American Desert on Film: U-Idaho President’s Sustainability Symposium Helps Bring Documentaries to Campus

Monday, March 21 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho President’s Sustainability Symposium will co-sponsor screenings of two documentary films in support of the annual event slated for March 30 - April 1, 2011.

Both films explore environmental activism in the American west, particularly the intersection of human culture and the natural landscape. Each screening will be accompanied by a discussion with the film's stars and producers.

• “The Return of Navajo Boy”
Saturday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre
508 S. Main St. in Moscow

The PSS has joined with the Sapatq’ayn Cinema Film Festival to screen “The Return of Navajo Boy,” a documentary about the contamination of Navajo lands in Monument Valley from uranium mining as revealed through an extraordinary history in pictures, and the subsequent campaign to fund clean-up efforts by the five agencies responsible for the poisoning. Elsie Begay, whose family has lived in Monument Valley for more than six decades, will visit Moscow to discuss her pivotal role in the film and clean-up campaign.

• “Canyonlands: Edward Abbey and the Great American Desert”
Thursday, March 31, 5:30 p.m.
SUB Borah Theater
709 Deakin Ave. in Moscow

The PSS and the university’s English department will screen “Canyonlands,” a documentary about the deserts of Utah and Arizona – a landscape shaped equally by the forces of nature and of human intervention – as told through the writings of Edward Abbey. Abbey gave voice to the environmental movement of the 1970s through seminal books such as "Desert Solitaire" and "The Monkey Wrench Gang." The film includes new interviews with Abbey, along with interviews with Ken Sleight, Kim Crumbo, Katie Lee, Jack Loeffler and Jim Stiles. The screening will be followed by a discussion with director Roderick Coover and co-producer Lance Newman.

These documentary screenings support the overall mission of the President’s Sustainability Symposium to create a forum to identify and discuss sustainability issues as they relate to the triple bottom line of environment, economics and social justice.

For more information about “The Return of Navajo Boy,” see

To learn more about “Canyonlands,” visit the director’s website at or contact Jennifer Ladino in the English department at

For more information about the 2011 President’s Sustainability Symposium, visit

As increasing environmental awareness drives interest in sustainable practices, the University of Idaho continues to seek carbon reduction initiatives to meet the current and future needs of society and to contribute to the quality of life and the natural resources in Idaho, the nation and the world. The University of Idaho emitted 38,981 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2007, which equals 3.59 tons per student. The university has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 and has begun the work to reduce carbon emissions across operations. For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit