Beyond Fear: A Place for Grizzlies

Leslee Goodman
3 min readMar 1, 2021

A statement from the film’s director, RAIN

As the executive director of the Global Indigenous Council and the UN delegate for the International Romani Union, I spend my life in service to Indigenous communities. A significant part of that challenge is to educate those from the non-Indigenous community about the realities confronted by marginalized and stigmatized peoples. To reach a point of resonance that has meaning, we have to be able to explain that the past is always present in the future. As an Indigenous artist, film often proves to be the most effective thread in the communicative pattern to achieve this.

In making “Somebody’s Daughter,” for example, which is about missing and murdered Indigenous women — the existential threat to Indigenous communities worldwide — my goal was not only to make people feel outrage and grief on behalf of our Indigenous life-givers and future grandmas, but to compel tangible action that will change policies and save lives. This was achieved with the passage of the first federal laws aimed at addressing the tragedy. In making this current film about Indigenous peoples’ relationship with the one many perceive to be the first two-legged to walk upon the Earth, the grizzly, my goal is to leverage the power of history and cinema to inspire people to not only feel and think on behalf of grizzly, but to understand our foundational relationship with the Great Bear, one that began in creation narratives, was immortalized on cave walls, and is a fundamental epic of Earth and Sky that is told each night through the visible breath of the Creator, the constellations.

At no time in human history has the fragility of life been so exposed. Unless there is a rapid and mass embrace of the interconnectedness of life on Earth, our history will cease. In our prayers and ceremonies, we conclude with “For all of my relations,” which is a reference to all living things on Earth. This film will articulate the urgency for embracing a greater environmental wholeness, as understood by our ancestors for millennia. Through this film, I aspire to compel a radical re-evaluation of the dominant culture’s relationship with the natural world. The Earth is not an inventory of resources at our disposal. It is a living, sacred system that nurtures the conditions for life.

“The grizzly is not just a metaphor for Indigenous people, but for all.”

The grizzly bear is the physical embodiment of the spirit of the Earth. She, not he. Trophy hunting and the decimation of the grizzly, the rape and destruction of the Earth, the rape and murder of Indigenous women, they are all inextricably linked and all victim to patriarchy, misogyny, the need to dominate, and the chasm in contemporary society’s soul that greed will never satiate. Corporate cannibalization is unsustainable and has created the madness we navigate now.

As Indigenous people, we see the grizzly within ourselves, and ourselves in the grizzly. We have a symbiotic relationship. What befell the grizzly, befell us. Now the grizzly is not just a metaphor for us, but for all. Our challenge with this film is to lead people to see themselves in the Great Bear, their futures intertwined, and to realize that they too are Indigenous — they are Indigenous to the planet, the only World Mother any of us will ever have. We are in a life-or-death moment. What will we choose?

View the trailer and then click on the link to donate.

Home — Beyond Fear: A Place For Grizzlies

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Leslee Goodman

I’m the publisher/editor of The MOON magazine (www.moonmagazine.org), a monthly journal of personal and universal reflections. The MOON shines in the dark!