CA Tribe Fights Wind Farm on Sacred Land

As bulldozers began clearing the site of a new wind-energy facility in the desert of western Imperial County, California — ripping up forests of ocotillo cacti, damaging sensitive wildlife habitat and threatening ancestral graves of the Quechan Tribe — tribal members and their allies stood outside the La Jolla corporate offices of Pattern Energy on May 15, demanding a halt to the project.

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…

Power Lines

Where do you get your power? Does it emerge from the ground beneath your feet? Do you look to the sky or to the waters for it? Does it coalesce within your community? As power flows towards you, does it render others’ lives bleak while it brightens yours? Will your great grandchildren’s great grandchildren be fortunate enough to derive their power from the same places as you do?

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.

Eye on McArthur River

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.