First off…. HAPPY 2016!!
Our film – Here and Now which tells the story of Native American tribes returning to ancestral Californian lands – will be highlighted at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Jan. 14-18, in Nevada City, CA.
“There is not one inch of land, in the United States, that was not indigenous land at one time,” says Chairman Valentin Lopez, of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. “Being able to access our land is critical to all Native Americans. While being granted access doesn’t erase the historical wrongs against our tribe, it’s a major step forward, and we are grateful to be renewing this connection to our history and Mother Earth.”
The film explores four partnerships between Native people and land conservation groups in Northern California. One such partnership features the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band’s return to Mt. Umunhum, a land that’s sacred because of its role in their creation story.
“This was the first time a tribal member had been back to their sacred mountain in 200 years,” says filmmaker Andy Miller, of Plus M Productions. Now, the tribe is building a ceremony site on the location through a partnership with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.
Here and Now was produced by the Bay Area Open Space Council, which along with encouraging conservation and connection through public lands, works to promote a larger diversity and equity vision.
Miller says he’s thrilled the film was selected for Wild & Scenic, which boasts a highly competitive field of entries with an emphasis on the environment and the outdoors. While in the middle of shooting in a dense forest, it occurred to him that the film would be a great fit for the festival.
“The energy, the people that attend, the staff and the town of Nevada City all come together to create the perfect atmosphere to screen conservation films like Here and Now,” Miller says. “You can actually feel the movement gaining real traction over the course of the weekend.”
Through partnerships like the ones featured in the film, little by little, access and ownership are being restored to Native peoples. Audiences hear from local tribes, a working farm, a local land trust, an open space district, and a national land trust. Access to almost 1,000 acres of land in the Bay Area is being restored — and changing lives along the way.
“During the making of this film the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians finalized the purchase of 700 acres,” says Annie Burke, the producer of the film and Deputy Director at the Bay Area Open Space Council. “It was inspiring to be a part of it, and to help tell this story of social justice and environmental conservation.”
The organizations featured in the film include the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, Kashia Band of the Pomo Indians, Pie Ranch, Sempervirens Fund, Midpeninsula Open Space District and The Trust for Public Land. The content provides just a suggestion of the many possible partnerships.
“The partnerships we have with Trust for Public Land and other conservation organizations have so much potential to do more,” says Chairman Reno Franklin of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. “We are optimistic about what’s possible by working together.”
Here and Now will screen at Friday evening, Jan. 15, Vet’s Hall, and Saturday afternoon, Jan. 16, Yuba River Charter School, at Wild & Scenic, Nevada City and Grass Valley, CA. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org.