Shaman Maria Amanchina seated by a sacred spring in the Russian Republic of Altai.
Shaman Maria Amanchina seated by a sacred spring in the Russian Republic of Altai.

“Pilgrims and Tourists” is the first of a four-part documentary, “Standing on Sacred Ground,” in which indigenous people around the world resist threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment. It will be shown in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room on Thursday (Aug. 11) at 3:30 p.m.

In this first part, traditional native people in the Russian Republic of Altai create their own mountain parks to rein in tourism and resist a gas pipeline that would cut through a World Heritage Site. In northern California, Winnemem Wintu girls grind herbs on a sacred medicine rock, as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge one of the West’s biggest dams and forever submerge their last remaining sacred sites, critical to their traditional way of life.

This series was a film project of the Earth Island Institute. It is the legacy of David Brower, who helped define the modern environmental movement.

“Standing on Sacred Ground” was shown at the Sedona Film Festival in December 2015.  It was part of 15 days of local “Climate Care Awareness” events held in conjunction with the global actions surrounding the December UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

Future ASA showings include: Profit and Loss (Papua New Guinea/Canada) on Aug. 18; Fire and Ice (Ethiopia/Peru) on Aug. 25; and Islands of Sanctuary (Hawai’i/Australia) on Sept. 1.  All will be shown at the same location, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The series has received world-wide attention and praise. Anthropologist Peter Nabokov, a UCLA professor and author, writes: “Nothing like this riveting series of four desperately urgent films about the fate of our planet has ever been seen on television.”

Written by Marcia Reinagel, Academy Village Volunteer

More Info on attending an event
Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

These events are held in the Great Room of The ASA Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center. Due to the popularity of cultural events, non-residents who wish to ensure priority seating are advised to make reservations by email at or by phone at (520) 647-0980. To learn more about the Academy, go to

Parking for visitors is in the lot behind the Community Center. All parking spaces in front of the Academy building are reserved.

The Battle to Save Sacred Ground: August 2016