April 21, 2016
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.
Location and Time:
University of St. Thomas
John Roach Center auditorium (JRC 126), which is located on the corner of Summit and Cleveland Avenues.
Building 2 on St. Thomas Campus Map
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