Environment

November 1, 2016
The tiny town of KIVALINA lies on a fragile barrier island along the Chukchi Sea, 83 miles above the Arctic Circle.

On June 7, 1964, a driving rain buckled dams and flooded vehicles on the Blackfeet Reservation, sweeping crying children from mothers’ arms, and ferrying homes and bodies across the prairie. By the time it ended, more than two-dozen Blackfeet Indians had drowned in the worst natural disaster in Montana history. More than a half-century after the worst disaster in Montana history, two Blackfeet families struggle to come to terms with the 1964 flood.

Today, only 41 fluent Native speakers of the Kodiak Alutiiq language remain, mostly Elders.

A provocative film from the American Indian perspective that reframes today’s controversial energy debate while the fate of the environment hangs in the balance. Red Power Energy illustrates the complex realities of Indian reservations grappling with how to balance their natural resources with their traditional beliefs.

Lake of Betrayal looks at the Seneca Nation’s fight to protect its sovereignty against a backdrop of a federal Indian Termination policy, pork-barrel politics, and undisclosed plans for private hydro-power generation. The documentary takes a long view of the imposed changes on the Seneca’s way of life that have led to major economic benefits and irreplaceable cultural losses.

Worlds collide in the Tongass Forest, when the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act turns tribes into corporations and sparks a lengthy logging frenzy. A story of division and redemption plays out between a Tlingit brother and sister, showing the possibility of healing both the forest and the native community.

Walking in Two Worlds journeys to the Tongass to reveal its splendor and shed light on the devastation and division resulting from the Settlement Act. The Tongass is rich with old-growth trees, salmon-filled rivers and wildlife. Alaska’s Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes have depended on this forest for their culture and survival.

Through the Repellent Fence: A Land Art Film is an hour-long documentary film exploring the visceral and transformative power of Land Art and the perspective it offers to further understanding our complex relationship with the environment. The film follows PostCommodity—an arts collective currently constructing a two-mile long outdoor artwork that crosses the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona.

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to take their land to build Kinzua Dam, the Seneca people stand up to the government and prevailing political forces of the 1950s and 60s to save their culture, their sovereignty, and their way of life to preserve their future. This film explores the history of Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania and its impact on the Seneca Nation.

For over 50 years, archaeologist Dr. Douglas Anderson, of Brown University, studied the Iñupiaq Natives of Northwestern Alaska. When one of the last excavations of his career shuts down due to the discovery of human remains, he must rely on the relationships he has built with the Iñupiaq. Policy dictates that archaeological excavations on National Park Service land must stop when remains are found and all living descendants be notified. Are the relationships between Anderson and the Iñupiaq based purely on his own academic pursuits?

The efforts of one dying woman to preserve her Native culture don’t end when she passes, but prompts a renewal in finding pride in that culture. She confronts the violent event over two centuries ago that began the destruction of her people and the shame that colonialism created.

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A provocative film from the American Indian perspective that reframes today’s controversial energy debate while the fate of the environment hangs in the balance.

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Educators

Complement classroom discussion about America's energy future with this film, and help students comprehend the debate about the best use of natural resources.