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

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The Battle to Save Sacred Ground: August 2016