The 2017 Geography of Hope Conference, “Ancestors & The Land: Our Past, Present & Future,” will take place on March 17, 18 and 19 in Point Reyes Station, part of the traditional homelands of the Coast Miwok Indians. The conference is presented by Black Mountain Circle and co-sponsored by Point Reyes Books, the Center for Humans and Nature, and the U.S. Forest Service.
As native people here in West Marin and throughout the world have taught us, we can best care for the land by knowing its history, by cherishing its stories, and by actively working to protect it. The Conference hopes to stimulate conversations honoring ancestral connections to this and other landscapes—whether Native American, European, African, Asian, Hispanic, or elsewhere—that will lead to dialogues between generations and cultures to help us reconnect to place and restore balance to Mother Earth.
“This is a time of unprecedented threats to clean water and air, national parks and forests, and to productive farmland,” conference founder Steve Costa says. “The halting of the Dakota Access Pipeline through lands sacred to Native Americans at Standing Rock serves as an example of how thousands of people came together and made their voices heard. In the coming months and years, we will be called upon to act to protect our fragile ecology. We will be called upon to decide what kind of ancestors we will become.”
As one of northern California’s most exceptional literary gatherings, the Geography of Hope Conference brings together leading writers and activists to the coastal village for a three-day feast of readings, discussions, and activities to inspire and deepen an understanding of the relationships between people and place.
The 2017 panel presenters are conservationists, teachers, spiritual leaders, poets, novelists, and journalists who use poetry, fiction, or literary non-fiction to express a sense of urgency about environmental concerns and a fierce compassion for the well-being of the Earth. They include: Joanne Campbell; Michael Dahl; Drew Dellinger; Nikky Finney; John Hausdeorffer; Lyla June Johnston; Winona LaDuke; Ilarion (Larry) Merculieff; Celia Herrera Rodriguez; Lauret Savoy; Greg Sarris; Constance Washburn; and Brooke Williams.
The conference includes field trips to nearby farms, ranchlands, and Point Reyes National Seashore. In addition, there will be three panel discussions during which authors, activists, and other participants exchange stories about ancestry, culture, community, land, food, and immigration. We’ll try to inspire right action, and not succumb to despair. We’ll try to articulate how future stories—those that will be told by our descendants—depend in large part upon our actions today.