We Are Birds

From the left: Aubrey Hicks, Chris Finley, Frankie Morreo, Derek Duro, Jonathan Schwartz, Joanelle Romero, and Albert Chacon

“Ay, every generation, every man is a part of his past.
He cannot escape it, but he may reform the old materials, make something new –”
Rudolfo Anaya

For many indigenous people living in the US today, the past had been cut off from them. We Are Birds Director Albert Chacon discovered this history through the tradition of birdsinging – bird songs are the oral tradition of passing down the family’s story through song and dance. The old rituals designed to keep history and spirit of the family and tribe alive.

As Chacon discovered the traditions, he began talking with other birdsingers and discovered others in the same situation. There men and women were also finding out about their history through this tradition and building new ways to (re)create ritual and community meaning. We Are Birds is the result of interviews at powwows and other events on Southern California reservations.

Here is our conversation with Chacon and several birdsingers in this documentary. Thanks to so much to everyone involved in the podcast, what a joyous conversation!

If you haven’t seen the documentary, beware, we do talk about the whole film and there may be spoilers.

Host Jonathan Schwartz is joined by :

Albert Chacon (Writer, Director, Editor)
Derek Duro (Head Birdsinger, Dancer)
Frankie Morreo (Birdsinger, Dancer)
Joanelle Romero (Founder, CEO Red Nation Celebration Inst, Red Nation Film Festival)
Chris Finley (USC Assistant Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity)


If you haven’t seen the documentary, beware, we do talk about the whole film and there may be spoilers.

@BedrosianCenter@jonHLYP@CaliNDN @NDNCinema


Watch the film on vimeo!
We Are Birds on
Tribal Nations Maps
The Exiles





Listen to individual episodes on the Price Projection Room page, or subscribe at ApplePodcastsSoundcloudSpotify, or your favorite podcasting app.

This podcast is part of a series on Indigenous films in partnership with the Red Nation Celebration Institute, and the Red Nation Film Festival. It is brought to you by Price Video Services and USC Bedrosian Center, and continues ongoing efforts to bring policy and its impact into the public discourse.
Sound supervision by the Brothers Hedden.

Aubrey Hicks is the Executive Director at the Bedrosian Center, where she oversees day-to-day operations and strategic planning for the Center. She was the Managing Editor, Journal of Public Policy. Prior to joining the Bedrosian Center, Aubrey was the Program Coordinator at The POGIL Project, a national professional development organization for educators. She also served as an academic reference librarian and worked in marketing and administration at Elsevier Science and Cornell University Press. She holds a degree in English from Moravian College and an MS in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jonathan Schwartz Jonathan Schwartz has spent over 10 years in the corporate video space with a specialization in production and marketing to fully realize, protect, and enhance a company’s brand through video. Projects that Jonathan has produced/directed have been featured in national marketing campaigns - distributed both on the web and broadcast television. Jonathan also has an extensive technical background which he leverages to build state of the art and award winning digital delivery systems. Currently, Jonathan is the Director of Video Productions and Operations at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy where he has designed and implemented cost-effective streaming and video solutions/workflows which has allowed the University to reduce costs and bring production in-house. Jonathan came to USC from Celebrity Cruises, where he designed and implemented their on-board closed circuit IP-TV station / delivery system for their Solstice Class of ships. Jonathan also has a passion for the narrative space, and produces / directs short films that are often featured in film festivals around the country. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California - School of Cinematic Arts.