the forgotten land

amerindian heritage month in the rupununi.

the amerindians of guyana decided against celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of america by christopher columbus. instead, they remember their own culture and hold an 'amerindian heritage month'.

in this festive month we witness the celebrations and performances in the small amerindian village, st. ignatius. we travel the rough savannah in the hinterland of guyana and visit two remote ranches surrounded by untouched nature.

various groups with political or economical interests practice their influence on the cultural events in the 'benab', the traditional gathering house of the amerindians.

the canadian mining company 'vanessa mining' finances the 1st prize of the amerindian women's beauty contest. the winner is awarded a six-month computer course in georgetown, the far away capital of the country. a representative of the company crowns the radiant winner by exchanging her amerindian head-dress for a tin crown.

an older amerindian man demands back authority over his ancestral lands in his song. other indians have organized themselves as a political party and tell their views to the camera. to rap it up, the minister of indian affairs, vilbert de sonza, campaigns for good atmosphere in the benab. he plays the guitar and sings a spanish song.

the question of land ownership, unsolved to the present, the culturally, economically and politically motivated ideas of the conflicting parties are topics of our film.

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