We have to remember those seeds
to our existence that have always been there.
Definition of Resilience is a four episode radio and video documentary series highlighting the dynamic stories of Native American hip-hop MCs. INDIGEFI host Alexis Sallee travels to document their contribution to modern music. Each episode follows two artists who share their story and Indigenous history. Through interviews, we hear personal stories from addiction and identity to boarding schools and generational trauma. We see these artists’ powerful lyrical and artistic expression work to uplift their communities and inspire youth. From Minnesota to Alaska, seven rappers bring insight and emotional rawness in exploring disconnection and reconnection to Native culture.
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featuring Giizhigookwe and Thomas X
Preserving language, battling stereotypes, and rising up from trauma, we follow Giizhigookwe and Thomas X as they give back to their communities. Taking lessons from elders, these two MCs from Northern Minnesota use their music to empower the next generation.
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featuring Mic Jordan and Tall Paul
Mic Jordan and Tall Paul share personal stories around identity. We find out how, despite growing up without a parental figure, struggling with alcohol or dealing with anxiety, they became the role models they wanted as kids.
I want to help preserve this language by bringing it to hip-hop.
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featuring Quese IMC and Calina Lawrence
Visiting the local hip-hop community in Oklahoma and the Suquamish reservation in Washington, Quese IMC and Calina Lawrence show us what happens when we come together as a People.
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featuring AK Rebel and AKU-MATU
Representing Alaska Native culture, AK Rebel and AKU-MATU talk about the effects of colonization. As they share their stories, we hear how they bring healing and a warrior mentality to their music.
I want them to feel like they can see themselves or hear themselves in the music — like their ancestors are coming through the music.
About the filmmakers
Alexis Sallee grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, of Iñupiaq descent. Her love of sound for film and music started at an early age and found its focus in radio. She worked as a sound editor of local and national programming for the Anchorage based Koahnic Broadcast Corporation after graduating high school. In 2010, Alexis moved to Florida to attend Full Sail University where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Recording Arts. Taking her skills to L.A., she continued working with Koahnic, now as a host and producer. She pioneered special productions such as “Iñupiaq Drum and Dance: A Cultural Renaissance,” which garnered a 2017 First Place Native American Media Award. Alexis currently resides in Ventura, CA where she hosts INDIGEFI and is going into her seventh year working in the audio post-production industry. Some of her film and television credits include Oculus, Poltergeist, Before I Wake, Birth of the Dragon, Wish Upon, Bravo’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, and NBC’s Allegiance. She also served as Sound Supervisor for the Showtime documentary Play It Forward.
TOMÁS KARMELO AMAYA
Tomás Karmelo Amaya is Yaqui (Yoeme), Zuni (A:shiwi), and Tarahumara (Rarámuri). He is a photographer, creative director, filmmaker, and writer born, raised, and currently based in Phoenix, AZ. His professional career in photography began while he was completing his bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Raised by storytellers and healers, he fought to embrace his indigeneity even in environments that wanted to suppress his Native voice and values. His work has been known to empower communities by way of high-quality, striking images that show dignity, respect, and cultural sensitivity for the land, people, and items he is honoring. His clients include The Sundance Institute, BuzzFeed News, The Guardian, Northwestern University, The Fader, Pacific Standard Magazine, BBC News, among several others.
Funding provided by
National Endowment for the Arts
The CIRI Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation Progressive and Social Justice Fund of the Alaska Community Foundation
Cook Inlet Tribal Council
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium