Ghost On The Water
Redemption, Renewal and the Fight for Mother Earth
A documentary film exploring the spiritual roots of environmental justice across America, confronting an unsustainable energy paradigm and the challenges of forging a new one.
As we stand on the threshold of a climate disaster, the erasure of indigenous knowledge and culture may yet turn out to be even more egregious than the genocide that took place after the first Western European people crossed the Atlantic more than 500 years ago.
The history of the Americas is often written from the perspective of a technologically superior West and our text books make much of the impression European horses and gunpowder made on its Native people. But it was the technology already there - and its literal fruits - that brought the Westerners to the so-called “New World” en masse and not the other way around.
Upon disembarking from their ships, Europeans found themselves surrounded by crops in quantities and varieties unheard of in their pastoral homelands, supporting populations of a magnitude unimaginable in the Europe of the time. But, instead of curiosity and humility, superstition and greed took hold of the Western spirit and led to the destruction of the very knowledge and culture, that had made such bounty possible.
Today, climate change is confronting us with the consequences of our ancestral myopia as we scramble to find ways of mitigating the destructive effects of the resource extraction at the heart of our unsustainable agricultural and energy paradigms. From unpredictable weather patterns to out-of-control carbon emissions and non-biodegradable waste, we have reached an inflection point.
This project began nearly 3 years ago at the tail end of the Standing Rock movement in late 2016, when thousands of indigenous folks descended upon Washington DC to voice their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline, just as many thousands more of their brothers and sisters were being violently repressed back home.
Despite an initial stay issued by the outgoing Obama administration, the pipeline was eventually green-lighted within months of Trump’s inauguration. The battle had been lost, but the war for both indigenous rights and a sustainable energy paradigm had just begun.
The struggle endured by the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters was witnessed by the entire world and their cause became the cause of all who want a better way forward.
Our project seeks to address these issues by revisiting the narratives of colonization throughout the continent and uncovering the real history that has loomed over indigenous communities for hundreds of years and, which is now at everyone’s doorstep.
Raul E. Diego
Overview of the sections that will be part of the documentary.
- A Question of Time -
First contact. How differences in the perception of time created a barrier between civilizations.
- Empire’s Blood -
Overview of energy paradigms in history and the rise of fossil fuels.
- Debt or Gratitude -
How our perception of nature determines our religious beliefs.
- Native Rise -
Standing Rock and the pipeline resistance movements.
- The Last Straw -
Water scarcity around the world and the move to privatize access.
- Medium of Reflection -
The meaning of water in Western culture vs. Pre-Columbian culture. Symbolism and uses.
- Lost Religion -
Ghost Dancers, Liberation Theology and scientific repression.
- River Wars -
The history of displacement and harnessing of river energy.
- Dirt Nap -
An energy paradigm in decline and the geopolitics of fossil fuels.
- Stalking The Paradigm -
Social and spiritual impact of moving towards a new energy model.