Gather is a new project currently in production that explores the state of Native American Food Sovereignty thru film, photography and print journalism.
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Getting the land back is just the first step.
If you haven’t watched Gather, maybe this weekend is a good time to. On Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo On Demand (see link in profile).
@nephi_craig @apachefarmer @apachepeoplesfarm @cafe_gozhoo
Here’s a scene from one of our previous movies @3100film in which one of the supporting cast members, Shaun Martin (Diné) endeavors to pay tribute to his Father, medicine man Allan Martin. Allan was forcibly kidnapped from his family’s homesite on the western areas of the Rez, as early as 6 years old and taken 110 miles south to Leupp, Arizona. Allan began regularly escaping, following the Little Colorado River for 6 days until he reached home.
He’d save breadcrumbs and other scraps to fuel his journey and would only move at night, to evade school patrols. He did it every year, each time getting captured again shortly after returning home.
Dozens of his classmates attempted similar journeys. Some survived. Many did not. These were CHILDREN. Six, seven, eight year old kids, wandering through the high desert alone, for days - in the vicious cold and heat. With animals everywhere. Imagine how unsafe a kid would have to feel to leave shelter for uncertainty like this.
Shaun, an ultra marathoner, started a prayer run at the site of the old school and ran 110 miles through ravines and canyons to end up at the ancestral homesite.
Allan’s experiences were so traumatic that he never took his sons or wife to that homesite, until the filming of 3100 Run and Become (on Amazon). Shaun’s arrival there (via GPS) was the first time he’d ever been there.
The film is about a number of running traditions, but Shaun’s story is worth the time in and of itself.
What was uncovered in Canada (an unmarked burial site for 215 students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School) is the tip of the iceberg.
Residential schools have caused such a profound amount of trauma. So many elders simply cannot speak of the physical and sexual and psychological assault they faced in these genocidal labs. And yes they were by all definitions genocidal - according to the definition of genocide, one of the criteria includes separation and destruction of culture. And we know as well that a number of young girls were given forced sterilizations. And that too - as horrific as it is - is a step away from what was revealed at Kamloops.
It’s all just too painful.
The military advantage Europeans had over the Indigenous of Turtle Island were horses and guns (and, later, disease).
The thirteen colonies pushed toward a Revolution because of issues around land (in part). Remember, the entire Eastern seaboard was not *wilderness* but a carefully cultivated map of farm land and other food supporting ecosystems. The Anglo Europeans (as opposed to the Spaniards) recognized the extractive value in this preciously preserved topsoil. Rather than mine gold, they mined carbon, transforming regenerative farmland into massive mono-cropped plantations that generated tremendous wealth. Of course, this “economy of scale” depended on stolen land and stolen labor.
By 1763, in just 150 years, American farmers had so depleted the topsoil of the East that they clamored to push over the Appalachian range and steal more land. But, that push would need British Military support. Why? The Indigenous would come back again and again to try to retake their land and these American “Farmers” needed ammunition, garrisons and supply chains.
The British had just issued the Royal Proclamation of 1763, forbidding settling west of the Appalachians and ceding that land to Natives (as if it weren’t already Natives’ land). And American farmers were livid. Economists say this was the first major stimulus of the Revolutionary War.
One of the first things the new American congress did post War was open up these territories, destroying the sovereignty set into law by the British. And expanding the American economy again w/ guns and bullets.
Bullets upheld the economy and kept the power toward white land owners vs Natives and African Americans. Nothing has changed.
Ledger art by @montileauxart
As you well know, we did not expect anyone outside Indian country to have any interest in this project much less non-Native media organizations. It moves us beyond imagination to see the sort of dialogue that has begun and the right and proper elevation of Indigenous people in leading these conversations. No longer will Indigenous people simply stand on the sidelines or deferentially accept a mere seat at the table. Diversity and inclusion does not equate to acceptance of leadership.
And the critical issues plaguing the world right now require more than just a seat at the table. Gather was created to show the urgency of giving stewardship and leadership back to those who have the capacity to heal the world and not those who continue to destroy it.
We are profoundly grateful to all those who considered us for this award. And we are so honored to share the stage with @whetstonemagazine 🙏🏽🙏🏽
Hope you all enjoy. Please follow Native running organization @wings_of_america to support Shaun’s efforts. And please subscribe to the Running Realized podcast everywhere you get your pods.