Native American Students Organization co-sponsors diversity film series


Dalton Patterson/The Record

NASO President Brandon VanEvery (pictured third from left) was on the panel at the latest Beyond Boundaries diversity film series.

Donte’ Hemmans-Murdock, Reporter

On Thursday April 15, there was a Beyond Boundaries: Dare to be Diverse Film Series event with The Native American Student Organization (NASO), Buffalo State Equity and Campus Diversity Office, Buffalo State Communication Department and The Burchfield Penney Art Center all co-sponsoring the series.

The film on display was called “Up Heartbreak Hill.” The event began at 7 p.m. and concluded at 9 p.m. First, they showed the film, and then questions were asked and answered about the film, along with questions about Native American diversity.

The questions were answered by a panel consisting of NASO President Brandon VanEvery, Angus Williams, who works with the Indigenous Women Network, Caleb Abrams, the event’s associate producer, and Paul Lamont, director of an upcoming film called “Luke of Betrayal”.

The film focused on a community that was located on a reservation in New Mexico, in particular on a young man named Thomas. Thomas and many other kids had thoughts of proceeding to college after high school, but the Native American community they lived in held them back. The community was constrained by poverty, alcoholism, drugs and violence, which ultimately distracted the youth.

“Many people do not know how many Native Americans are in Buffalo. They feed into stereotypes and dehumanization. Society has been diminished to one idea and that’s why I like the film,” Williams said.

“Our intention is to bring together the Buffalo community to help start conversation,” said communication professor Ruth Goldman.

The event was able to bring awareness to the people that attended. The purpose was to hopefully change the pervasive American way of thinking about Native Americans. The University at Buffalo held a very similar event pertaining to Native American diversity on the same day and time.

“People of all races and backgrounds, not just Native Americans, need to help spark their communities,” said Joyce Jamieson, a CEO at Buffalo Native Resource Center. “There is no greater reward that you can get from the community.”

As for NASO, the month of April is for Native American awareness, which is observed to help broaden its appearance to the community of Native Americans and non-Native Americans. NASO hosts movie nights, workshops and game activities to try to get students involved. The organization is always looking for volunteers and people to join upcoming events.

“As for myself, I have been trying to promote Native American awareness for everyone,” stated Brandon VanEvery. “In the long term, I am setting this organization up for a large scale of events.”

NASO will be having two more events in the month of April, on April 26 and 28.

NASO has a budget of $2,500, which does not allow them to do everything they want, and their organization cannot grow with that amount of money. VanEvery said according to the USG Constitution, they are supposed to receive a 10 percent increase each year, but this year, the organization was proposed a $5 increase.

“The budget sets us up for failure, and it is difficult to work with that amount of money,” stated VanEvery. “Other organizations receive more money than we do and they have been successful.”

The communication department, Equity and Campus Diversity Office and the Burchfield Penney Art Center sponsored NASO for the event. With help from them, the event was a success.

“Others pay more, we contribute less, and it is difficult to say it is our event,” VanEvery said. “Our biggest challenge is introducing Native American culture to the public.

The organization is always willing to accept students to join. NASO has social media so people can keep track of what they have been up to. For more information on NASO, email them at [email protected], go to and follow on Instagram @bsu_naso. The organization also meets every Monday at 4 p.m. in Campbell Student Union 105F.

email: [email protected]