Big Mountain, Diné Bikéyah

    • 2015 75 minutes

      An intimate portrait of a remote community of Navajo Native Americans and their supporters in Northern Arizona, who, after long and ongoing battles for land rights, are occupying their ancestral homelands in an attempt to maintain their land based exis...

      Big Mountain is a film about the ancestral homelands of the Navajo and Hopi
      people in remote Northern Arizona. This is a place of immense natural beauty,
      but its ancient landscape and cultures have recently seen profound change.
      Since 1974, thousands of Navajo and Hopi have been evicted from Big Mountain
      in a complex political and legal struggle over the extraction of natural resources
      from the area. Big Mountain sits atop the largest coal deposit in the United
      States, which supplies electricity and water across the Southwest.

      Camille Summer-Valli began filming in Big Mountain after spending several
      winters herding sheep there. Her film documents life as it is today for the small
      group of elders who continue living in Big Mountain, the younger generations
      returning to reconnect with their traditions, and the activists who come to offer
      support. Tracing the experiences of a few of these individuals, the film abandons
      narrative to focus on the difficult and often conflicted reality of reconciling a
      land-based, subsistence culture with twenty-first century America. Moving
      through the seasons on the high-desert plateau, it explores the differences in
      perspective between an outsider and those who think of this as their spiritual

      For the Navajo, being in Big Mountain is a matter of identity that has become
      enveloped in a larger political conflict. Every daily task or ritual is now also an act
      of resistance against exploitation and outside interference. Their struggle is to
      bring the principles of their culture through the unstoppable change.

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