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Homeland

View on The Global Environmental Justice site

Curator and writers
This film was selected by Amity Doolittle, senior lecturer and research scientist at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The guide was written by Caleb Northrop and Liz Felker, graduate students at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Why we chose this film
This film is told from the perspective of individuals and communities who have been affected by environmental injustices. Because it’s not an outside analysis, it allows for lived experiences to be described in personal and culturally important ways. While the film highlights the fact that indigenous groups are consistently facing multiple types of environmental hazards that threaten their land, sovereignty, and cultures, Homeland also provides hope. It shows that power resides in these communities. Through careful organizing, creative tactics, and a deep connection to and relationship with nature, even small groups and communities can put up a fight against powerful state and corporate forces to demand environmental justice.


Teacher's guide
    

Please see the teacher's guide for maps, background information and suggested subjects, questions and activities.


Synopsis

* Gail Small, an attorney from the Northern Cheyenne nation in Montana, is leading the fight to protect the Cheyenne homeland from 75,000 proposed methane gas wells that pollute the water and threaten to make much of the reservation unsuitable for farming or ranching.

* Evon Peter is the former chief of an isolated Alaska community of Gwich'in people who are working against current efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Mitchell and Rita Capitan founded an organization of Eastern Navajo people in New Mexico whose only source of drinking water is threatened by proposed uranium mining.

* Barry Dana, the former chief of the Penobscot Nation in Maine, is battling state government and the paper companies that have left his people unable to fish or swim in or harvest medicinal plants from the river on which they have depended for 10,000 years.

In the midst of these struggles the particpants in homeland mange to present a vision of how people around the world can turn around the destructive policies of thoughtless resource plundering and create a new paradigm in which people can live healthier lives with greater understanding of, and respect for, the planet and all of its inhabitants.


The environmental justice focus of the film

As these four stories demonstrate, environmental justice is multifaceted: it includes distributive justice, recognition justice, procedural justice, and compensatory justice. In each story, corporations are profiting from resource extraction at a substantial cost to the environment and to the Native American communities. In each case, federal and state governments have prioritized profit over environmental health and the ultimate survival of these Native American communities. But in each case, the communities have proven to be a wellspring of strength and resistance.

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