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Directed by Sterlin Harjo

United States 2014 90 min.

Who knew that the Muscogee Creek and Seminole nations developed their own traditional hymns akin to Negro spirituals? In the 1830s, the Creeks and Seminoles were forcibly relocated by the U.S. government from their ancestral homes in the American southeast to Oklahoma. Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo’s (Creek/Seminole) first-person documentary, which premiered at Sundance in 2014, weaves together the surprising and tragic history of their devotional songs with the mysterious disappearance of his own grandfather in 1962. As Harjo notes of these hymns, “They are intrinsic to our culture. In times of tragedy and hardship, we often turn to hymns as a way of seeking emotional and spiritual support.”—UCLA Film & Television Archive.

PRECEDED BY

A Bentwood Box
USA 1985
Director: Sandy Osawa, Yasu Osawa
This enthralling short from Sandy and Yasu Osawa (Makah) illustrates the creation of a carved wooden box, using perfect modulations of duration and focal distance to inscribe both the act of creation and the film’s act of observation as reverential. (5 mins., DVCAM)