Documentary film series reveals threats to sacred places

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Karin Mackenzie, (808) 956-4051
Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Arts and Sciences Community and Alumni Relations
Posted: Aug 26, 2014

Toby McLeod
Toby McLeod

The Dai Ho Chun Distinguished Lecturer Series in Arts & Sciences is bringing producer/director Toby McLeod to Honolulu to present a four-part documentary series showing how indigenous communities are resisting threats to their sacred places in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment.  The series is free and open to the public.

McLeod is Project Director of Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Land Film Project. He has been working with indigenous communities as a filmmaker, journalist and photographer for more than 30 years. McLeod has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley and a BA in American history from Yale. In 1985, McLeod received a Guggenheim Fellowship for filmmaking.

The films “Pilgrims & Tourists” and “Profit & Loss” will be presented on Tuesday, September 16 (4:30-5:30 and 5:45-6:45, respectively), and the films “Fire & Ice” and “Islands of Sanctuary” will be presented on Thursday, September 18 (4:30-5:30 and 5:45-6:45, respectively). All showings will be held at the UH Mānoa Art Auditorium.

The series exposes threats to the health, livelihood and cultural survival of native people in eight communities around the world. Rare scenes of tribal life allow indigenous people to tell their own stories, and confront us with the ethical consequences of our culture of consumption. A summary of each showing follows:

"Pilgrims & Tourists" – In the Altai Republic of Russia and in northern California, indigenous shamans resist massive government projects that threaten nature and culture.

"Profit & Loss" – From Papua New Guinea to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, native people fight the loss of land, water and health to mining and oil industries.

"Fire & Ice" – From the Gamo Highlands of Ethiopia to the Andes of Peru, indigenous highland communities battle threats to their forests, farms and faith. Hope comes from the scientific discovery that traditional practices protect biodiversity and, with it, the resilience cultures need to survive.

"Islands of Sanctuary" – Aboriginal Australians and Native Hawaiians reclaim land from the government and the military, and resist the erosion of culture and environment.

This free public film series and presentation is made possible by the late Dr. Dai Ho Chun through his estate gift, which established The Dai Ho Chun Endowment for Distinguished Lecturers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Colleges of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Chun was a distinguished and visionary educator. This lecture is also sponsored by the College of Languages, Linguistics and Literature.