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Homeland

Having brutally occupied the homeland of Native Americans, the invading Europeans forced the indigenous population onto reservations - land that was specifically selected because of its apparent worthlessness.

To add salt to wounds that are still open, multinational energy companies and others are coming back to extract the hidden mineral wealth of the reservations, and are leaving a trail of toxins that, if unchecked, will make the land unlivable for centuries to come.

But Native American activists are fighting back, and their inspirational stories are chronicled in 'HOMELAND: Four Portraits of Native Action' against the backdrop of some of the country's most spectacular landscapes.

* Gail Small, an attorney from the Northern Cheyenne nation in Montana, is leading the fight to protect the Cheyenne homeland from 75,000 proposed methane gas wells that pollute the water and threaten to make much of the reservation unsuitable for farming or ranching.

* Evon Peter is the former chief of an isolated Alaska community of Gwich'in people, who are working against current efforts to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

* Mitchell and Rita Capitan founded an organization of Eastern Navajo people in New Mexico whose only source of drinking water is threatened by proposed uranium mining.

* And Barry Dana, the former chief of the Penobscot Nation in Maine, is battling state government and the paper companies that have left his people unable to fish or swim in or harvest medicinal plants from the river on which they've depended for 10,000 years.

With the support of their communities, these leaders are actively rejecting the devastating affronts of multinational energy companies and the current dismantling of 30 years of environmental laws. They are dedicated to forcing change - to save their land, preserve their sovereignty and ensure the cultural survival of their people.

Framed by the ecological and spiritual wisdom of Winona LaDuke, HOMELAND presents a vision of how people all over the world can turn around the destructive policies of thoughtless resource plundering and create a new paradigm in which people can live healthier lives with greater understanding of, and respect for, the planet and all of its inhabitants.

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