Panel Laughter as Medicine: The Power of Native American Comedy

They say “laughter is the best medicine,” but the most powerful medicine of all might just be American Indian comedy. Native peoples on this continent developed rich and complex humor traditions in response to centuries of oppression and the intergenerational trauma of ongoing settler colonization. Jokes were and are used to reflect on life’s ironies, impart wisdom, build relationships, and help heal from pain. Comedy can be one of the most effective tools in the arsenal of Indigenous strategies of deep cultural resilience, and as we emerge from this global pandemic and continue to struggle with dire threats to our people and the planet, we need the healing medicine of laughter more than ever. Share some laughter and learning with two leading comedic stars: Oakland-based (Yerington Paiute/Washoe) stand-up comedian, writer, actor and producer Jackie Keliiaa; and Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota/Dine), artist, poet, activist (with the Indigenous Environmental Network), Dakota culture/language teacher, and co-founder of the Indigenous comedy group, The 1491s. Hosted by Cara Romero (Chemehuevi), Program Director of Bioneers’ Indigeneity Program and renowned artist/photographer.

November 11th | 12:45 pm to 2:00 pm


Cara Romero
Co-Director of Bioneers Indigeniety Program
Dallas Goldtooth
Keep It in the Ground Campaign Organizer
Indigenous Environmental Network
Jackie Keliiaa
Comedian, Writer and Producer
Bioneers 2019 Conference - Seeding the Field: Growing Transformative Movements
Bioneers 2020 Conference - Beyond the Great Unraveling: Weaving the World Anew
Bioneers 2020 Conference - Beyond the Great Unraveling: Weaving the World Anew