The Marking of a Milestone

The Marking of a Milestone

Duration 37 min.
Country USA
Screenings Nov 15, 2015 4:30 pm

The Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) was established as a reservation by the United States Congress in 1865, the year after the Mohave Chief Irataba visited Washington, D.C. and met U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. This compelling film tells the story of the origins of the CRIT reservation, from its ancestral origins with the Mohave tribe through the 150 year history since CRIT was established.

The film, produced for the CRIT Mohave Elders Committee by Hemet Productions, outlines how the indigenous people of the lower Colorado River lived in precolonial times, who Chief Irataba and his nephew Manataba were, and how the reservation got started.

Rare interviews with CRIT elders are included, in which they tell the filmmakers about the threat of losing their native language, and losing the songs that have been passed orally from generation to generation. With fewer and fewer fluent Mohave speakers left, there are less opportunities to teach the language to younger people. The film shows footage from language classes taught by Sheldon Swick, a Mohave elder who passed away during the film’s production.

The CRIT reservation today incorporates four tribes: the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. Many of the film’s interviewees express optimism about the future for the CRIT people and talk about a recent resurgence of interest from younger tribal members in birdsinging, dancing and other traditions of their tribes.

The film premiered to four screens at BlueWater Cinemas in Parker, AZ on September 25th, 2015.

Director John Wright
Producer Keith Moses