Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

As a result of collaborative effort and sponsorship by the Saint Martin’s University Office of Service and Diversity Initiatives, Center for Scholarship and Teaching, O’Grady Library and the College of Arts and Sciences, the University will host a screening and discussion of the award-winning social justice documentary Promised Land on Friday, October 6, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the Norman Worthington Center on the University’s Lacey campus. The documentary follows two tribes in the Pacific Northwest, the Duwamish and the Chinook, as they fight for the restoration of treaty rights they’ve long been denied. In following their story, the film examines a larger problem in the way that the government and society still looks at tribal sovereignty. Along with the filmmakers, the tribes will be present to discuss their past and future with the community. The screening is open to members of the Saint Martin’s community and the public.

John Hopkins, Ph.D., associate dean of students and director of diversity and service initiatives, spoke about how the film provided a chance for the community to come together to learn and reflect:

Promised Land offers our campus community an opportunity to learn about the issues of indigenous sovereignty and identity within the Puget Sound region. This is a timely topic for our students in particular to consider the significance of place and the resilience of tribal cultures.”

The public screening and discussion of Promised Land will also be the concluding event for the Saint Martin’s University Symposium for Teaching and Learning, which is a forum for educators from local colleges and universities to discuss and learn new methods of pedagogy, teaching and conversation. The theme for the 2017 Symposium for Teaching and Learning is “Place, Community, and Experience: Creating Local and Global Connections,” with a specific focus on local environments and diverse communities of the Pacific Northwest as a way of framing place-based indigenous perspectives and community needs.

Irina Gendelman, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies and one of the organizers of the Symposium for Teaching and Learning, stated that the documentary will be an essential part of the symposium. “Promised Land and the panel discussion that follows will help us further reflect and engage with the history of our local communities. This public event perfectly complements a daylong symposium on teaching and learning, which focuses on socially just pedagogical approaches and practices.”

Sarah Salcedo, one of the co-creators of Promised Land, spoke about how valuable it’s been to engage in post-screening discussions and interactions with community audiences. “One of the most rewarding aspects of this documentary has been in its outreach phase: connecting tribal leaders to educators and audiences. After the film ends, the lights come up and people have the chance to engage with the people leading the communities they just learned about and the discussions are always illuminating, challenging, and educational. So when Saint Martin’s approached us to use our film in a symposium designed to discuss how film can be used to educate, it seemed like a perfect fit. To us, the finished film isn’t the end all and be all. The film is the launchpad for deeper discussion and creates exciting opportunities to listen and to learn.”

Promised Land is produced and directed by Vasant and Sarah Salcedo, and sponsored by 4Culture, Artist Trust, and San Francisco Film Society. Promised Land debuted in select theaters fall 2016. It won the award for Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking at the 10th Annual LA Skins Fest, and was an official selection for the 41st Annual American Indian Film Festival, Northwest Film Forum’s 19th Annual Local Sightings Film Festival, the 12th Annual Ellensburg Film Festival and the 5th Annual Social Justice Film Festival, among others. More information is available at the Promised Land documentary’s website.

The Saint Martin’s University Symposium on Teaching and Learning will be held on Friday, October 6, 2017, on the University’s Lacey campus. For those who are interested in attending or presenting at the symposium, please see the event registration page.

The screening and discussion of Promised Land is sponsored by the Saint Martin’s University Office of Service and Diversity Initiatives, Center for Scholarship and Teaching, O’Grady Library and the College of Arts and Sciences.

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