Viking Union to Host 'Native Connections: Stories of Indigenous Resilience' April 28

In collaboration with WWU’s Office of Student Resilience, Children of the Setting Sun Productions, and Northwest Indian College’s Center for Health, WWU will host Emmy award winning filmmaker Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Creek Tribal Town) and mental health advocate and professional basketball player Lakota Beatty (Caddo Nation of Oklahoma) to campus for a campus and community wide gathering and film screening titled "Native Connections: Stories of Indigenous Resilience."

The event is scheduled for Friday, April 28 at 4-7 p.m. in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room. Space is limited so please register HERE if you would like to attend.   

The event will feature "Lakota," the most recent short documentary from Bell, which he produced under the mentorship of cinema icon Spike Lee as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. In the film, Lakota Beatty shares her story about the sudden passing of her younger sister. Beatty walks us through her personal journey of spiritual healing and wellness by staying connected to her Native identity and using the sport of basketball to promote holistic wellbeing. 

We will open the evening with a film from Children of the Setting Sun Productions, Native Transformations in the Pacific Northwest. The film follows four individuals from three tribes in the Pacific Northwest, as they share their experiences of strengths and resilience to overcome the impacts of the opioid crisis.  

The evening will conclude with a speaker panel featuring Kyle, Lakota, Bella James (Native Transformations) and Charene Alexander (NWIC Center for Health), as they share their stories of Native Connections and Indigenous Resilience for mental health promotion and holistic wellbeing. 

A traditional BBW salmon dinner will be provided by local Lummi catering company SeaWolf Surf and Turf. Again, PLEASE REGISTER if you plan to attend the event. This event is funded by the Sustainability, Equity, and Justice Fund and we express our sincerest gratitude for their support of important conversations about mental health and resilience. As part of their visit, Kyle and Lakota will be spending time at the Lummi Nation School and Northwest Indian College, amongst other meetings with student clubs on campus.  

This event is intended for all participants, including those with apparent or non-apparent disabilities.  For disability accommodation(s) (such as ASL interpretation, etc.) please contact Brandon Joseph at or (360) 650-2127. Advanced notice is appreciated and sometimes necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.