SALSA XIII Biennial Conference – Films

SALSA XIII Biennial Conference SALSA XIII Biennial Conference


Guardians of the Forest

Michael Gilmore, George Mason University

Guardians of the Forest is a documentary film that tells the inspiring story of the Maijuna Indigenous group of the Peruvian Amazon as they fight for their biologically rich ancestral lands and cultural survival. The Maijuna culture is sustained and nourished by their heavily forested ancestral territory, which is increasingly threatened by outsiders. After introducing and screening the film, this session will culminate in a question-and-answer session with the producer and director. This documentary film will be of broad interest to conference attendees as it touches on Indigenous rights and lifeways, community empowerment, biocultural conservation, and environmental justice, among other critical topics.

Guardians of the Forest Trailer:

Length of Film: 62 minutes

The Hupd’äh Enchanted Words of the Amazon - Masters of knowledge

Mina Rad, Filmmaker / World Cultural Diversity Production

Narrated by Renato Athias, World Cultural Diversity production 2021 ( France, Brazil)

“Humanity is nature” is what the Hupd’äh think. In the cosmology of this people, one of the two hundred and ten ethnic groups in Brazil, there is no separation between mineral, vegetable, animal and human nature. Music and words have a transformative power, often incomprehensible to us. The film was produced from the ethnographic collection of the ethnologist Renato Athias, with texts, footage, photographs and music gathered in the 1980s, which are currently digitized in the Linguistic Archives of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America (AILLA) at the University of Texas.

This film also gives voice to those the researcher calls his masters, his research collaborators: Bihit, Casimiro and Mehtiw, chiefs of Hupd’äh clans who are located  in the interfluvial area of the Papuri and Tiquié rivers, in the Uaupés River basin, northwest of Brazilian Amazon.

This film offers new ways to reflect on the relationship between humans and non-humans.

With the Hupd’äh: Bihit, Casimiro and Mehtiw (In Memoriam)

Length of Film : 52 minutes

Link to the trailer :

Kwači (Water Turtle)

Elliott Oakley, University of California, Santa Cruz

This film traces the desire for exuberant joy in the gendered relation between yïmïtïn, “women who make the drink”, and kwači, the young men who play “water turtle”. It dramatizes the making and consuming of food and drink alongside the humor and play associated with the Waiwai Shodewika festival and celebrated for Christmas by people in Masakenyarï, a rainforest community in southern Guyana. The film responds conceptually to the sung imperative, “Be happy” (Tahwore esko), in the production of an audiovisual account of Christmas celebrations for community viewing. Emerging from ethnographic research in Masakenyarï, the narrative emphasis on communicating to a non-Waiwai audience situates the film in contemporary Waiwai efforts to cultivate relations beyond the village that enable their livelihoods. Even as explanations are offered for the depicted events, the film holds space for feelings and flows that exceed such claims of meaning. The structure draws from the mythic register of the Anaconda People, whose emergence as visitors from the river resonates with the arriving hunters and their incorporation from strangers to kin.

Length of Film: 13 minutes

–Jeremy M. Campbell (SALSA President 2020-2023), Laura R. Graham (SALSA President-Elect 2023-2027), Laura Zanotti (Secretary-Treasurer 2017-2020), George Mentore (SALSA 2021 Conference Organizer), Laura Mentore (SALSA 2021 Academic Program Chair), Juan Alvaro Echeverri (SALSA Webmaster).

Please send all inquiries about this conference to: