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Standing on Sacred Ground Film Screenings

December 4, 2014 @ 6:00 pm - December 5, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

(Screening details below)

December 4 @ 6:00pm at Salt Lake City Public Library, Nancy Tessman Auditorium
December 5 @ 2:00 pm at University of Utah, Museum of Fine Arts, Dumke Auditorium

From the internationally acclaimed Sacred Lands Film Project, The Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment presents films from the Project’s series “Standing on Sacred Ground.”

Welcome and introduction by Utah author Terry Tempest Williams and discussion with Director Christopher (Toby) McLeod and Rupert Steele, former tribal Chairman, Goshute Tribe of Utah


The Standing On Sacred Ground Film Project
Indigenous communities around the world are increasingly resisting threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment. In the Standing On Sacred Ground films, native peoples sharing ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence, challenge the utilitarian view of land reflected in government megaprojects, consumer culture, resource extraction and climate change. The films in this series expose threats to native peoples’ health, livelihoods, and cultural survival in eight communities around the world. Indigenous peoples tell their own stories—and confront us with the ethical consequences of our culture of consumption. As Director Toby McLeod reflects: listening to Hopi elders, I first understood the message of a chorus of indigenous voices around the World: that the environmental crisis is a spiritual crisis—the absence of a conscious connection to land and water inevitably lead to violence and threatens all life. Each film I have produced explores this environmental-spiritual crisis…  Standing on Sacred Ground Trailer »

Thursday, December 4, 2014
6:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake City Public Library, Nancy Tessman Auditorium (210 East 400 South, 84111)
[Discussion: Director Toby McLeod and Utah author Terry Tempest Williams with Rupert Steele, former tribal Chairman, Goshute Tribe of Utah]

6:00 – 6:15 PM  Introductions and introductory comments
6:15 – 7:10 PM – 1st Film: Pilgrims & Tourists
7:10  – 7:25 PM – Brief discussion
7:25  – 7:55 PM – 2nd Film: Profit & Loss (Canadian Tar Sands film only)
7:55 – 8:40 PM – Extended discussion
8: 45 – Vacating theater by 9:00 PM

Friday, December 5, 2014
2:00 p.m. at the University of Utah, Museum of Fine Arts, Dumke Auditorium (410 Campus Center Dr, 84112)

[Additional sponsors: Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program & American West Center]

2:00 – 2:15 PM– Introductory comments (Director Toby McLeod)
2:15 — 3:10 PM – Film: Profit and Loss
3:10  — 3:25 PM – Brief discussion
3:25  –  4:20 PM – Film: Islands of Sanctuary
4:20 –   5:20 – Extended discussion

The Films

Pilgrims and Tourists

  • In the Russian Republic of Altai, a pristine mountain region in southern Siberia, traditional native people create their own mountain parks to rein in tourism­, and resist state-run energy giant Gazprom’s plans to run a pipeline to China through a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • In northern California, Winnemem Wintu girls grind herbs on a medicine rock as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge one of the West’s biggest dams, which would forever submerge this touchstone of the tribe.
  • Insights on the growing global indigenous movement for human rights and environmental protection are offered by Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe), Oren Lyons (Onondaga), Satish Kumar and Barry Lopez. Narrated by Graham Greene (Oneida), with storyteller Tantoo Cardinal (Metis).

Profit and Loss

From New Guinean rainforests to Canada’s tar sands, Profit and Loss exposes industrial threats to native peoples’ health, livelihood and cultural survival.

  • In Papua New Guinea, a nickel mine that violently relocated villagers to taboo land is building a new pipeline and refinery, and dumping mining waste into the sea.
  • In Alberta, First Nations people suffer from rare cancers as their traditional hunting grounds are stripmined for tar sands to unearth the world’s third-largest oil reserve.

Intimate interviews allow indigenous people to tell their own stories – and confront us with the ethical consequences of our culture of consumption. Narrated by Graham Green (Oneida).

Islands of Sanctuary

In Australia’s Northern Territory, Aboriginal clans maintain Indigenous Protected Areas and resist the destructive effects of a mining boom. In Hawai`i, indigenous ecological and spiritual practices are used to restore the island of Kaho`olawe after 50 years of military use as a weapons testing range. Featuring Patrick Dobson (Yawuru), Davianna McGregor (Hawai`ian), Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe), Oren Lyons (Onondaga), philosopher Satish Kumar and author Barry Lopez. Narrated by Graham Greene (Oneida), with storytelling by Luana Busby-Neff (Hawai`i).

More on the Sacred Land Film Project

A project of Earth Island Institute since 1984, the Sacred Land Film Project produces thought-provoking documentaries on ancient wisdom and modern courage. Our current series is only possible because of a unique level of access to indigenous communities and their sacred places. The trust built by Toby McLeod and the Sacred Land Film Project over decades of work with native peoples was recognized by the Council on Foundations in their presentation of the Henry Hampton Award in 2005.

Standing on Sacred Ground grew out of previous films about the struggle to preserve native lands in the United States, including the award-winning 2001 PBS documentary In the Light of Reverence. For more than five years, the distribution campaign for In the Light of Reverence was highly successful in educating people around the world on contested lands of significance to native peoples.

For much more on the advocacy by the Sacred Lands Film Project and to view “trailers” for the Project’s films, see


Funding provided by the Cultural Vision Fund.





Free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the library underground parking garage. For questions contact Erin, 801-585-3440


December 4, 2014 @ 6:00 pm
December 5, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
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Wallace Stegner Center


The City Library
210 East 400 South
Salt Lake City, 84111
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