"IMAGINING THE INDIAN, The Fight Against Native American Mascoting"

"ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES OF 2023!" -The Washington Post
I M A G I N I N G  T H E  I N D I A N

Coming to Amazon, Apple TV & DVD
February 6th!

The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City football team will be defending their title in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11, at Super Bowl LVIII.

What's indefensible is that same Kansas City team, with the tacit approval of the NFL and NFL team owners, will once again be allowed to flaunt its name and logo that many Native Americans find, to say the least, offensive.

Five days before Super Bowl LVIII, on Tuesday, February 6, the award-winning documentary Imagining The Indian will be available on Amazon, Apple TV, and DVD.  

Ben West, Imagining The Indian is a comprehensive look at the movement to eradicate the words, images, and gestures that many Native Americans and their allies find harmful, demeaning, and offensive.

The film examines mascoting issues through archival footage and interviews with those involved in the fight. It shows how teams such as the Kansas City football team has refused to consider a change and brings a new attention and urgency to the issue.
Film Website

"ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES OF 2023!" - The Washington Post

"Ben West’s and Aviva Kempner’s pulsatingly argued, wide-ranging, and occasionally seething documentary...Viewers afterward will hopefully think twice before casually tossing around the slur representing Washington D.C.’s football team until just last year. But learning that over 2,000 high schools across the country still using Native-themed mascots – all those R-words, Indians, Chiefs and Braves – gives the viewer a sense of the deep entrenchment for this disgraceful slice of symbolized history, which has been shown in studies referenced in the documentary to directly impact the mental health of young Native peoples everywhere." 
- Los Angeles Times.


Directed by Aviva Kempner & Ben West
95 minutes | color | English | 2022
© Copyright 2022 The Ciesla Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Suzan Shown Harjo Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills
U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo
Broadcasting Legend Bob Costas
National Museum of the American Indian Founding Director Emeritus W. Richard West Jr
U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin
& many more

Streaming and DVD Launch Date: 2/6/2024
Streaming platforms include Amazon & Apple TV
DVD SRP: $19.95 | DVD UPC: 8-54565-00411-5

Link for readers to Pre-Book the DVD!

Director Bios: Aviva Kempner & Ben West

Aviva Kempner

Washington, DC based filmmaker Aviva Kempner (Co-Director, Co-Producer) makes award winning documentaries about underknown Jewish heroes and social justice for over 44 years. Kempner completed A Pocketful of Miracles: A Tale of Two Siblings (2023), which chronicles the heroism of the two Ciesla Foundation namesakes, Helen Ciesla Covensky and David Chase—siblings who survived the Holocaust separately and managed to reunite after the war.  She is presently completing a documentary on screenwriter and political activist Ben Hecht in 2024. Kempner is also making Pissed Off, a documentary short exploring the struggles faced by female lawmakers in Congress who advocated for potty parity in the United States Capitol In 2019, she premiered her fifth commercially-released film, The Spy Behind Home Plate (2019), which is about baseball player and OSS spy Moe Berg. Her other films include Rosenwald (2015), a documentary about how Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington in establishing over 5,000 schools for African Americans in the Jim Crow South and supported major African American artists and intellectuals, Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg (2009), about Gertrude Berg, who created the first television sitcom; and the Emmy-nominated and Peabody-awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998), about the Hall of Famer who faced anti-Semitism during the ’30s.  Both Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, and Hank Greenberg grossed over a million dollars at the box office and are highly ranked, along with Rosenwald, on Rotten Tomatoes.  She also produced the award-winning documentary Partisans of Vilna (1986), about Jews fighting the Nazis. Kempner also co-wrote and is co-producing the dramatic script Casuse with fellow Imagining the Indian director and producer Ben West. The film is about the Navajo activist Larry Casuse, who Kempner knew while a VISTA volunteer in New Mexico in the early ’70s. While attending the Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., Kempner interned at the Office of the Solicitor at the Department of Interior’s Indian Affairs. Upon graduation, she worked at the National Tribal Chairman’s Association and the National Conference of American Indians.

Kempner is an activist and advocate for statehood for Washington, D.C. as a board member of DC Vote.

Ben West
Ben West (Co-Director, Co-Producer) (Cheyenne) is a freelance writer/producer, filmmaker and a consultant with the Ciesla Foundation. He spent many years in television production at Carsey-Werner Mandabach LLC, and has worked on feature films for companies like Mandalay Pictures, Telenova Productions, and outlets such as the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. He is currently developing content for television and film. In addition to his endeavors in entertainment, he is Cheyenne and an advocate for Native American rights. West was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and is a graduate of the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. In 2023, West founded Rena Flying Coyote Collective, a non-profit dedicated to telling the stories of Indigenous peoples through film, television, and the arts.

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