UA to Screen Navajo, Hopi Environment Films

Panel discussions will follow the film screening on Feb. 23.
Feb. 21, 2012
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Two films that address the social, health and environmental effects of energy production on the Navajo and Hopi lands will be shown at the University of Arizona on Feb. 23, followed by panel discussions with Navajo and Hopi environmental leaders and Arizona energy experts.

Native Impact: Exposing the Buried Costs of Energy is a back-to-back screening of the two films, which document the struggles of local communities to manage the costs associated with growing energy demands and work toward a sustainable-energy future.

"These films highlight the impacts and costs of energy development that have easily been overlooked in the past," said Ardeth Barnhart, director of the UA's Renewable Energy Network, a co-sponsor of the event. "This is an opportunity for the University community and public to learn about these issues and discuss possibilities for change with the people who are living with the consequences of our current energy choices."

The screenings and panel discussions are free and open to the public.

"The Return of Navajo Boy" follows the Cly Family through photographs and moving images to reveal an ongoing struggle with uranium contamination on tribal land in Monument Valley, Utah. The award-winning documentary was an official selection of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. The film screening and panel discussion will be in Crowder Hall from 3-5 p.m.

The second film, "Power Paths," provides a unique glimpse into the global energy crisis from the perspective of an intertribal coalition. The members fight to transform their local economies by replacing coal mines and power plants with renewable energy technologies. The film and panel discussion will be in Room 108 of the Center for Creative Photography from 6-9 p.m.

Discussion panelists include:

  • Marshall Alan Johnson, who educates communities about their declining water supply and the adverse effects on the environment caused by coal mining
  • Vernon Masayesva, a member of the Coyote Clan of the Hopi Tribe in northern Arizona who is involved in efforts to stopping the use of pristine N-aquifer water to slurry coal from Black Mesa Mine to Laughlin, Nev.
  • Perry Charley, a UA alumnus and director of the Uranium Education Program and research and outreach director of Diné Environmental Institute of Diné College in Shiprock, N.M.
  • Bo Boudart, who has written and produced programs for PBS, the Discovery Channel, Fox TV, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that center on nature, science, indigenous cultures and the environment
  • Elsa Johnson, director of IINA Solutions, a non-profit organization to help improve the quality of life (iina) for underprivileged rural Navajo elders

The UA's Institute of the Environment, Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office and American Indian Studies program; IINA Solutions; the Sierra Club; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Mrs. Green's World; and Black Mesa Water Coalition also are sponsoring the event.