April 21, 2015
MARCH POINT filmmakers Tracy Rector and Annie Silverstein bring together filmmaking and alternative education through their collaboration with the three young Native Americans. The film assignment sends the boys down a path of historical investigation. Like many young people, Travis, Nick and Cody didn’t know much about their ancestors’ history. By interviewing tribal elders, they learn that most of their land was taken away by the federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, leaving the Swinomish with basic health care, some fishing rights and a small reservation. President Ulysses S. Grant took more land in 1870, a move the tribe considers illegal.
The boys learn that the people now known as the Swinomish flourished on the bounty of the coast of the Pacific Northwest for thousands of years. Clams, crabs and fish were plentiful, and as the tribal saying goes, “When the tide’s out, the table’s set.” But when in the 1950s, Shell Oil built two refineries on land once owned by the tribe, chemicals made their way into the water, tainting the seafood and shellfish that the Swinomish eat daily. And just as the toxins in the water seeped into the food, poverty, drugs and alcohol have seeped into the lives of the families who live there. Ambivalent environmental ambassadors at the onset of the filmmaking venture, the boys awaken to the destruction these refineries have wrought in their communities. Grappling with their assignment through humor, sarcasm and a candid self-knowledge, they begin to experience the need to understand and tell their own stories and to grasp the power of this process to change their lives and give back to their community. MARCH POINT follows the boys’ journey on their path from childhood to adulthood as they come to understand themselves, their tribe and the environmental threat to their people.
Mde Mka Ska Canoe Nation Gathering–(Migizi Communications). The Mde Maka Ska Canoe Nations Gathering annual event is a genuine opportunity for Native American youth, parents, and community to re-engage the sacredness of water or mni wakan. Today, the Mde Maka Ska is called Lake Calhoun. Its Dakota name means White Earth Lake. For the Minneapolis-St. Paul Native American community, its proximity inspires an indigenous means to return to cultural, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. As water does for the finned nation, the Mde Maka Ska provides an appropriate environment in which to implement visions of healthier indigenous nations. Narrated by Sicangu Lakota experiential educator and event founder LeMoine LaPointe, this video by Tiana LaPointe and John Gwinn looks at the history of how and why the event started, as well as details of the 2013 event.
Location and Time:
University of St. Thomas
O’Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium (building #5 on map)
Located on Cleveland Ave. (The nearest cross-streets being Ashland Avenue and Portland Avenue)
Thank you to our sponsors:
American Indian Studies Department
American Culture and Difference Program, University of St. Thomas
Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota