Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary film maker Larry Lansburgh is coming to Southwestern College. His presentation is titled “David & Goliath in the Amazon” and is free to the public. The presentation will be Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. in Messenger Recital Hall in Darbeth Fine Arts Center.
Using sequences from his documentary film "Dream People of the Amazon," Lansburgh’s presentation focuses on the Achuar, indigenous people who live in a part of the Amazon rain forest that has hardly changed in a thousand years. The Achuar had no contact with the outside world until the early 1970s. Then they learned that the outside world wanted the oil under their territory, and that oil operations would destroy their forest and their very existence.
According to Lansburgh, the presentation emphasizes a powerful message of hope from the Achuar. To defend their right to live as their ancestors did in an unspoiled part of the greatest rain forest on earth, the Achuar have developed ingenious and effective strategies to deal with the modern world, he says. For more than 10 years, the Achuar have kept the oil companies out.
“‘David & Goliath in the Amazon’ is a success story of strong indigenous people still living in a healthy rain forest, people who have practical wisdom to share with all of us,” Lansburgh says.
Lansburgh’s presentation is in conjunction with an upcoming trip to be taken by George Gangwere, professor of physics at Southwestern, and 19 SC students. The group will spend 12 days in Ecuador learning about the rain forest and two indigenous people, the Achuar of the Amazon and the Otavalenos of the Andes Mountains. Seven of the students will also be traveling to the Galapagos Islands. The group has been meeting once a week during the fall semester and will earn one credit hour.