Promised Land

An award-winning documentary, PROMISED LAND, a social justice film on the Duwamish and Chinook tribes, their fight for restoration, and what the federal recognition process says about indigenous sovereignty today.

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Chinook Nation Lawsuit Update!

Chinook Nation citizens gather in Tacoma to celebrate a successful day in court.  // Photo by Sarah Salcedo, 2018.

Chinook Nation citizens gather in Tacoma to celebrate a successful day in court. // Photo by Sarah Salcedo, 2018.

Since the debut of our film, a wonderful thing has happened for the Chinook Nation: a team of lawyers has offered to represent their case pro-bono.


They filed suit in August 2017, and in May of 2018, was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton. The courthouse was packed with Chinook Nation members, allies from the community, and representatives from other Pacific Northwest nations such Puyallup, Grand Ronde, Duwamish, and others.  

Seven out of eight claims made by the lawyers for the Chinook in this case have been allowed to proceed, and the BIA's initial call to dismiss was rejected by the Judge. 

Journalist Natalie St. John gives an excellent summation of the legal victory and what comes next for the tribe that you can read here in the Chinook Observer

Review from Indian Country Media Today Network

We're thrilled to share this review from Indian Country Media Today Network:

"Documentary on Federal Recognition ‘Promised Land’ Will Make You Mad" by Frank Hopper

"At the September 27 Seattle opening of the documentary “Promised Land,” the writer/director team of Vasant and Sarah Samudre Salcedo recalled their first meeting with Cecile Hansen, Chair of the Duwamish Tribe. They told her about the film they wanted to make of the Duwamish and Chinook fight for federal recognition.

“She said, ‘Is it going to make people mad?’” Sarah Salcedo told the near capacity audience at Seattle’s SIFF Uptown Theatre. “I said, ‘Well, it makes us mad.’ Cecile slammed her hand down on the table and said, ‘Good!’ Then she got up and left and that was the end of our first meeting.”

Now, three and a half years later, the Salcedos have created a film that follows through on that promise. It will make you mad. But it doesn’t happen all at once, it kind of creeps up on you.

The film tells the story of two Pacific Northwest tribes, the Duwamish and the Chinook, and their decades long fight to gain federal recognition. It lets the Native citizens of these two nations tell the story. There is no other narration, just Chinook and Duwamish tribal leaders as well as a few Native and non-Native leaders from other organizations and tribes talking about the effect federal recognition has on Native people."

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/10/26/documentary-federal-recognition-promised-land-will-make-you-mad-166204

The film goes to California...

The film has been selected to be part of the 41st Annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco. We're also excited to come down to California with another fantastic Pacific Northwest film, Maiden of Deception Pass. Both will play the afternoon of November 7 at AIFF.

The film was also selected to be part of the 10th Annual LA Skins Fest. The film will play at the historic TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 20 at 1 p.m. The film was also nominated for an "Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking" award at the festival.

Both the Duwamish and Chinook tribal councils will be represented at these events and speak on the panels afterwards to raise awareness for their causes.

Hayu masi and ck'wálidxw to the American Indian Film Institute and LA Skins Fest for these amazing honors and for giving the film the space to share its message.