Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists

from Multimedia Library Collection:
Environmental Film Profiles (videos)

McLeod, Christopher (Toby). Standing on Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Tourists. San Francisco: Sacred Land Media Collaborative, 2013. HD, 57 min.

Standing on Sacred Ground focuses on indigenous communities around the world as they resist threats to their sacred places—the original protected lands—in a growing movement to defend human rights and restore the environment. In this four-part documentary series, native people share ecological wisdom and spiritual reverence while battling a utilitarian view of land in the form of government megaprojects, consumer culture, and resource extraction as well as competing religions and climate change. The 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. This episode centers around indigenous communities around the world which stand in the way of government megaprojects. In the Russian Republic of Altai, traditional native people create their own mountain parks to rein in tourism and resist a gas pipeline that would cut through a World Heritage Site. In northern California, Winnemem Wintu girls grind herbs on a sacred medicine rock, as elders protest U.S. government plans to enlarge one of the West’s biggest dams and forever submerge this touchstone of a tribe. (Source: Official Film Series Website)

 ©2013 Christopher McLeod/Earth Island Institute. Trailer used with permission.

This film is available at the Rachel Carson Center Library (RCC, 4th floor, Leopoldstrasse 11a, 80802 Munich) for on-site viewing only. For more information, please contact

About the Environmental Film Profiles collection

Further readings: 
  • Bruno, Andy. “Russian Environmental History: Directions and Potentials.” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 8, no. 3 (2007): 635-50.
  • Cernea, M. M. "Poverty Risks from Population Displacement in Water Resources Development." Harvard Institute for International Development 355 (1990): 55.
  • Gadgil, Madhav, Fikret Berkes, and Carl Folke. "Indigenous Knowledge for Biodiversity Conservation." Ambio 22, no. 2/3 (1993): 151–6.
  • Krech, Shepard, III. The Ecological Indian: Myth and History. New York: Norton, 1999.