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Inhabitants: An Indigenous Perspective

River Action’s Environmental Film Series continues this Sunday, March 20th at 2:00 p.m. at the Figge Art Museum. This week there is free admission to “Inhabitants: An Indigenous Perspective”, a 76-minute feature documentary that follows five Native American Tribes across deserts, coastlines, forests, and prairies as they restore their traditional land management practices. For millennia, Native Americans successfully stewarded 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 original 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 is growing crops without dependence on rainfall, some traditional Blackfeet herders in Montana who are managing the buffalo herds, the Karuk people of Northern California who have perfected controlled burnings in their forests, and Hawaiian natives who are reclaiming commercial plantations in exchange for food secure gardens.

Climate change is undeniably the most pressing issue we are facing in our lifetime, and how we should deal with it is still being debated. It may appear 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 these practices.

Stay after the film for the talkback with Tom Morrell, a local Native American activist. Tom is an internationally known author and has been exploring the various creeks, rivers, prairies, and wooded areas in the Eastern Iowa Region since the early 1960's. Tom’s maternal grandfather, who was of Cherokee decent, migrated 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 1940's where they raised their family.

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

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