Healing is not easy.
This film is no easy answer.
Its my attempt to share
The experience of my family
That traces its roots in San Francisco and the Bay back to before the state of California
Rupturing around the time an order issued paying bounty for California Indians.
This is a film about a journey
Started on the day I asked my dad, ‘where are our relatives in Mexico?’
He said he didn’t know, which didn’t add up
I would not relent
‘Ohlone,’ I think we are Ohlone.
Those words brought me back to California
And to a whole identity I did not know
History books told me all the Ohlone were gone.
Only one day, a group of Mexica dancers took me there
Where it said, ‘Welcome to Ohlone Territory,’
And I was to find out
I was not alone.
Joy, happiness and honor were the feelings I carried
To my elders, ‘please tell me more’
Only they were not filled with joy or happiness
And they did not want me to be either.
So I cried, and cried
I read, and read
And wept and wept
Until the tears could not come anymore
And I knew the only way through
‘Witness the Healing’ shares my story in search of my family’s Ohlone roots, and builds upon my short film and public projection of the same name, by incorporating now the larger historical context of the intersections of place and time where my family lived, sharing some important historical facts of the San Francisco, Almaden and Monterrey Mission corridor. This film gives a look to a side of the Bay Area history never seen.
When I released my short film in 2006, I was still very much in the middle of the search for my ancestor’s history, and still a relatively new member of the Ohlone community. I was nervous about sharing my experience. Yet, the response from community members, and within the larger Native American community was extremely inspiring, and spurred me to develop the project and start the Kickstarter project!
With your support, this film will share a common experience for Native Americans that often have difficulty uncovering the history of their Native American relatives. The additional funding will make it possible to return for fresh interviews with my family, reflecting our new research and discoveries. Kickstarter support will make it possible to traveling to visit and film at the archives where my family history is stored, preserving the same for younger generations.
Importantly, Witness the Healing shares the Ohlone history in the Bay Area with a focus on contemporary activity over the last 50 years, building up from pre-Contact through archival and historical accounts, interviews with humanities experts and historians. Interviews with Ohlone community members and leaders, whose reflections on their own family history, bring a broader understanding of the Ohlone experience from statehood forward.
Your support will help bring to light an important story, not just of the tough history, but so importantly, Witness the Healing shares how the Ohlone community and families are moving forward today towards healing. Witness the Healing is a universal story that knows no bounds or borders, sadly, and yet still, in sharing our experiences, we can inspire healing in general, and that is ultimately, a pretty good thing.
Will you join me?
The $10,000 will make it possible to film this summer at archival locations in San Francisco, San Jose, and Monterrey, and interview family, community members and humanities and history scholars. I will add the new footage to the footage I have shot over the last five years, crafting a story that is character-driven, engaging, and shares a whole view of San Francisco never seen.
Please join the healing! The Supporter Rewards seek to honor all contributions towards this healing journey, and I hope you’ll enjoy the various packages, some emphasize digital media or photo packages for those who may prefer one or the other of my work. There are combo packs that reward with both types of rewards.
The search for my Ohlone heritage has given way to a deeper connection with the Bay Area Native Community, and in the process, the honor of creating a community documentary that explores the state of Museum and Native Nations relations by documenting the innovative de Young Museum’s Native American Programming Committee’s work. As part of a Cultural Encounters Commissioned Artist, I am also creating a three-panel video installation for the de Young Museum Tower that will open in March 2011. I have offered some rewards related to this project, as another means to Witness the Healing, and learn more about the Bay Area Ohlone and Native Communities.
Your contribution will also fund two Ohlone youth media internships for college and high school students. I participated in the Ohlone Youth Media Training in March 2010 and I will ask students from that program to participate.
Thank you for taking a gander at my proposal. If you have a few minutes, consider the video pitch. Above all, thanks for your connection to healing, in whatever form you offer it to the world!
June 08, 2010
To see the images from the Landless Indian series, visit http://www.photoshelter.com/mem/gallery/gallery-show...
For the 'Relations' Project photos, please visit http://catherineherrera.photoshelter.com/gallery/Relations-Project-Photo-Gallery-by-Catherine-Herrera/G0000mZ9Kyk0bHkg