Promised Land is an award-winning social justice documentary film that follows two tribes in the Pacific Northwest: the Duwamish and the Chinook. The film tells the story of these indigenous peoples–from opposite ends of Puget Sound–and their fight for the restoration of treaty* rights they’ve long been denied.
The Northwest is arguably one of the most politically liberal regions in the country. Seattle’s logo is an image of Chief Si’ahl. The names of our cities and towns are in Chinuk Wawa and Lushootseed, the region’s native languages. If in this area, with these tribes that all kids learn about growing up in school, justice can’t be found, then how does that bode for the rest of the country?
In following their story, the film seeks to spark a discussion about identity and sovereignty. The discussion begins with indigenous recognition–the frontline of the battle for native sovereignty. The film also examines a larger problem in the way that the government, and we as a society, still look at tribal sovereignty.
Though the film begins in a specific region, the story it tells is one that countless tribes are going through not only throughout North America, but throughout the world as well. The message about whose land we inhabit and how we work to right these wrongs is universal.
The film ends by expanding its focus to issues such as aboriginal identity, blood quantum, and the struggle of indigenous communities for self-determination.
To redefine their recognition, to put blood quantum restrictions on who is and isn’t native enough, to redefine treaties over and over, continues a toxic cycle of colonialism where the government, and the corporations it partners with, continues to unlawfully profit off of the resources of indigenous lands at great peril to our increasingly climate-challenged world.
About Promised Land
This documentary is presented without a narrator, so that only the voices of the tribal members themselves, along with their allies, are the ones presenting the story. The film draws attention to all issues of self-determination that all bands and tribes face in every country throughout the world. The hope is that the community seeing the film will not only hear, but understand.
Vasant and Sarah Salcedo are the filmmaking team Tall Firs Cinema, who began this project in 2013. The Salcedo’s are the film’s producers, directors, writers, cinematographers, and editors. It was sponsored and supported by 4Culture and San Francisco Film Society, working in cooperation with both the Duwamish and Chinook tribal councils, and receiving generous help from the community. The documentary was filmed in Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, California, Washington D.C., and New Jersey.
2017 Promised Land Seattle area public screenings
Promised Land is available for screening at your school, group, museum, or theater. Contact the filmmakers here.
For more information about these or other screenings across the country, visit the Promised Land schedule.
November 25, 2017 – Prospect UCC Church, 1919 E. Prospect Street, Seattle, WA. Admission by donation, proceeds going to both the event hosts, People of Color & Allies Sangha, and to the Duwamish Tribe.
November 28, 2017 at 7 p.m. Olin Hall, Whitman College; Walla Walla, WA. Sponsored by Whitman’s Intercultural Center.
December 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. At Rainier Arts Center; Seattle, WA. Hosted by Rainier Valley Historical Society as their December installment in their ongoing Dismantling Racism series, co-sponsored by Rainier Valley Historical Society, SEEDArts, and South Seattle Emerald. After the film there will be a panel discussion with audience participation.
Everyone is welcome to attend. Suggested donation $15 with money after expenses going to the Duwamish Tribe.
January 30, 2017. – Cornish College; Seattle, WA. Details coming soon.
*Treaty, a binding formal agreement, contract, or other written instrument that establishes obligations between two or more subjects of international law (primarily states and international organizations). … Treaties are expected to be executed in good faith, in keeping with the principle of pacta sunt servanda (Latin: “agreements must be kept”), arguably the oldest principle of international law. Without this principle, which is explicitly mentioned in many agreements, treaties would be neither binding nor enforceable. Source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/treaty
Seattle University, Pigott Auditorium, 1016 E. Marion St. Seattle, WA 98122
Tukwila Library, 14380 Tukwila International Boulevard, Tukwila, WA 98168
Central Lutheran Church, 1710 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Saint Martin’s University, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey, WA 98503
Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 2333 San Juan Avenue, Port Townsend, WA 98368
East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St, Bellevue, WA 98005
Grand Cinema, 606 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402