March Point

May 15th, 2010 | By | Category: 21-4: Native American Studies, Summer 2010, Media Reviews

MARCH POINTA Native Lens film by Longhouse Media (2008), 56 minutes

Directed by Annie Silverstein, Tracy Rector (Seminole), Cody Cayou (Swinomish), Nick Clark (Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde), and Travis Tom (Swinomish/Lummi).

Review by Janet Freeman

The strength of March Point lies in the fact it’s impossible to decide which is more gripping: witnessing a resurrection of spirit in three teenage boys or the equally fascinating attempt by these same students to act on the intertwined issues of land rights and water conservation.

At first reluctant participants in the Native Lens project, Travis Tom, Nick Clark, and Cody Cayou soon embark on a journey into selfhood as they are called to investigate the contamination of rivers on their native land. As the boys discover, and we with them, the pollution is allegedly caused by a Shell Oil refinery that sits on March Point, a piece of land once recognized by treaty as part of the Swinomish reservation.

In tracing how the land came to be opened to non- Native homesteaders and later sold to an oil company, the boys gain compelling insights into their own personal histories as well as a new-found respect for their heritage. Their growing commitment to environmentalism and self-reflection is compelling and a solid narrative on which to hang the broader environmental and land-rights issues facing the boys’ community.

Janet Freeman is an independent writer and photographer living in Santa Fe, NM. She has a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing from George Mason University and can be found on the web at:

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