Just as Columbia was wrapping up the 20th annual Native American Film Festival of the Southeast, Will Moreau Goins, chief executive officer of the Cherokee Indian Tribe of South Carolina, died. Goins was a prominent and productive member of the community, and is well-known for his integration of film and education throughout the Midlands.
Goins worked closely with The Nickelodeon to bring the Native American Film Festival of the Southeast to Columbia. Pauline Arroyo, marketing coordinator at the Nick, and the theater's director, Alison Kozberg, both remember Goins as an important figure in these types of community-inclusive events.
"He worked hard to bring people together, to lay the foundation for meaningful conversations and collaboration, and to ensure the visibility of work by Indigenous artists," they said.
One major thread that ran through Goins' work was facilitating conversation among people, so it seems a natural fit that Goins would work with the Nick, as a large part of their mission is opening up social issues for public discussion.
"Dr. Will Moreau Goins was a loyal friend to the Nick and we worked together for decades," Arroyo and Kozberg said. "He supported our efforts in arts, media, and community work."
Goins and the Nick also shared an appreciation of the role that film can play in educating the public.
"His work and legacy are overwhelmingly important and a reminder of all the people who have fought so that we might enjoy inclusive art and film programs," they said.
The Nick's Tuesday night showing of "RUMBLE: the Indians Who Rocked the World," was in Goins' memory and co-hosted by the Native American Film Festival of the Southeast.
"The Nickelodeon Theatre is saddened by the tragic passing of Dr. Will Moreau Goins," the theater said. "... Rest In Power Dear Friend."