If you ever read my posts, I talk about how I am not generally star-struck into silence or nervousness – like the way I was when I met George W. Bush.
So one of these celebrities that did not impact me in the way President George W. Bush did is Leonardo Di’Caprio.
Do not get me wrong, I like his movies. But I suppose for me, it was the purpose, the environment, the oddity of the entirety of it all.
I was invited, as the President/CEO of Sitnasuak Native Corporation to a get-together at the GCI Office on Gambell Street in Anchorage – near Sears Mall.
I was not sure what it was all about.
It turned out to be a video conference meeting hosted by Alice Rogoff. Why we were in a GCI office was odd to me.
The presentation began, which Alice introduced. It was Leonardo’s father and another gentleman from Juneau that adapted a story into a screenplay about Point Hope, Alaska.
It was along the lines of bomb testing that was going to take place in Point Hope years ago, but was stopped by the local natives.
I am certain I have the details incorrect, but the story was extremely inspirational. But, because I am an Alaska Native, I do not view us as underdogs, and the story was more of a diary or another day in the life – in my worldview.
If there is a problem, we learn rapidly how to communicate in another culture’s way so they understand. These things seem 1st nature to me. However, I am coming to understand that there are others who do not share that experience – much less have a desire to understand or see or care.
That was the oddity to me at that moment. I do not see – and did not see – how this story was significant from the viewpoint from an outsider looking at us.
It felt diminishing and I did not like that. It felt marginalizing – like this would be portrayed as a momentary event in Eskimo Power.
Again, I could be off-base. But I did not like it.
The discussion commenced about logistics. Bypassing the utmost importance of questions in my mind.
So I spoke up.
I spoke directly to Leonardo and said, “I appreciate being invited here for this opportunity. I represent the AK Native Corporation, Sitnasuak. We are based in Nome, Alaska. I see that there are other ANC Regional Corporations here. Although, Point Hope is a neighbor of ours, I wonder why are they not here? Why is their Village Corporation not here? And to go a bit more into this financial opportunity, what is your projected return on investment for the amount of money you are requesting for this movie? Because, I will need to bring that information before our board of directors for their consideration”.
He responded, we are very good at what we do.
Well, undoubtedly so. I already knew that – but the other question about why was Point Hope not there; I do not recall a clear answer.
For me, it was not our story to tell. It was theirs.
I simply asked him about return on investment to make him feel what it is like to have his life and value questioned.