Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Gomeo Bobelu’ film visits Gallup amid MMIP panel cancelation

‘Gomeo Bobelu’ film visits Gallup amid MMIP panel cancelation

WINDOW ROCK – “Gomeo Bobelu” premiered at the El Morro Theater in Gallup on March 30. The film is based around Gomeo Bobelu’s life until his death in November 2022.

Diné/Taos and Jemez Pueblo AJ Goldman, from Tolani Lake, Arizona, the associate director of “Gomeo Bobelu” made the film because Bobelu had a passion for Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.

In honor of the film, Goldman had invited Josette D. Monette, the cabinet secretary of Indian Affairs Department, to talk about MMIP on a panel but didn’t show up.

“This is really disappointing,” Goldman said. “This is letting the families know––the community know that you’re present (and) with the new secretary, this is not a good way to start.”

Goldman had been corresponding with Brigitte Jordan-Mincks and Aaron Lopez, IAD’s executive assistant and communications director, respectively.

Because of Monette’s absence, the MMIP panel was canceled. “Our community must have these discussions and raise awareness about the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous people,” Goldman said.

Seeking explanation

“This abrupt change has put us in a challenging position,” AJ Goldman wrote in an email to Brigitte Jordan-Mincks, Aaron Lopez, and Josett D. Monette on March 28.

“The panel, meant to address such a critical issue, has been canceled. Our community must have these discussions and raise awareness about the ongoing crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous people,” Goldman said.

The Indian Affairs office in Santa Fe gave various reasons why Monette would not be joining, according to Goldman, who visited the office a few days before the premiere and spoke to Lopez on the phone.

To this day, Goldman has not received an exact reason to why Indian Affairs Department canceled on their participation. He requested someone from the department provide an explanation to alternate suggestions to address the critical crisis at hand.

Purpose of the film

“Gomeo Bobelu,” the 68-minute film follows Gomeo Bobelu’s life.

Bobelu, a Zuni silversmith, artist, social justice advocate, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a tribal elder was a dear friend to Goldman and director Jaima Chevalier, who made the film to seek justice for Bobelu.

Because of Bobelu’s advocacy for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives that Bobelu talked about in the film, Chevalier and Goldman began a collaborative effort with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department.

Because of circumstances, Chastity Sandoval, the co-chair, data subcommittee, victim/legal advocate for the MMIWR Task Force, and Bernadine Beyale, the founder and executive director of nonprofit 4Corners K-9 Search and Rescue in Farmington, participated in the panel discussion.

Sandoval of Haystack, New Mexico, and Beyale of Crownpoint, shared information about their roles in the MMIP movement in the Nation and values as to why their work is needed.

Chevalier came across Beyale’s organization and shared information about the film that highlights MMIP.

Although the free screening took place, any donations were to support 4Corners K-9 Search and Rescue team.

Chevalier’s friend, Sandoval, who Chevalier describes as knowledge and courageous for the work she does navigating with state, tribal, and federal levels regarding MMIP and its challenges.

Tour

The ongoing initiative, Jaima Chevalier believes Gallup is the best hope in solving the missing and murdered Indigenous women and relative’s crisis.

“You have to talk to the people that are the most affected to craft the best, most unique solution,” said Chevalier. “If we can help cast light on that, we are so grateful to have this opportunity to share the film.”

According to Chevalier, Gomeo Bobelu was heavily affected by a few of his relatives that were either murdered and/or missing.

“We want people to care,” Chevalier said. “We already know the affected people care but we want other people to start caring.”

AJ Goldman said for what happened to Bobelu, someone knows what happened.

“People need to say something,” Goldman said. “If someone knows in these events, they need to say something about it and people are not coming forward.”

Goldman addresses that most of missing and murdered cases happen on tribal lands yet no one wants to come forward about any information pertaining to cases.

“This is the hope that they (must) drive the people to say, ‘Look,’” Goldman said, regarding the film.

Picture This Production Company is set to screen two of its films, “Gomeo Bobelu” and “Lightning Unveiled,” a companion short film, at the Santa Fe Film Festival April 25-28.

Thereafter, at the New Mexico Film week in Los Alamos and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Additionally at the Old Greenbelt Theater in Greenbelt, Maryland.; San Francisco, California; Tampa, Florida; Palm Springs, California, and timidly in Canada and Monaco.

Both films were supported by grants from Three Sisters of the Southwest Foundation and New Mexico Writers.


About The Author

Boderra Joe

Boderra Joe is a reporter and photographer at Navajo Times. She has written for Gallup Sun and Rio Grande Sun and has covered various beats. She received second place for Sports Writing for the 2018 New Mexico Better Newspaper Awards. She is from Baahazhł’ah, New Mexico.

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