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In the short documentary Future Ancestor, artist and scholar Lyla June embarks on a seven-day fast on the steps of the Capitol building in Santa Fe, symbolizing her intention to care for the next seven generations. At the time, she was running for a seat in the New Mexico state legislature. Her mission was to bring Indigenous culture and values, as a Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) woman, into the political sphere. Though she didn’t end up winning, that mission has persisted in her work on, among other things, the Seven Generations New Deal. 

The film was created by photographer and videographer Josué Rivas (Mexica and Otomi), whose work showcases contemporary Indigenous identity in the U.S.

Both leaders in their respective fields, June and Rivas took to Grist’s Instagram account earlier this week to discuss their work, what drives them, and what they have learned from each other. In these excerpts from that conversation, they discuss their process in creating the film together, and June shares about her current research on Indigenous food systems. Watch the full conversation on Grist’s Instagram.

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