58:22.080
Sarah Podemski: Which is such a.
00:58:22.320 --> 00:58:28.200
Sarah Podemski: Great that's a great filmmaker is actually from Toronto, and I met her at this spirit awards in Los Angeles.
00:58:29.220 --> 00:58:29.730
Sarah Podemski: But.
00:58:30.810 --> 00:58:37.380
Sarah Podemski: It just it was like, then, this new generation of Jewish voices which is like they're like complicated and they're dynamic.
00:58:37.860 --> 00:58:51.270
Sarah Podemski: And just we're kind of getting into you know it's not for everybody, but just this idea of you know, having bravery in our lived experiences, and you know just seeing a new Jewish perspective, which I thought was just really cool.
00:58:52.740 --> 00:58:57.810
Emily Bowen Cohen: I get excited whenever I see Jews of color doing work.
00:58:59.430 --> 00:59:14.130
Emily Bowen Cohen: i'm part of a juneteenth thing next week, which is really and there's going to work it's with three other artists of different kinds, and I just feel like whenever i'm in those spaces and people are sharing their work.
00:59:16.050 --> 00:59:23.940
Emily Bowen Cohen: That I can always there's always something in there, which I can wish total and I can completely relate to since.
00:59:25.620 --> 00:59:32.070
Emily Bowen Cohen: there's not i'm still having pizza right, because I can add her to my roster of native American Jewish people.
00:59:33.510 --> 00:59:35.790
Emily Bowen Cohen: But you know I think i'm let's see.
00:59:37.710 --> 00:59:39.660
Emily Bowen Cohen: there's some I can't remember his name.
00:59:41.250 --> 00:59:52.860
Emily Bowen Cohen: i'm Aaron but I don't realize it but anytime he's a jewel color and he's written a lot of poetry and it's like, but I know Michael twitty that is a person that's a book that's work I can recommend he is a.
00:59:54.180 --> 00:59:58.230
Emily Bowen Cohen: Black Jewish man who is wrote a book called the cooking.
00:59:59.550 --> 01:00:00.360
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): and
01:00:00.510 --> 01:00:04.020
Emily Bowen Cohen: it's amazing and he traces his roots.
01:00:05.070 --> 01:00:09.870
Emily Bowen Cohen: And he talks about being Jewish and it's I thought it was a cookbook but it's not it's like really.
01:00:10.440 --> 01:00:18.270
Emily Bowen Cohen: memoir and sort of chasing chasing his genealogy genealogy and then traveling to those places, and you know I found that.
01:00:19.170 --> 01:00:23.820
Emily Bowen Cohen: That was like I think really captured a lot of the experience of being an issue of color and sort of like the.
01:00:24.360 --> 01:00:37.140
Emily Bowen Cohen: As an American Jew, and just sort of like how complicated it was it's also very long book, which makes a lot of sense, because it is so complicated, so I would say that would be a PIC for sure.
01:00:38.700 --> 01:00:39.810
Cynthia Benitez: Great I.
01:00:40.110 --> 01:00:47.370
Sarah Podemski: just add something I would just I would love so much just to see more Jews of color.
01:00:47.670 --> 01:00:57.150
Sarah Podemski: This intersection ality of Judaism and like whatever it is, because I do feel like it has been very European centric for.
01:00:58.170 --> 01:01:00.150
Sarah Podemski: a very long time and.
01:01:02.130 --> 01:01:08.970
Sarah Podemski: yeah I really hope just you saying that i'm just like yeah it's like something I crave because it is such a specific lived experience of like.
01:01:10.620 --> 01:01:23.310
Sarah Podemski: You know, living in these within these two worlds of you know so yeah let's fight for it let's saw like just trying to do some research and find those people and support them and watch their films and read their books i'm on it, I pledge to do it.
01:01:24.030 --> 01:01:24.570
Emily Bowen Cohen: i'm fired up.
01:01:28.830 --> 01:01:30.480
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Cindy do you have anything.
01:01:30.630 --> 01:01:42.690
Cynthia Benitez: Any final on well like I don't know much about the Jewish portion of the media, but I would recommend you want to see a beautiful example of storytelling.
01:01:43.980 --> 01:01:53.010
Cynthia Benitez: Anything by Zacharias canuck especially his first film or to nashwan the fast runner it's an oldie but goodie it's from 2001 but.
01:01:53.880 --> 01:01:59.970
Cynthia Benitez: That is a beautiful example of storytelling on film from the native perspective.
01:02:00.600 --> 01:02:14.580
Cynthia Benitez: And if you're real Doc fan anything by Allah nice a bomb zone, I mean this lady is 50 plus films now and she's in her 80s and she knows how to hit issues hard, so I would recommend.
01:02:15.180 --> 01:02:29.400
Cynthia Benitez: Definitely those two kinds of films there's so many I mean I can go on and on, but I would recommend you know either going to our website American Indian si.edu for what we're screening what's coming up.
01:02:30.540 --> 01:02:38.250
Cynthia Benitez: All of our programs are free, so please feel free to check them out, if you have in the New York area or even virtually we even do it so.
01:02:39.030 --> 01:02:47.760
Cynthia Benitez: it's just been a pleasure, having you both here and you Sydney for inviting us, I mean this has been a wonderful experience and I can't wait for a part two.
01:02:49.020 --> 01:02:50.520
Sarah Podemski: Thank you for having us.
01:02:50.640 --> 01:02:51.600
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): Absolutely.
01:02:52.050 --> 01:03:02.370
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): They will definitely need a sequel I just want to echo that and I also want to say thank you to use it, the Cindy this has been so great you so many amazing questions.
01:03:02.370 --> 01:03:03.090
Cynthia Benitez: And thank you.
01:03:03.120 --> 01:03:15.570
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): I want to say thank you to Sarah and Emily again and also echo that you should check out the enemy Ai which you can check out at the link in the zoom chat and also check out our future programs as well, so thank you all so much.
01:03:17.370 --> 01:03:17.910
Sarah Podemski: Good.
01:03:19.020 --> 01:03:19.470
Sydney Yaeger (she/her): bye.
01:03:19.950 --> 01:03:20.130
Watch Other Programs from the National Museum of the American Indian
The NMAI “is the first national museum dedicated to the preservation, study, and exhibition of the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of Native Americans.” The NMAI puts on a number of programs every year related to Indigenous life. You can find many of them on their YouTube channel.
Explore the Work of Our Panelists
Sarah Podemski has starred in a number of films and television shows, and is currently starring on the FX show Reservation Dogs, which can be viewed on Hulu. Emily Bowen Cohen is an artist and comic illustrator. You can learn more on her website.
Cultural Trauma and Historical Healing
Genocide, slavery, and displacement have affected far too many communities of people. While each community’s experience is different, massive collective trauma often results in cumulative emotional and psychological wounds that are carried across generations and remain potent today. This Museum program explores historical trauma and cultural healing with experts from Jewish, American Indian, and African American communities.