Indigenous Taíno scientists, activists, and spiritual leaders serve as the island's front line of observers, protectors, and advocates. These holders of ancestral knowledge are challenging a 500-year legacy of colonialism to ensure the longevity of the island of Puerto Rico, called "Boriken" by the Taíno.
The Taíno Peoples, like other Indigenous communities around the world, understand that human-induced climate change upsets the spiritual balance with nature. When humans disrespect the natural world, Guabancex, the deity of storms, brings the "huracán" among other natural disasters. In recent years, Taíno elders have predicted devastating storms and earthquakes and stood in their wake. Thousands have been forced to leave the island since Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, while others have remained. They say the premonitions from Atabey, or Mother Nature, are more telling than ever.
Filmmaker Josee Molavi spent three months in Puerto Rico learning from those who identify with the Taíno community and documenting the living history of the island. The Taíno Peoples remain unrecognized by the Puerto Rican government despite their cultural relevance on the island even today. Though oppressive colonial forces have long devalued and discouraged Indigenous spiritual practices, those who hold a deep connection with the island are crucial actors in its present and future. I Am The Land explores the key intersections of modern science and Indigenous spiritual knowledge in the pursuit of climate justice.