The Oglala Lakota of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation believe the seventh generation of youth will lead a new awakening — through skateboarding. Skateboarding in Pine Ridge chronicles the lives of skater and suicide prevention counselor Brian Sherman and his young mentee Emily Earring (one of the park’s few female skaters). A skate park built in 2011 is now a second home and safe haven for 100 kids, and tribal elders hope another newly opened park in neighboring Manderson will be equally successful. For young Pine Ridge residents, skateboarding represents a way to break the reservation’s cycle of poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and reaffirm ties to their ancestry.
Yellowstone National Park was once the ancestral hunting grounds of the Ponderai people, who relied on wild bison for survival. Today, the Ponderai are restricted to a small pocket of land outside the park for hunting. This short film follows a family as they travel to this zone to participate in the culling of wild bison and preservation of their treaty hunting rights. The film offers an understated and powerful glimpse into the struggle to keep ancient traditions alive, the marginalization of indigenous people and the slippery definition of the word “freedom.”
Jumbo Valley, in the heart of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains, has been at the center of a complicated conservation battle for decades as First Nations, environmentalists, skiers and others have opposed a ski resort proposed by a European developer. This environmental feature by Patagonia and Sweetgrass Productions delves deep into the thorny issue, posing the question: When is a place too sacred for human impact?