Fulbright Alumni Profile: Gordon Bronitsky

Fulbright Alumni Profile: Gordon Bronitsky

Gordon Bronitsky and Inuit throat singer Lois Suluk from Arviat, Nunavut, Canada, at Santa Fe Indian Market

I am an anthropologist by training (PhD Arizona 1977). In 1984-1985, I was a Senior Fulbright Professor at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, teaching Germans about American Indians and lecturing all over Europe on American Indian topics. The experience changed my life. I grew up in Albuquerque and loved the Southwest; my dissertation was on prehistoric economic change in the northern Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. My Fulbright year showed me there were people interested in my work and in working with me all over Europe. Eventually I became an academic; however, after several years, I decided that living on my knees for the rest of my life was not a meaningful lifestyle choice. And then I had to face the question—now what? I knew so many talented Native American artists and performers, and I kept asking myself—why doesn’t everyone know about them? And that’s what I decided to do—to turn up the volume for Indigenous artists and performers, traditional and contemporary.

Being welcomed to Plumtree, Zimbabwe, by Kalanga dancers and community members

For the last 25 years, I have been the founder/president of Bronitsky and Associates dba IndigeNOW!, my non-profit production arm. IndigeNOW’s mission is simple – to work with Indigenous artisans and performers to promote their incredible contributions to our world. I have been creating unique cultural experiences for over 30 years – from intimate artisan gatherings to multi-day festivals with international participation.

You name it, I have probably done it, from the deserts of New Mexico to the steppes of Mongolia. I have long-standing relationships with leading contemporary Indigenous chefs, performing artists (Navajo hip-hop anyone?) and Indigenous organizations around the world. I have created and presented cultural marketing training programs around the globe for Indigenous artists with the support of numerous governments and NGOs. For example, I served as the initiator and Executive Producer of ORIGINS: First Nations Festival which brought Indigenous theatre companies and performers from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to theaters and venues all across London. I regularly conduct arts and cultural marketing workshops in other countries, such as China and Russia, working with the U.S. State Department and countries’ cultural groups and embassies. Most recently, I organized a Navajo/Yakuts cultural summit in Yakutsk Russia, under the auspices of the United States consulate in Vladivostok. This was then followed up by a delegation of Yakuts leaders visiting Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico, for initial discussion of future projects. Lupane State University in Zimbabwe was awarded a Senior Fulbright Specialist grant which brought me to that country for three visits; one result was the creation of the TiBaKalanga! Festival in Plumtree, now in its third year. And I produced a summer of American Indian events in Vienna, with traditional and contemporary performers from the United states and Canada.

Participants in the Navajo/Yakuts cultural summit in Yakutsk, Russia, under the auspices of the US consulate in Vladiivostok

IndigeNOW! produced IndigenAHORA!—an international Indigenous hip hop concert with N8V ACE, a Navajo hip hop artist from Albuquerque, and Luanko, a Mapuche Indian hip hop artist from Chile. Discussions are now under way for a Latin American Indigenous hip hop festival—and a Navajo performing arts festival too.

My ultimate goals are the creation of

• an annual international Indigenous performing arts festival—theater, music, modern dance, and fashion
• an annual international Indigenous culinary festival,, showcasing Indigenous chefs and Indigenous food producers from around the world; and
• an annual festival celebrating creativity in Indigenous languages—literature, theater, music, film, art and more.

You can learn more about my work at Indigenow.com.

–Gordon Bronitsky

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