Tonight at BlueWater Cinemas, a new 37-minute documentary film will be screened at 7:30pm commemorating 150 years of the Colorado River Indian Tribes and highlighting the indigenous history and culture of the area.
The CRIT reservation was established in 1865, a year after the Mohave Chief Irataba represented his people on a visit to Washington D.C. and New York, meeting President Abraham Lincoln and others in the United States Government. At that time, the ancestral lands of the Mohave tribe encompassed a large region of what is today the southwestern United States.
The film, produced for the CRIT Mohave Elders Committee by Hemet Productions, outlines how the indigenous people of the Parker area lived in precolonial times, who Chief Irataba and his nephew Chief Manataba were, and the origins of the CRIT reservation.
Rare interviews with CRIT elders are included, in which they tell the filmmakers about the threat of losing their native language, and losing the songs that have been passed orally from generation to generation. With fewer and fewer fluent Mohave speakers left, there are less opportunities to teach the language to younger people. The film shows footage from language classes taught by Sheldon Swick, a Mohave elder who passed away during the film’s production.
The CRIT reservation today incorporates four tribes: the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Hopi and Navajo. Many of the film’s interviewees expressed optimism about the future for the CRIT people, and talked about a recent resurgence of interest from younger tribal members in birdsinging, dancing and the other traditions of their respective tribes.
“The Marking of a Milestone” will be screened in four screens simultaneously at BlueWater Cinemas in Parker, AZ tonight at 7:30pm. It is open to anyone and everyone and admission is free. The following weekend, the CRIT Fair & Expo will bring CRIT together with the wider community – see HERE for details.