Cultural Resurgence: Reviving Traditions, Restoring Lands Presentation


Missoula, University of Montana




Apr 23 2024


5:00 pm - 9:00 pm



Cultural Resurgence: Reviving Traditions, Restoring Lands Presentation

This project is a film screening and a panel discussion. Two films will be featured, Our America: Rebirth of the Range and The Return of N6ouhahToka’na (Swift Fox) followed by a panel discussion. This event is free and open to the public and will provide open captioning for both films and an ASL interpreter for the discussion.

Film Synopsis:

The Return of Nóouhàh-Toka’na (Swift Fox) – 15 mins
Nóouhàh-Toka’na, known as swift fox in English, once roamed the North American Great Plains from Canada to Texas. Like bison, pronghorn and other plains animals, Nóouhàh-Toka’na held cultural significance for the Native Americans who lived alongside them. But predator control programs in the mid-1900s reduced the foxes to just 10 percent of their native range.At the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana, members of the Aaniiih and Nakoda tribes are working with the Smithsonian and other conservation partners to restore biodiversity and return Nóouhàh-Toka’na to the land.

Rebirth of The Range – 45 min
Rebirth of the Range tells the first-person/non-narrated story of the return of the formerly NATIONAL Bison Range Park in Montana to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe — on whose stolen land the park had originally been created under President Roosevelt. An inspirational and visually stunning social justice story, this 45-minute documentary, told in 6 acts, also holds important lessons for both indigenous and non-indigenous viewers — including on the taking of land even in the name of our public national parks. This rare federal land return to tribal jurisdiction was more than a century in the asking, and only persistent and savvy negotiating by the tribe finally succeeded in getting the land back, in late 2020 — a strategy that indigenous experts believe can be a successful model for other tribes. And the film helps break the stereotypes that the tribal scientists reveal remain a constant struggle for them. Independent filmmakers Kira Kay and Jason Maloney spent a year obtaining careful access and then filming alongside the tribe as it took over management of the Park’s pristine 19,000 acres, the sacred bison herd on it and the visitor’s center exhibit (correcting its false version of history in the process). The filmmakers also expanded their reporting to include an in-depth look at the progressive environmental conservation and climate mitigation work the tribe is undertaking throughout its entire Flathead Reservation, blending “traditional ecological knowledge” with “Western science” practices. And they were welcomed into community events including the annual Arlee pow wow celebration, itself a symbol of historical repression and now an expression of survival of the tribe and its culture. The film culminates in an exclusive view of the first bison “round up” on the Range to be undertaken fully under tribal jurisdiction — an uplifting culmination of multi-generational advocacy and cementing of tribal knowledge for now and the future. The film was released on November 17th as licensed to ABC OTV for initial streaming; but the filmmakers retain rights to the content for further markets, which they are now actively seeking, and to screen for public audiences through festivals. The film was supported by grants from the National Press Foundation (the Kozik Environmental Justice Reporting award) and the Henry Luce Foundation’s program on Indigenous Knowledge.

The event is finished.