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Indigenous films focus on ‘reciprocity with earth’

A moment from “Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors)” by Princess Daazhraii Johnson and Alisha Carlson (Gwich’in), one of the seven Indigenous-made short films in Season One of Reciprocity Project. (Courtesy image)

Seven original short films made by Indigenous creators on their homelands have been released to view for free in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Oct. 10.

Organizers said the films comprise the first season of the “Reciprocity Project” and ask the question: “What does reciprocity mean to your community?”

The project is coproduced by two organizations – Nia Tero and the Upstander Project – in association with REI Co-op Studios.

“Stories from Indigenous peoples about being in reciprocity with the earth are essential in delivering messages of truth, healing, and transformative change,” an Oct. 10 news release said. “Our survival is the result of the efforts of many ancestors that have come before us, and with the Reciprocity Project films as a guide, we ask ourselves – and you: ‘What kind of ancestor do you want to be?’”

The first season of films was created within Indigenous communities across Turtle Island in the western portion of Lake Erie in the U.S. and in Colombia.

“Our shared vision is a paradigm shift toward each of us living in reciprocity – taking good care of each other, our families, neighbors and communities,” the release said. “As the world navigates an escalating climate crisis, Reciprocity Project films uplift Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since time immemorial.”

Organizers said a second season of films is currently in work by Indigenous filmmakers from Kenya, Finland, Sierra Leone, Rotuma, Taiwan and the U.S.  

For more information and to view the films, go to or access the films on REI’s YouTube channel.