Film explores American Indian rights

November 15, 1992

"The Probable Passing of Elk Creek," a one-hour documentary on a small mill town's struggle with the land rights of American Indians, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Western Maryland College in Westminster.

The film, free and open to the public, is part of the college's four-semester series, "The Legacy of Columbus: Indigenous Perspectives."

The film will be shown in McDaniel Lounge, to be followed by a discussion led by Dr. Christianna Nichols Leahy, associate professor of political science at the college.

"Elk Creek" depicts the threatened forced relocation of American Indians, as well as non-Indian residents of a northern California town and reservation that would be flooded if a dam is built nearby.

Some residents want the dam because it could revitalize the area's economy after the closing of the town's lone industry, a saw mill. Others are opposed.

Under the law, the fate of the town lies in Indian hands. The film raises questions about community and sense of place, land rights, and the role of American Indian tradition.

An educational and provocative addition to celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' journey to the New World, "The Legacy of Columbus: Indigenous Perspectives" features lecturers from WMC, as well as other institutions, films, community round-table discussions, and other events designed to encourage a diversity of viewpoints regarding the Columbian Quincentenary.

"The Economic Legacy: Indigenous American Aspirations and Realities" is the theme of this semester's events.

"Indigenous Perspectives" is sponsored by the Cross Cultural Exchange Program at Western Maryland in conjunction with the Carroll County Public Library, the Westminster Chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Women's Club of Westminster and United Church of Christ, Catoctin Association. Portions of the program are made possible by the Maryland Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Information: WMC Public Information Office, 857-2290 or 857-2294, or, from Baltimore, 876-2055, Ext. 290 or 294.

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