Standing on Sacred Ground: Profit & Loss

Toby McLeod & Melissa Nelson


Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Dance Palace
    503 B Street, Point Reyes Station, CA, 94956, United States
  • Venue: Dance Palace
  • Cost: $20-$30 sliding scale; Free for students

~Co-presented with Sacred Land Film Project~

Indigenous communities around the world and in the U.S. are resisting threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment.

Standing on Sacred Ground is a four-part documentary series where native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling government mega-projects, consumer culture, and resource extraction as well as competing religions and climate change. This series exposes threats to native peoples’ health, livelihood, and cultural survival in eight communities around the world. Rare verité scenes of tribal life allow indigenous people to tell their own stories—and confront us with the ethical consequences of our culture of consumption.

From Papua New Guinea rainforests to Canada’s tar sands, Profit and Loss exposes industrial threats to native peoples’ health, livelihood and cultural survival. In Papua New Guinea, a Chinese government owned nickel mine has violently relocated villagers to a taboo sacred mountain, built a new pipeline and refinery on contested clan land, and is dumping mining waste into the sea. In Alberta, First Nations people suffer from rare cancers as their traditional hunting grounds are strip-mined to unearth the world’s third-largest oil reserve. Indigenous people tell their own stories—and confront us with the ethical consequences of our culture of consumption.

Feb 23 at 7pm - Part 1: Pilgrims & Tourists with Chief Caleen Sisk

May 19 at 2pm - Part 2: Profit & Loss with Melissa Nelson

Sept 8 at 2pm - Part 3: Fire & Ice with Corrina Gould

Nov 16 at 7pm - Part 4: Islands of Sanctuary with Kailea Frederick

Toby McLeod

Toby McLeod is a journalist who works in film, video, print and still photography.  He has been Project Director of Earth Island Institute’s Sacred Land Film Project since 1984. In 2013, he completed the four-part series Standing on Sacred Ground, which premiered on public television in April 2015. Previously, Toby produced and directed In the Light of Reverence (2001) and made three other award-winning, documentary films that were broadcast on national television: The Four Corners: A National Sacrifice Area? (1983), Downwind/Downstream (1988), and NOVA: Poison in the Rockies (1990). Toby has a master’s degree in journalism from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. in American History from Yale. He was a Mesa Refuge resident in 2016.

Melissa Nelson

Melissa K. Nelson is a Native ecologist, writer, media-maker and indigenous scholar-activist. She is the President/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy (which she had directed since 1993) and professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. Her work is dedicated to indigenous rights and revitalization, biocultural heritage and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal of community health and cultural arts. Melissa has edited two anthologies, Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future andTraditional Ecological Knowledge: Learning from Indigenous Practices for Environmental Sustainability. She currently serves on the boards of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center and the Sogorea Te Land Trust. Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian, Melissa is a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She was a Mesa Refuge resident in 1999 and 2018.

Geography of Hope

In 2019, Geography of Hope is expanding from a one-weekend event to a year-long series of gatherings, pilgrimages, film screenings, conversations and art exhibits that explore the theme of “The Sacred in the Land.”

More Upcoming Offerings

Dec 12

Full Moon Fire Circle at Commonweal Garden in Bolinas

Dec 15

Sacred in the Land: Seasonal Pilgrimages Kate Bunney and Walking Water Team