Danny Beaton is a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan. He is an activist filmmaker who believes in protecting Native culture and their homelands. His latest documentary. The Iroquois Speak Out for Mother Earth, is a compelling one. So much so that a coworker borrowed it as soon as this writer screened it, and there’s a list in the Nation office of who gets it next. The felm features Elders voicing their concerns about the pollution of Mother Earth, including air, land and water problems. Big deal, you may say. But the solutions to the problems are unique as they are a reflection of Iroquois values and culture.
Iroquois Elder Clayton Logan likens mankind’s abuse of the environment to nothing less than murder because we all suffer for that crime. John Mohawk, meanwhile, looks at Western cultural values as imposing man’s will on nature rather than adapting to it. In the film Mohawk said it would take a different Danny Beaton on the right mindset to halt global warming.
The words contained in this documentary are well thought out and show that Native culture and wisdom aren’t some “lost in the past” romanticism, but a vibrant part of Iroquois life. It is something that will preserve the knowledge for the future. The hour-long Iroquois Speak Out For Mother Earth will air on Vision TV in March.
This isn’t the first film that Beaton has done on Native Elders. He has also filmed Mohawk Wisdom Keepers, which appeared on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network last fall. Beaton told the Nation that he is driven to protect the Mother Earth and native values, culture, homelands and knowledge. He has worked with the Crees, Innu, Apache, Seminoles, Ojibway and Natives from the Amazon Rain Forest in doing this. He is a part of the Native American Spiritual Elders and Youth, an organization that maintains traditional ceremonies and council.