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How Native Americans in the arts are preserving tradition in a changing world

“It’s a good day to be indigenous!” said KREZ radio’s scrappy DJ Randy Peone, played by the late great John Trudell in the 1998 film “Smoke Signals.” And just like that, Indian country inherited a sunny new motto, replacing the previous one, which was about, well, dying: “It’s a good day to die!” The film was celebrated — on and off the rez — for its insights into contemporary Indian country. The Los Angeles Times even noted that realism in a review, saying that when the film cited “historic injustices or contemporary issues in Native American culture, it does so with wry, glancing humor.”

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