Film Highlights Local Native American Tribe’s Religion, Challenges

October 17, 2009

Author: Meredith J. Cooper

Source: News & Review

For most Westerners, religion comes neatly packaged in a box. There’s a building—a church or a temple, for example—with a religious leader at the helm who typically changes every few years or so. They’re organized, with presidents and priests and books that outline the belief systems and prayers.

But what about land-based religions, where there is no box, or church, to sit in; there are no prayer books and potlucks on Sundays? For many Native Americans, the idea of religion is tied directly to the land—to sacred sites—and it is sometimes difficult to get this idea across to those who see religion as occurring in a church.

This is the main issue addressed in the filmIn the Light of Reverence, which will be shown in Chico Oct. 22. The documentary, created by Toby McLeod of the Sacred Land Film Project, aired on PBS in 2001 and features three Native American tribes—the Hopi of the Four Corners region, the Lakota of the Black Hills in Wyoming, and the Winnemem Wintu of the Mount Shasta area.