Navajo Solar Sunrise

A documentary film about the community solar project being implemented at Navajo Mountain and the challenges and obstacles currently being overcome to achieve this. This film tells the story of Hank Stevens, former Navajo Mountain, chapter president and Bears Ears inter-tribal coalition leader demonstrating both experience and leadership while taking the audience through his transformative time as a young man who used to be employed by the local Peabody coal mine to a current champion of green energy development in his community today. The story will come full circle from the recent past when natural resource extraction was flagrantly and excessively pursued in oil, gas, uranium, and coal industries damaging the American West. Now that this day is no longer our contemporary situation, Americans are compelled to rethink about where their energy comes from and ethical decisions that are forced back onto vulnerable, indigenous communities to first experience land theft through settler-colonialism, and it’s devastating environmental impacts.

The complicated nature of environmentally beneficial energy demands introspection, but at what cost will this energy development be pursued now? Will the advocates and champions of the land view Indigenous peoples as a necessary victim in this transaction, again? Are Indigenous sacred lands once more “sacrifice zones” when many of our Indigenous peoples have already given so much to the American society, culture, and history, such as those contributions of veterans who have fought to protect this country and all who live in it? In this time of difficult decision-making, we know that there are directions that we can choose that are most beneficial for the future of coming generations. Yet, there is hope and guidance if we listen the original inhabitants of this American land. Under the direction, wisdom, and leadership of Native American leaders like Hank Stevens, showing us the best way to take care of the land as stewards and caretakers, a model that can also be followed by the rest of the world. Climate change, increasingly worsening health issues, and environmental justice around Indigenous territories are now everyone’s concern and the only way to make it forward now is together.