Savage and Alive: Native Students Respond on Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Native American students at Dartmouth College produce videos to challenge mainstream stereotypes.

By Aura Bogado Oct 08, 2012

Savage Media has released a new video for Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In it, Native students from Dartmouth College respond to The Spanish Requirement of 1513–in which Spain declared that it was ordained by God to take possession of what is known today as the Americas–with their own "Requiremento of 2012."

Founded by Autumn White Eyes, Preston Wills, and Taylor Payer, three Native Dartmouth students, Savage Media has produced five videos in as many months. In a phone interview today, Wells said the group was inspired The 1491’s, a Native sketch comedy group that visited the campus last year, and challenged students there to make their own videos.

While Dartmouth College is known to have graduated more Native American students than all of the other Ivies combined, the school also traditionally used an Indian mascot. Although the offensive mascot was phased out in 1974, students and alums still sport the image on t-shirt on and off campus. Wells explained that Dartmouth has "swept the [Indian mascot] issue under the rug, as if it was never used on football uniforms." Just last year, a Dartmouth sophomore produced and marketed an offensive t-shirt with a play on the Indian mascot. "Something like that happens every year," added Wells.

The group is also raising funds to create their own website and t-shirts. Supporters have eight days to raise a little more than $100 needed to reach their $500 goal. Because Savage Media is independent of, and receives no funding from Dartmouth, they use personal or borrowed equipment to create their videos. Members are hoping to able to raise enough money to have some equipment and props of their own. It’s likely that Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2012 will mark the day these students raise the funds they need to tell their own stories.