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Screening and Discussion: “Stories I Didn’t Know”

April 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Stories I didn't know

A search for her Irish ancestors leads a woman down an unexpected path to a family secret about a sacred piece of land. YOU CAN PAY ADMISSION AT THE DOOR TONIGHT. 18 years and under receive free admission.

Rita Davern exposes an ugly reality at the heart of a family legend. Her family members have always been proud to say that their great grandparents once owned Pike Island, a beautiful piece of land at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. But when Rita relates what happened to the people who lived there before, some family members react with understanding, others with arguments and anger. Rita’s attempts to understand what happened and why leads her on a journey that requires facing the complicated legacy of westward expansion in the U.S. Along the way she meets Ramona, a Dakota educator. What Ramona’s ancestors experienced because of U.S. government policies puts faces and names on this story. Rita listens and learns.

This is an award winning documentary by Rita Davern and Melody Gilbert. Learn more at its website.

Director Rita Davern, Dakota educator Ramona Kitto Stately and recording artist Reuben Kitto Stately (stage name KITTO), will be present for the screening and Q&A session following the film.

Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. Her educational background includes a BA in Dakota Art and Culture and a MA Ed in Teacher Leadership. She spent 15 years directing Indian Education for the Osseo Area School District 2005-2020 and currently she serves as the Project Director of We Are Still Here Minnesota, creating action for narrative change (https://washmn.org/). 

Ramona is the mother of two children, an accomplished beadwork artist with moccasins on display in the Science Museum of Minnesota, a part of the scholars’ team with the Minnesota Humanities Center’s for Learning from Place: Bdote and has served as the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2016.

Reuben Kitto Stately, stage name Kitto, is a recording artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has been writing and recording music for 10 years. He says, “My goal with my music is to harmonize the happy & sad times and celebrate both good & bad experiences. I believe when I rap about my personal experience, and I validate other Indigenous youth who relate to it. I hope this makes them not feel so alone in our collective need for healing.” Reuben, a graduate of Augsburg University, served as president of the Augsburg Indigenous Student Association. He is a Dakhota Language learner and teacher, and member of Minnesota Indian Education Board of Directors since 2019. Reuben is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation.

Rita Davern is a 4th generation Minnesotan with cultural roots in the Burren area of County Clare, Ireland. She knows first-hand that, for U.S. people with European heritage, reconnecting to our homeland and our cultural history adds huge richness to our lives. 

Rita has been a regular visitor to her grandmother’s birthplace in County Clare. Little did she know that uncovering her past would lead to two feature-length documentary films. Stories I Didn’t Know is Rita’s first film. The second film, Burren Girl, focuses on the Ireland part of her family story and the people who stayed behind. Both films won audience awards at their premieres in 2020.

Youth 18 years and under are admitted for free. This event is part of 2024 Irish Arts Week



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April 26
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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CJAC’s Performance Hall
836 Prior Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55104 United States
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