Thomas Banyacya speaks in Chaco Canyon

The Earth Quakes

A few days ago, late in the afternoon, I was editing footage of shamans in Siberia’s Altai Mountains when the phone rang and I heard the familiar voice of my old friend Jose Lucero of Santa Clara Pueblo calling from New Mexico. Jose said he recently received an audio tape in the mail containing an interview with Thomas Banyacya, the Hopi spokesman we both worked with in the 1980s and ’90s…

Tying It All Together

Our boat left Maui at dawn and headed south across calm water toward Kaho‘olawe. With a group of 60 Native Hawaiians, we floated our film gear through the surf — in watertight Pelican cases — to a rocky beach. Above us loomed eroding red slopes overgrazed by goats for a century and bombed by the U.S. Navy for 50 years before determined Hawaiian activists won the island back to native control in 1994…

More Than a Pretty Picture

The woman selling bananas smiles at me, warmly, excited. I snap her picture, then, like so many times before, I spin my camera around so she can see herself in the camera’s LCD display. Onlookers gather round. They point at the photo and nod excitedly, give me the thumbs up, and go back to studying the screen.

Visionary Cultural Use Plan for Kahoʻolawe

I traveled to Oahu, Molokai and the Big Island last week, continuing discussions with Native Hawaiians about our proposal to make the ongoing saga of Kahoʻolawe Island one of the eight stories in Standing on Sacred Ground. This was my fourth research trip over two years to meet with members of Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana and the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, and I am very happy to report that we reached an “agreement in principle” to go forward.