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Film Catalog » Subject Areas » American Studies » Roots of Beauty

Roots of Beauty

Roots of Beauty - Image Produced by Jed Riffe,Sherrie Smith-Ferri.
18 min. Color. 2000.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: No
Catalog #: 0094
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Sale Price: $175.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

This richly detailed documentary illustrates the complex processes utilized by Pomo Indian weavers of northern California to cultivate, manage, harvest, and prepare the indigenous plant materials used in their world-famous baskets. The wealth of time, specialized knowledge, and skills involved in transforming living plants into beautiful woven vessels are underappreciated, though essential components of the basketweaver's art.

The video also demonstrates, in concrete ways, the often overlooked sophistication of California Indian land use and management and shows how mainstream America's differing worldviews on land use are endangering the traditional plant materials of the Pomo.

"Roots of Beauty" will stimulate discussion in a variety of courses in environmental issues, land use management, cultural anthropology, and Native American studies. It was produced by Jed Riffe and Sherrie Smith-Ferri.


"This graceful and subtle film provides an excellent tool to support classroom discussions about the complexity of the relationship between Native peoples and the natural environment, and about the cultural knowledge and hidden work that lie behind the production of cultural artifacts. This beautiful film will bear multiple viewings as classroom discussion proceeds. It is suitable for use in courses in anthropology, ethnobotany, Native history, and other social and environmental sciences." -- Prof. Catherine O'Connor, Boston University


  • American Anthropological Assn. selection
  • American Indian Film Festival honoree



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