RED LAKE INDIAN RESERVATION – Inspired by Standing Rock, a student film explores the cultural and spiritual significance of water by traveling to visit Red Lake Nation, interviewing elders and traditional people about the Sacred Lake and then traveled to the Sacred Ganges River in India.
The student filmmakers came to Red Lake and the traditional village of Ponemah from the College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University. Their mission is to foster awareness surrounding social justice issues through the creation of annual documentaries. They call themselves Extending the Link. (ETL)
“Because Water is one of the four elements – the first round of Creation – we want to show everyone why the problems surrounding pipelines and water access/ownership is much more than an issue of resource distribution, and we must respect our water as it is a source of spiritual life as well,” said co-producer Grace Lundquist.
ETL’s motto is “Think Globally, Act Locally,” and therefore each film focuses on an issue at an international and domestic level with the goal of tying the story back into how it affects local communities in Minnesota.
This year, their 11th film, Nibi Eteg focuses on the cultural significance, spiritual importance, and value of water. Below is a link to the 30 minute film “Nibi Eteg: Where the Water is” (in Ojibwemowin).
You’ll hear and see Red Lake members Vickey Fineday, Spiritual Leader & Hereditary Chief Greeting Spears, Wesley Cloud, Nate Taylor, Clifford Hardy, Zac Mitteness, and the film crew’s “Indian Guide,” Red Lake PR Person, Michael Meuers. Also interviewed, but not seen in the film, were Al Pemberton and Pat Brown from Red Lake DNR, and Elders Frannie Miller and Elizabeth “Pug” Kingbird.
Michael Meuers has worked with Red Lake Nation for 25 years in Government and Public Relations as a contract employee. And during that time he spearheaded the Ojibwe Language/Signage Project in Bemidji which was recently recognized by National Geographic for: “…support in sustaining and enhancing the unique geographical character of the region…”
Although he is a non-Indian, he is quite familiar with Red Lake culture, history and language…for a Chi-mookomaan. He is honored and proud that the great Spiritual Leader, Healer and Teacher (now passed) Larry Stillday gave him a Spirit name in ceremony, Biidaanakwad Izhinikaazo (Gathering Cloud is his name). Michael also does diversity training, and is the author of a book about his mentor and we’enh, (name giver) ROAD TO PONEMAH: The Teachings of Larry Stillday.