March 2023

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 25, 2010

AIM Film Fest Best Doc 'Hawaii, A Voice for Sovereignty'

Best Documentary Award by AIM International Film Festival 'Hawaii, A Voice For Sovereignty' By AIM West

The long awaited efforts to bring the American Indian Movement (AIM) International Film Festival to San Francisco was finally held on Monday and Tuesday, October 11 -12, 2010. The film festival, the first hosted by AIM-WEST, an affiliate organization in the bay area, ended on a high five, or hang ten, whichever! It was also deemed an important educational alternative to the stories typically associated with Columbus Day and what it means to Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas during this period. The Best Documentary Award that was selected by the judges committee went to “Hawaii, A Voice For Sovereignty”. It was accepted by Ms. Catherine Bauknight, film maker and Director.

The intensity projected in the documentary, made in 2009, ‘What Happen to the Land Happens to the People’ is the first of its kind to feature the native Hawaiians journey to sustain their culture, spirituality, and connection to the land. This modern epic documentary, filmed over four years, contains rare interviews with Native Hawaiians in their homes, at sacred sites, in mountains and the rain forests. Along with the voices of the people of the land, Professor Haunani-Kay Trask, and other Hawaiian leaders, take us into rarely seen ancient lifestyles where spirituality, culture, and care for the land form a sacred bond between humankind and the natural world. They reveal their quest to secure their Hawaiian rights as the host culture, and their economic, social, and ecological future. By bridging their ancient knowledge with modern technologies such as wind, solar, and wave renewable energy and agricultural land systems they move towards their goal of sustainability.

The award presented by Master of Ceremony, Mr. Bill Means, to Ms. Bauknight, is a cherished photo of AIM Minister of Culture, Floyd Red Crow Westerman (1988 Dances with Wolves), in his memory of promotion of cultural rights, and the quest for sovereignty, exemplify the legacy and spiritual movement of resistance, and the fight for self-determination found among Indigenous peoples throughout the globe. Also present with the award in photo (Neil Whitelaw, photographer) is Bill “Jimbo” Simmons, movie presenter, Aleck Cheney, producer, Antonio Gonzales, AIM-WEST Director, Venezuela Consulant Martin Sanchez, and Tomas Reyes, AIM-WEST Community Volunteer Coordinator.

The AIM film committee wishes to thank everyone who contributed to the success of this event. We especially took advantage of the this year’s occasion which coincides with the United Nation’s theme of “Indigenous Peoples and film making” declared at the 2010 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples held in New York. We are optimistic this can become an annual film festival. We also wish to inform Indigenous and non-Indigenous film-makers alike, worldwide, about the great opportunity they have to educate the general public and non-governmental organizations by producing these themes and to showcase the wide spectrum of struggles on a myriad of issues they are going through on their lands. Many times these valuable films shot with perception and detail, are lost or have a difficult time in their countries exposing or revealing the burning challenges they wish to project, on a daily basis. This is their chance to reveal the truth in the search for justice.

And finally, AIM-WEST wishes to extend a cordial salute in solidarity with the 35th Anniversary next month of the American Indian Film Festival held in SF, and its director, Mr. Michael Smith, with respect for their many hard years of commitment to quality films depicting American Indians in the film industry in both Canada and the United States. Your dedication in this endeavor over the years has paved the way, and provided the necessary means to fulfill a need by bringing together all the continents, where real Indigenous peoples can see for themselves how they continue to thrive and practice their traditional and cultural way of life.

Thank you once again, ALL My Relations,

Antonio Gonzales
AIM-WEST Director


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