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In the Light of Reverence (Classroom Version) Series
Hopi Land

The Hopi fight to preserve their land and water from strip mining.

A printer-friendly version of this page 29 minutes
Closed Captioned

Directed by Christopher McLeod
Produced by Christopher McLeod and Malinda Maynor
Narrated by Peter Coyote and Tantoo Cardinal
A Production of the Sacred Land Film Project of Earth Island Institute
A Presentation of the Independent Television Service in association with Native American Public Telecommunications with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Hopi elder Dalton Taylor makes a pilgrimage every year to plant prayer feathers at a series of shrines that ring the Hopi homeland in Arizona. Taylor takes us to Woodruff Butte, where seven of these shrines have been destroyed by a gravel mining operation, and ancestral rock writing has been defaced by gunfire.

In Black Mesa, the Peabody Coal Company strip-mine pumps three million gallons per day of drinking-quality underground water for a coal slurry line, threatening precious desert springs. For Peabody, slurrying coal is less expensive than trucking it to Nevada, where it feeds the Mohave power plant. For the Hopi, their covenant with God to protect the land of their forefathers, ceremony and water are the central elements of their sense of the sacred. From the Hopi point-of-view, their culture and livelihood are being sacrificed for Peabody's coal.

Across the USA, Native Americans are struggling to protect their sacred places. Religious freedom, so valued in America, is not guaranteed to those who practice land-based religion. Every year, more sacred sites - the land-based equivalent of the world's great cathedrals - are being destroyed. Strip Mining and development cause much of the destruction. But rock climbers, tourists, and New Age religious practitioners are part of the problem, too. The biggest problem is ignorance.

HOPI LAND, part of the IN THE LIGHT OF REVERENCE Classroom Series, tells the story of the Hopi, an indigenous community of the Four Corners area, and the land they struggle to protect.

The other programs in the series are:

Mount Shasta - The Wintu aim to keep their sacred well on Mount Shasta from harm.

Devils Tower - The Lakota struggle to protect their sacred site from climbers and other encroachers.

Grade Level: Grades 9-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2001     Copyright Date: 2001
VHS ISBN: 1-56029-898-7

"This beautifully-crafted film shows how the places most sacred to Native Americans are being both disrespected and destroyed, and how Indians are fighting back to save their own religious heritage. This film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights and deserves every opportunity to reach a broad and diverse audience."
Robert Redford

"For those who know nothing about the denial of Native American religious freedom, this film will change minds and open hearts. For those of us already involved in the struggle to save sacred land, this film will energize and inspire."
Walter Echo-Hawk, Native American Rights Fund

"The film clearly articulates some of the issues indigenous peoples all over the world face as they struggle to prevent their spiritual beliefs from being marginalized by people who believe spiritual places are structures built by men, not the Creator."
Wilma Mankiller, author and former Principal Chief of Cherokee Nation

"This respectful, brave, and understated film, which urges the redress of profound historical errors, is itself an act of reparation. In the Light of Reverence reaches beyond cultural disputes to reveal and document the arena of human wisdom."
Barry Lopez

"The Middle East may get the headlines, but there are battles involving sacred ground in the United States, too, as nicely documented by In the Light of Reverence, on PBS."
The New York Times

"In the Light of Reverence shines a beam on the fundamental differences between two world views, one based on individual rights - including the right to exploit the land for profit - the other, on responsibility to a community that includes people, ancestral spirits and the spirits of the forest and mountains themselves."
Sara Jean Green, Seattle Times

"Highly recommended..."
MC Journal

VHS $150
VHS $45
Reduced rates for activist and grassroots groups. Please inquire.

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Hopi Land

"This beautifully crafted film is a wake-up call for everyone who cares about the environment and human rights." Robert Redford

Sacred Land Film Project & In the Light of Reverence web site
Teacher's Guide for Laser Printing
Lesson Plans (courtesy of POV)
Discussion Guide
Study guide

Awards and Festivals
Best Documentary Feature, American Indian Film Festival
Eagle Award, Taos Talking Picture Festival
CINE Golden Eagle
Jury Award, MountainFilm, Telluride
Native Visions, Native Voices Film Festival
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital

American Studies
Earth Science
Environmental Ethics
Indigenous Peoples
Native Americans
Outdoor Education
Social Psychology
Western US

Related Titles

In the Light of Reverence
A stunning portrait of land-use conflicts over Native American sacred sites on public and private land around the West from the producers of STANDING ON SACRED GROUND.

The Buffalo War
The battle over the yearly slaughter of America's last wild bison outside Yellowstone National Park.

Drumbeat for Mother Earth
Toxic chemicals are the greatest threat to the survival of indigenous peoples.

Coming to Light
An in-depth portrait of Edward S. Curtis, the preeminent photographer of North American Indians.

The Mystery of Chaco Canyon
Unveiling the ancient astronomy of southwestern Pueblo Indians.

The controversy surrounding off-road motor vehicles using public lands.

The Four Corners
The "hidden" cost of energy development in the homeland of the Hopi, Navajo, and Mormons.

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