Native American Writers Strike at Disney Studios



The Native American and Indigenous Writers committee is “one of the smallest committees in the Writers Guild, but [with] one of the loudest voices ever” according to its vice chair Aiko Little — which was evidenced by the turnout of some 100 picketers who joined the NAIWC for a strike event in front of Walt Disney Studios on Wednesday.

The NAIWC’s Disney picket was the most recent of a string of of WGA strike events over the past several weeks that have gathered writers from specific marginalized backgrounds — Trans Takeover Thursday, for example — to highlight how current working conditions are affecting them while celebrating storytellers from their communities.

After a land acknowledgement carried out by a SAG-AFTRA member protesting in solidarity with the WGA, the NAIWC introduced two performances: Eric Michael Hernandez, a world champion hoop dancer, as well as the Southern California Bird Singers.

“One of the reasons we’re fighting is for the right to tell our stories,” said “Rutherford Falls” showrunner Sierra Teller Ornelas while introducing the performances. “Just remember, as you’re entertained by what you’re seeing, that this is also us as storytellers. We need to be heard.”

The writers strike has now entered its sixth week, but Little says that Indigenous WGA members don’t find it difficult to remain energized — protest has long been a way of life for them.

“I and my community can attest to this: This is an average Tuesday for us. We are very used to being out on the frontlines, wherever we are based, to make sure that our voices are heard,” Little said. “Many of us have been working multiple jobs since day one. We have been fighting tooth and nail.”

“We’re used to survival. Whatever happens happens, as long as we’re here with one another,” they continued. “It’s gonna work out. The strike has just been another aspect of being Indigenous.”

Ornelas said that it’s the unity across cultures, age groups, guilds and professions that keeps her spirits high: “When I first moved here, I was one of the younger writers, and we were in the minority. Now, I’m the older writer, and there are so many young people who are not just invigorated, energized, but pissed and demanding more,” she said. “And around town — my reps paid for the food truck [at the NAIWC picket]. Folks from IATSE are willing to put their lives and their jobs on the line. All I want to do is match what they’re doing. It’s gym buddy mentality.”

Aiko also commented on SAG-AFTRA’s recent authorization to go on strike if the AMPTP does not meet their demands, and its contrast from the DGA board’s unanimous approval of a new AMPTP contract.

“At the end of the day, however our cousin, sister, relative communities vote, it is what it is,” they said. It sounds like SAG is by our side through and through, and we would be very grateful for that. But we’re doing whatever we can, regardless of who stands by our side. We are a very resilient guild. We’re a very resilient community.”

“I almost started crying when I saw the the SAG authorization vote,” added Ornelas. “It’s such a wildly huge union, and for them to collectively come together in that way is a beautiful thing. It put some wind in our sails that we’re all in this together.”


Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.