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.
The Standing on Sacred Ground film series follows the story of Aboriginal communities seeking to reverse Australia’s rapid environmental degradation and prevent further losses of their revered sites. After a successful court battle to stop Xstrata zinc mine from expanding, the Northern Territory Parliament enacted legislation that overturned the legal decision and allowed the diversion of the river.
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.