Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Martin Sheen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Burgess Meredith, Laura Nyro, Mark Andrews
Director: Victoria Mudd
"Passionate" and "compelling" (The New York Times) the Academy Award-winning BROKEN RAINBOW is the heartbreaking tale of the forced relocation of 12,000 Navajos from their ancestral homeland in Arizona that began in the 19... more »
Fossil Fuels vs Indiginous Peoples. Oil wins.
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 09/28/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This should be a film that every American should see. (You might recall it won the Oscar for best documentary in 1985). It documents the impact of a law signed by President Ford (on a ski vacation) that forced relocation of thousands of Navajo from their tribal land. The reason? There was hundreds of millions of dollars of coal, natural gas, and oil in that land and therefore the needs of the Navajo were irrelevant in light of the outrageous profits that could be made.
As the film develops there appears to be no crime vicious enough (short of
deliberate murder of native americans) that was not committed against hese Indians to force them off their land and more importantly, their livelihood. The Indians needed this land to raise sheep for food, clothes,
and making rugs for sale to outsiders. It gave them a sense of dignity and self-worth. When the law was signed, forcing them off their reservation, the goverment slaughtered their sheep knowing that this would
put the Indians "out of business." If that was not enough, they took
bulldozers and removed the vegetation, so that the land was no longer of any use to the Indian. In light of all the other injustices practiced on Native Americans, this was the last straw. It reduced many of the
Indians to poverty, hunger, and in rare cases, premature death.
The insensitivity of the white politicians to the plight of the Indians is
truly a shameful chapter in our history...as depicted in the film, one of the congressmen from Arizona argued that relocation of the Indian was "routine...plenty of Americans have to relocate." The issue was not
merely relocation, but the deliberate and violent destruction of the Indians' way of life.
I apologize to all Native Americans who suffered as a result of these mean-spirited policies."
"Land is the center of life to native people"
Kyle Tolle | Phoenix, Arizona USA | 05/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before actually getting to the deeper issues in this program, there is a historical segment of the Native American cultures (including colonization and subjugation, among other things) of the Hopi and Navajo nations. Also shown is map footage of reservations lands in Arizona and New Mexico which better helps to show how people were moved and how the government divided up parts of the Navajo reservation. There was a peaceful co-existence between these groups for a very long time before the government became involved and upset the balance of Indian lives.
The main theme of `Broken Rainbow' is the forced relocation of 10,000 Navajo and over a hundred Hopi Indians from the land originally granted to them as reservation territory decades ago. It began with a law enacted by Congress in 1974 that instituted the Indian relocation and this was to be completed by 1986. Most of these Indians were required to move to border towns that are great distances from their homeland. This was very problematic for them in that their land is crucial to them for their very survival and to maintain their cultural heritage and lifestyles.
In an effort to forcefully expedite the move, the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) used outrageous methods in this regard and they do not operate with ethical or moral principles. They began to confiscate and kill Navajo and Hopi livestock which was their basic financial foundation. Then they began to destroy the very land that the livestock used for grazing. Following this, the BIA then helped form tribal councils for the Hopi and Navajo but later pitted them against one another regarding issues of land rights.
Recognizing what this stolen Indian land consists of instantly clarifies why the government was so reckless, cruel, and impatient to get their hands on it. The Navajo reservation (including Hopi land which is within the Navajo nation) is abundant with massive amounts of minerals that include oil, natural gas, coal, and Uranium. As stated in the documentary, `energy companies want the resources on Indian land and if necessary, the Native Americans will be sacrificed'. Now there are invasive mining projects happening on the sacred lands of the reservation. To further add to this tragic situation, the government also had a plan to financially decimate the Indian nations. The Department of Interior urged (or coerced is maybe a better word) both tribal councils to sign additional land leases far below market value. As a result, the Navajos remain one of the poorest minorities in America when they should be the richest. They receive a percentage of what is mined off their land but it is negligible in every sense of the word. As for the environment, it is basically ruined for all intents and purposes. The once clean air is now contaminated with lead, mercury dioxides, and sulfuric acids. This is a sad situation for future Indian generations.
`Broken Rainbow' is a very important, poignant, and heartbreaking documentary that is well narrated by Martin Sheen. This program clearly illustrates an ongoing legacy of extreme cruelty against Native Americans by our government. It is also a message that money and big business completely overshadow the welfare and considerations of the human populace. I highly recommend this documentary to everyone, it is a must see.
The Trail Of 1000 Tears, No, One Million Tears
Alfred Johnson | boston, ma | 10/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frankly, I have, other than a tribute to Native American folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie and many, many entries calling for the freedom of unjustly imprisoned long time Native American activist Leonard Peltier, not had occasion in this space to deal with the centuries long question of the injustices and horrors done to the Native Americans on this continent. This review of the film documentary, "Broken Rainbow", acts as one attempt to spend more time on this issue. And in a sense this film fits neatly in with the other aims of the entries in this space; here to try and draw together the threads of the struggle for Native American rights with the over struggles of the labor movement.
In that sense this film is tailor-made for that connection. Why? Well, among other things, one of the key points made in this film is the trampling of Native American rights (and destruction of their cultural traditions) by the American government in the interests of the energy companies who exploit the minerals and other treasure on Native American lands in the West, focusing here on the Hopi and Navajo lands in the Southwest. And the prime example of acting in those interests as noted in the film was the relation between the Reagan Administration in the 1980s and the Peabody Coal Company. For those who know about the `exploits' of this company in the Eastern American coal fields this connection is self-explanatory. For those who don't viewing this footage will give a rather graphic picture of what the Kentucky and West Virginia miners workers went though in an earlier, more militant time.
That footage is the main political message to be taken from the film, at least that is how I took it. There are also other points made concerning the historic abuses of the rights and cultural expressions of the Hopi and Navajo tribes in the Southwest that are also in the center of the controversy here(destruction of burial and ceremonial sites, forced assimilation, etc.). Some time is also spent on the sorry history of attempts by whites, then (particularly in the 19th century) and now to, there is no lesser word to be used, decimate, the traditions and to "assimilate", forcibly or not, the remaining Native American population. Or worst. The main importance of this film, however, and the reason that it was worthy of a film documentary Oscar back in the 1980s, is that it provides in capsule form and in a little over an hour all of the historic issues that are still unresolved if we are ever to make headway in order to bring some measure of justice to the original inhabitants of this continent. Oh, and by the way, just not lose sight of an important task still before us."
Home is where the HEART IS...
D. Holcomb | Spangdahlem, Germany | 10/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loved the documentary!! My grandmother is Katherine Smith and I am happy she did the documentary and is still holding strong to save her home.