AWAKENING THE ROOTS
With KUMIKO HAYASHI
Kumiko is a Japanese-American film-maker and medicine woman born in Tesuque Indigenous territory in New Mexico. She has presented her work in conferences and gatherings around the world, including the ICEERS World Ayahuasca Conference in 2019.
She is a producer and cinematographer for “Women of the White Buffalo,” a documentary about Native American Lakota Women to be released in 2021. She directed her first feature-length film, “The Roots Awaken” (@therootsawaken), about her journey from the Andes to the Amazon rainforest, living with 15 Indigenous tribes transforming the environmental crisis through culture, ceremony, and community.
Kumiko’s journey started when she joined representatives from tribes across the Americas at a Pachakuti gathering in Ecuador, a long weekend spent listening to wise elders and participating in rituals from their respective cultures. She had a vision that Indigenous people in the Amazon Rainforest were in great danger and decided to travel alone from the high Andes to the jungle. She discovered that the Amazon Rainforest is at a tipping point, witnessing disastrous oil drilling near Yasuni National Park and in the Ecuadorian Amazon. “There are tribes that forecast the environmentally destructive nature of our economic models before the term climate change was even coined,” she says. “I participated in many rituals and ceremonies that all led me to the same awareness: we are one and inseparable from our environment.”
Kumiko obtained a BA in Humanities from Soka University of America in 2014 and a BA in Communication and Media Studies from Universidad San Francisco de Quito in 2013. She is a board member for the Coach2Edify Foundation, promoting transformational solutions for wellbeing
The Roots Awaken
ABOUT THE Organisation
The Roots Awaken is a film about a women who travels from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon Rainforest to unite with the indigenous people.
Indigenous people and their cultures are threatened across the planet. This documentary presents a heart driven and interconnected story of indigenous youth from the Andes Mountains to the Amazon Rainforest who are rising up with their elders to defend their territory and maintain their ancestral cultures as Ecuador becomes more globalized.
The Roots Awaken is made through a process of community cinema, an emerging concept in film where the subjects are active participants in the co-creation of the production of their reality. This documentary was made in collaboration with more than 11 communities in Ecuador, including Entaya Ainz Jea, Tsachila, Cofan, Otavalo, Sarayaku, Moretecocha, Peguche, Tzawata, Cotacachi, Ilalo, and Yanayaku.
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ABOUT HER PROJECT
An ancient, Native, matriarchal society has been upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism. This has resulted in culturally sabotaged and isolated communities that are in a constant struggle to save what remains of their sacred identity. The Lakota women living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, are rising up against the forces that continue to suppress them. By preserving and protecting their ancestral values and wisdom, they provide a source of hope to their people.
With exclusive access to the lives of 8 women, ranging in age from 10 to 98, we explore powerful testimonials of loss and survival as we gain insight into the experience of a modern Indigenous American living on a reservation. Gripping historical accounts and startling timely statistics guide viewers down the path that has led to these present day conditions.
The indelible voices of these determined women inspire us with their strength, gifting us with ancient insights that speak to our current global, environmental and cultural crises. These are the powerfully rich stories of the brave women and children living in the poorest county in the United States.
The intention of this film is to shine a light on our Native sisters, to ensure that their voices are included in this current wave of global Women’s empowerment, and to inspire the next generation of Native youth to utilize their own ancient wisdom in the much needed healing of their communities. For all viewers, this film is an opportunity to learn from this intensely beautiful and powerful culture about some of the forces that perpetuate racism, abuse, and inequality. As they say in Lakota, Mitákuye Oyás’i?, “We are all related.”