2021 American Conservation Film Festival

The Critical Role of First Nations Leaders in Preserving Wild Lands - ASL

Expired April 1, 2021 3:59 AM
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Three Native Americans who appear in this year's films discuss their connection to the land and their ongoing fights to preserve their cultures, food sources, and communities.

Panelists: Angelo Baca, Hopi and Navajo film subject of Public Trust; Bernadette Demientieff, Gwichi’n film subject of Public Trust; Samuel Gensaw, Yurok film subject of Gather

Moderator: Dr. Mark Madison, US Fish & Wildlife Service Historian


Angelo Baca – Hopi and Navajo film subject of Public Trust

Angelo Baca is a Navajo and Hopi filmmaker, and a PhD candidate in sociocultural anthropology at NYU. A graduate of the Native Voices Program at the University of Washington, he has created numerous documentaries and collaborative works around such subjects as indigenous food sovereignty, Native youth development and indigenous international repatriation. He’s also taught Native American literature and media courses at Brown University. In 2016, he directed the ethnographic documentary Shash Jaa': Bears Ears, in an effort to illuminate the Utah landscape’s significance to indigenous peoples of the region.

Petition to President Biden to fully restore Bears Ears National Monument // Website for Angelo’s film Shash Jaa’: Bears Ears //

Website: From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: Indigenizing the Local Food Movement // Article on Audubon.org "How to Put the Bureau of Land Management Back Together Again” 

Bernadette Demientieff - Gwich'in film subject of Public Trust

Raised in Fort Yukon, Alaska, Bernadette (Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in) is the Executive Director of the Gwich'in Steering Committee and is a council member of the Arctic Refuge Defense Council. She also serves as an advisory board member for NDN Collective, the Care of Creations Task Force, Native Movement Alaska, and Defend the Sacred Alaska. She is a tribal member of the Gwichyaa Zhee Gwich’in Tribal Government, and on the leadership council for ITR. Bernadette is the mother of 5 children and grandmother of 5 beautiful grandchildren. She takes this position very serious and it has transformed her life to better serve her people. She stands strong to protect the Arctic Nationional Wildlife Refuge Coastal Plan, the Porcupine Caribou Herd, and the Gwichin way of life. Website // Instagram

Sammy Gensaw, III – Film subject of Gather, a Yurok Native, the Director of the Ancestral Guard

Sammy is also an artist, Yurok Language Speaker, Singer, Writer, Cultural/Political/Environmental Activist, Regalia Maker, Mediator, Youth Leader & Fisherman. Sammy comes from the villages of Oregon up the Klamath River and from Requa at the mouth of the Klamath River. Sammy grew up on the river and yet resides at Terwer Riffle in the Glen at Klamath, CA on the Yurok reservation. His work and focus are strongly rooted in the strengths and activities of his skills as a Yurok practitioner and cultural bearer. Sammy has strong skills in keeping his ancestral ties alive through multiple outlets that endorses and respects his traditional and cultural values of community, world renewal and self. Sammy is an excellent public speaker and community organizer for disarming the colonized mindset and agenda while reclaiming, promoting and advancing the balance and protection of Mother Earth and our relationship & responsibilities to her and humanity. Sammy’s passion and commitments of his lineage and knowledge has proven healthy. Continuing and sharing the Indigenous worldview is making impacts through a constant commitment of exposure, voice and hand. Sammy truly walks his talk and stands up for our spirituality, our rivers, our lands, our language, our arts and features as a local Indigenous community stakeholder. Instagram // Website

Mark Madison - Historian at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Environmental historian and historian of science currently working as National Historian for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Conducts educational outreach, designs museum displays, and helps maintain 500,000 item National Conservation Training Center Archives/Museum. Also teach environmental history, environmental ethics and environmental film at Shepherd University. Previously taught evolutionary biology, history of science, and philosophy of science at University of Melbourne and Harvard University. Spent 2 and 1/2 years doing tropical reforestation in the Philippines at a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. Grew up in Wisconsin currently living in Hagerstown, MD and working in Shepherdstown, WV. Passions include fly-fishing and family.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    46 minutes