In the Light of Reverence
A stunning portrait of land-use conflicts over Native American sacred sites on public and private land around the West.
Directed by Christopher McLeod
Produced by Christopher McLeod and Malinda Maynor
Narrated by Peter Coyote and Tantoo Cardinal
A Production of the Sacred Land Film Project of Earth Island Institute
A Presentation of the Independent Television Service in association with Native American Public Telecommunications with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Across the USA, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religion. Every year, more sacred sites - the land-based equivalent of the world's great cathedrals - are being destroyed. Strip mining and development cause much of the destruction. But rock climbers, tourists, and New Age religious practitioners are part of the problem, too. The biggest problem is ignorance.
"This beautifully crafted film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights." Robert Redford
IN THE LIGHT OF REVERENCE tells the story of three indigenous communities and the land they struggle to protect: the Lakota of the Great Plains, the Hopi of the Four Corners area, and the Wintu of northern California.
Grade Level: Grades 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2001
Copyright Date: 2001
DVD ISBN: 1-56029-976-2
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-890-1
"This beautifully-crafted film shows how the places most sacred to Native Americans are being both disrespected and destroyed, and how Indians are fighting back to save their own religious heritage. This film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights and deserves every opportunity to reach a broad and diverse audience."
"For those who know nothing about the denial of Native American religious freedom, this film will change minds and open hearts. For those of us already involved in the struggle to save sacred land, this film will energize and inspire."
Walter Echo-Hawk, Native American Rights Fund
"The film clearly articulates some of the issues indigenous peoples all over the world face as they struggle to prevent their spiritual beliefs from being marginalized by people who believe spiritual places are structures built by men, not the Creator."
Wilma Mankiller, author and former Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation
"This respectful, brave, and understated film, which urges the redress of profound historical errors, is itself an act of reparation. In the Light of Reverence reaches beyond cultural disputes to reveal and document the arena of human wisdom."
"The voice of native peoples has been drowned out. Instead, corporate CEOs and those Indians the corporate press has selected to be the spokespeople are featured on front pages. This film allows us to hear new and different voices."
Jack Forbes, Professor Emeritus, Native American Studies, UC Davis, Co-Founder, DQ University
"The Middle East may get the headlines, but there are battles involving sacred ground in the United States, too, as nicely documented by In the Light of Reverence, on PBS."
The New York Times
"In the Light of Reverence shines a beam on the fundamental differences between two world views, one based on individual rights - including the right to exploit the land for profit - the other, on responsibility to a community that includes people, ancestral spirits and the spirits of the forest and mountains themselves."
Sara Jean Green, Seattle Times
"Done...superbly well...a stunning example of truth being stranger than fiction. Comments from both sides of the issue could be dialog from an award-winning drama, instead of real life interviews."
Sharon Abercrombie, EARTHLight Magazine
"With its timely subject matter, even-handed approach in addressing multiple views, and excellent production values, this is highly recommended. Editor's Choice"
"A compelling comparative study of environmental and cultural threats facing three contemporary Indian nations as they strive to protect their most sacred lands...The filmmakers have done an outstanding job of delivering a remarkably accessible presentation on a very sensitive and infinitely complex issue."
Samuel R. Cook, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Anthropology Review Database
The DVD contains the following special features:
* A new short film about another threatened sacred site at Zuni Salt Lake and Quechan Indian Pass
* An extended interview with Vine Deloria, Jr., one of the most articulate spokespersons on the difference between the world views of Native Americans and the dominant culture
* The classroom version of the film, which features each of the three threatened sites as a separate film that stands on its own
* Interviews with the filmmakers
* 7 additional scenes that the filmmakers reluctantly omitted from the finished film
* What you can do to get involved in the issue and in the different pieces of legislation currently under review around the country.
Sacred Land Film Project & In the Light of Reverence web site
Teacher's Guide for Laser Printing
Lesson Plans (courtesy of POV)
Awards and Festivals
National PBS Broadcast on "POV"
Best Documentary Feature, American Indian Film Festival
Eagle Award, Taos Talking Picture Festival
CINE Golden Eagle
Chris Award, Columbus International Film Festival
Jury Award, MountainFilm, Telluride
Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Film & Digital Media, Council on Foundations Film & Video Festival
Best Documentary, Wilbur Awards
Certificate of Excellence, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Award of Excellence, Indian Summer Film & Video Image Awards
Second Place, EarthVision Environmental Film Festival
Third Place, San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
Best Cinematography/Videography Award, Siskiyou Environmental Film Festival
Native Visions, Native Voices Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford
Vermont International Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Fargo Film Festival
Taos Mountain Film Festival
Monterey Bay Film Festival
Heard Museum Indigenous Film Festival
Ozark Foothills Film Festival
Brattleboro Environmental Film Festival
Northampton Environmental Film Festival
Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival
Colorado Environmental Film Festival
"Audience Choice" Global Green Indigenous Film Festival