‘Conscience Point’

Tom Kochie
Bridget LeRoy, Rebecca Hill-Genia, Kelly Dennis, Shane Weeks, and Joe Shaw. Independent/Tom Kochie

Aside from the unfortunate event after the Wednesday, February 12, HamptonsFilm screening of “Conscience Point” at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor — Ruth Vered was taken away in handcuffs after allegedly assaulting a police officer following an aggressive rant about her white privilege (the full story can be read in our police news) — it was an inspiring evening among film-goers, part of the “Air, Land + Sea” series.

The film “Conscience Point,” directed by Treva Wurmfeld, held its world premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival last fall. It tells the story of the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s long fight for its sacred land on the East End, mainly in the Shinnecock Hills area, where many revered ancestors are buried. The film dives into the topics of land ownership, the East End’s economic divide, and environmental impact of new development.

“My understanding is that a lot of the people who are out year-round are actually quite familiar with a lot of these issues. I think the population that perhaps could be more tuned into some of these issues are more of the people who have a house and come to visit. But the film gets into the historic plight of the Shinnecock, and I’m not sure how much of the history people know,” said Wurmfeld during an interview with The Independent last October. 

“On the reservation, wounds run deep,” states the film’s website. The movie demonstrates this in a powerful way.

Following the screening and a family-style dinner, a panel discussion was held that included Rebecca Hill-Genia, an activist and member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation; Shane Weeks, a Shinnecock tribe member, artist, and cultural consultant; Kelly Dennis, an attorney and member of the Shinnecock Nation; and Joe Shaw, executive editor of the Express News Group. Bridget LeRoy, The Independent’s associate editor, moderated the panel. All three representatives from the Shinnecock Nation were included in the film.

As the Shinnecock Nation continues to fight in court and town hall for its burial grounds, while on the heels of the 2018 U.S. Open protests at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, one thing we can take away from the film and the evening as a whole is that it’s time to work together. As Hill-Genia stated during Vered’s offensive speech, “This is about love. This is about love of our ancestors. This is about love of the earth.”

This is a film all East Enders should watch.

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