inhabitants: an indigenous perspective | WVIK, Quad Cities NPR

River Action’s series of environmental films continues this Sunday, March 20and at 2 p.m. at the Figge Art Museum. This week, admission is free to “Habitants: An Indigenous Perspective », a 76-minute feature-length documentary that follows five Native American tribes across deserts, coasts, forests and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices. For millennia, Native Americans successfully managed and shaped their landscapes, but centuries of colonization disrupted their ability to maintain their traditional ways. As the climate crisis escalates, these time-tested practices of North America’s earliest inhabitants are becoming increasingly essential in a rapidly changing world.

This film gives voice to indigenous peoples as the filmmakers visit a Hopi farmer in Arizona who cultivates crops without depending on the rain, traditional Blackfeet ranchers in Montana who manage the bison herds, the Karuk people of northern California who perfected controlled burns in their forests and the Hawaiian natives who reclaim commercial plantations in exchange for food secure gardens.

Climate change is undeniably the most pressing issue facing us in our lifetime, and how we should deal with it is still being debated. It may seem that there are no viable solutions, but perhaps the answer lies in plain sight. For millennia, Native Americans have successfully managed their natural resources despite discrimination and forced colonization, and this documentary shines a light on some of those practices.

Stay after the film for discussion with Tom Morrell, a local Native American activist. Tom is an internationally acclaimed author and has explored the diverse streams, rivers, prairies, and wooded areas of eastern Iowa since the early 1960s. Tom’s maternal grandfather, who was of Cherokee, emigrated from Tennessee to southern Iowa to work in the coal industry, where he met his wife, who was Sac Fox and Osage. The couple moved to the Quad City area in the late 1940s where they raised their family.

Tom has been involved with various Native American organizations and causes in the area and was instrumental in getting the City of Davenport to recognize the 2nd Monday in October as “Native Peoples Day”. Just as he did as a child, Tom spends much of his time during the year outdoors, exploring and watching the natural rhythms and cycles of nature unfold.

Please join us at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 20and to the Figge Art Museum for this informative and thought-provoking documentary.

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