Official trailer: In the Land of my Ancestors celebrates the living legacy of Ann Marie Sayers, a beloved Ohlone elder. Ohlone people are not federally recognized as indigenous nations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ann Marie used the Indian Allotment Act of 1887 to reclaim her traditional land in Indian Canyon, which is the only federally recognized Indian territory for over 300 miles from Sonoma to the coast of Santa Barbara in California.
In the Land of my Ancestors is a documentary short that celebrates the living legacy of Ann Marie Sayers, a beloved Ohlone elder. Ohlone people are not federally recognized as indigenous nations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ann Marie reclaimed her ancestral land in the Indian Canyon, which is now a sanctuary to many indigenous peoples who don’t have traditional lands for ceremonies.
“We need truth in history. It’s so important. The foundation of this country was built on the lives and death of Indians.” Ann Marie Sayers
In the Land of My Ancestors is a documentary short that celebrates the vital life work of Ohlone elder, Ann Marie Sayers, who has tirelessly preserved the stories and history of her indigenous ancestors. Ohlone people are not federally recognized as indigenous nations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ann Marie used the Indian Allotment Act of 1887 to reclaim her ancestral land in the Indian Canyon in Hollister, CA, which had been in her family for generations.
I am a photojournalist and a writer, whose stories explore the counter narratives, solutions and resiliency of women rising and raising their voices and stories. A few years ago, I worked on a photo essay on Ann Marie and the significance of the Indian Canyon. As an immigrant to the US and a settler in the Bay Area, I learned how the California Missions era and the Gold Rush all but destroyed the culture of Ohlone people. It was incredible to see how the Indian Canyon had become a healing sanctuary to so many indigenous peoples who are reclaiming their culture and spirituality.
This moment is particularly important as Ohlone women in the San Francisco Bay Area are reclaiming their language and ancestral lands, like Corrina Gould, who is leading a women-led effort to establish the
“Nature Deficit Disorder is very real in this society. We are absent of the sacred, outside of money.” Ann Marie Sayers
We need to raise $10,000 to wrap up the post production of the film, amplify our media distribution and host film screenings in the Bay Area.
Majority of our donors are Bay Area and California residents, who feel this film is vital for a reckoning on the genocide suffered by indigenous peoples during the Gold Rush, when there were bounties on the heads of Ohlone people. “In 1854 alone, the government spent 1.4 million – $5 a head, 50 cents a scalp for professional Indian killers,” shared Ann Marie.
As the population of Natives precipitously shrunk during the Gold Rush, the Canyon served as a safe haven for those who were able to find it after wading through a swamp.
Why This Matters
“I am living my dream to live in the same home site of my ancestors. I can feel my ancestors dancing when there is a ceremony going on.” Ann Marie Sayers
This is an important story in the context of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ohlone People are the first peoples of this land that has become one of the most coveted real estate on Earth, where there is an affordable housing crisis and erasure of stories of indigenous peoples.
Ohlone people are also on the frontlines of many bold efforts to revitalize their language, culture and spirituality. Ann Marie fought a 10 year battle to reclaim her traditional land in Hollister, CA, which she later opened up to all indigenous peoples who don’t have traditional lands for their ceremonies.
This documentary short is an homage to her resiliency and touching generosity. In the face of a dehumanization narrative of the dominant culture, Ann Marie has devoted her life to educate youth and others on the history of Ohlone people in the San Francisco Bay Area, and their continued efforts to keep traditions alive.
“I know who I am,” says Ann Marie. “Ohlone people are still here. I do this work to honor my ancestors.”
How You Can Engage
“Today people are shortsighted. When you make a decision, think how this will affect the next seven generations. And we need our youth to start thinking this way.” Ann Marie Sayers
Support us to amplify the story of Ann Marie Sayers!
- Join the film’s official Facebook page here and share the trailer.
- Share the film trailer on YouTube!
- Contact Kanyon or Rucha to Book a screening!
- Write to us! We would love to hear your comments and thoughts.
Looking for more information or have a question? See the FAQ
Screening in the community soon>
>>>February 8th, 2020 viewing at Red Power on Alcatraz: Perspectives 50 Years Later, an event which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Island by the Indians of All Tribes.
In the Land of my Ancestors is a documentary short that celebrates the living legacy of Ann Marie Sayers, a beloved Ohlone elder. Ohlone people are not federally recognized as indigenous nations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ann Marie reclaimed her ancestral land in the Indian Canyon, which is now a sanctuary to many indigenous peoples who don’t have traditional lands for ceremonies. Moderated by director, Rucha Chitnis.
There will also be a showing of “Beyond Recognition,” a film about a Native woman from a non-federally recognized Ohlone tribe and her allies occupy a sacred site to prevent its desecration. Director/Producer: Michelle Grace Steinberg and Co-Producer: Robyn Bykofsky.
November 3rd, 2018 3rd i Film Festival, San Francisco
November 16th, 2018 Goldman Theater, Berkeley
November 28th 2018, Menlo Park Library
December 7th, 2018 Woodside Church, Woodside
January 8th, 2019 Half Wild, Oakland
January 15th, 2019 Oxford Elementary School, Berkeley
February 15th, 2019 Pacifica Museum, Pacifica
March 27th and 29th, 2019 AMDOCS Palm Springs
April 7th, Thrive Oakland>>Trailer Viewing
April 11th, 2019 Exploritorium, San Francisco
May 4th, 2019 Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library. Facebook Event
May 9th, 2019 Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
August 2nd, 2019 KQED California Broadcast
August 11, 2019 “We Are Still Here”: Film Screening and Dialogue at the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, Awaswas Territory
August 13th, 2019 Impact Hub San Francisco
August 23rd, 2019 University of San Francisco>> Photojournalism Presentation
September 7th, 2019 AKSC South Asian Activists, Cupertino
September 27th, 2019 Roxie Theater in San Francisco at SF Green Film Festival
October 2nd, 2019 Spawners group meeting, Richmond, CA
October 6th, 2019 Gathering of Ohlone Peoples in Coyote Hills, homeland of Chochenyo-speaking Tuibun Ohlones
Oct 13th, 2019 American Indian Movement Film Festival, San Francisco
October 15th, 2019 California Historical Society in San Francisco
October 23rd, 2019 Peacebuilding in Ohlone Territory (film & circle) A special night of peacebuilding, focused on the land we live on, right here. How can we listen and learn?
October 26th, 2019 UNAFF Film Festival at Stanford
October 30th, 2019 Kafenia Peace Collective Halloween Mashup: Old Ways and New
“Honoring Truth in Ohlone Territory was the start of an incredibly important process to ground and align ourselves with the people and cultures of this land, and we started with hearing the wisdom of Ohlone elder Ann Marie Sayers-Rood, documented by our friend and photojournalist Rucha Chitnis. How can we learn from the past to guide the future?”
“Thank you all for generously hosting the screening of In the Land of My Ancestors and for your warm hospitality. Thank you to all the cooks who prepared all the delicious foods and for sharing your thoughts on honoring truth in history in Ohlone Territory. These conversations are so needed right now with what’s unfolding. Here’s to listening, unlearning and rewiring. Learning as a collaborative journey is so powerful. “