During the week of July 18-24, 2016, Paper Rocket Productions (a Diné/Hopi film crew) documented the journey of twenty-four Indigenous and other community organizers – from youth to elders – and diverse Tribal Nations and community affiliations. The group caravanned across the United States on the Protect Our Public Lands Tour: For a Just and Renewable Energy Future. Caravaners met with multiple communities at the frontlines of fossil fuel resource extraction. The objective was to facilitate a broader discussion surrounding the struggle of families that live in the enormous shadow of big oil, gas, and coal, giving a much-needed opportunity for Indigenous voices withstanding threats by massive transnational corporations.

Most often, Indigenous People living within Indian Reservations — in close proximity to government and in corporate deemed “energy sacrifice zones”—are on the frontlines of experiencing both climate change and the pollutive impacts of the fossil fuel industry. The PROTECT tour allowed for a collective of Indigenous People to voice their first-hand accounts of government and industry abuses of Indigenous People’s rights. The tour highlighted caravaners’ actions against such injustices and knowledge held to guide land management policies that should reflect the philosophy that all things are sacred and not meant to be disrespected or exploited. 

The PROTECT film is designed as a platform to facilitate sharing and solidarity of action between and across cultures, generations, communities, and nations, and to directly transmit Indigenous voices and frameworks to public audiences. The film shows the power of working collectively to tell a story of what we stand and fight for: empowerment and justice for the present and future – for all generations and relations now and for those to come.

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