Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania
September 13, 2008 - September 13, 2009

"The Prophecy" poetically recounts the "Prophecy of the Fourth Crow," which is understood to parallel the history of Pennsylvania's hidden Lenape people. The film opens with the bet of a drum, the heartbeat of a Nation, as the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania's flag dances on the wind. As the Prophecy unfolds, spoken first in Lenape and then in English, impressionistic images of earth, water, fire and air suggest a dream-like state and recall the Lenape's close connection to the land and all of its creatures. A male figure in a red ribbon shirt and a female spirit figure serve as guides through the emotional landscape that connects the Lenape people to their lost land and hidden heritage. A montage of faces provokes a series of questions: How can a people emerge from decades in hiding? How do we determine identity? What is heritage? Perhaps best compared to Latin American literary testimonios of the 1970s, the film exists in a liminal space between truth and fiction. Unlike many documentaries, it does not provide a litany of facts, but rather seeks to express the emotional presence of a community in the form of a prophetic poem. Tinged with both sorrow and the hope, "The Prophecy" pays tribute to the past and looks forward to a more hopeful future.

Shot over a period of five months, "The Prophecy" emerges from the warmth, kindness, and graciousness shown to the filmmakers by the members of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania. For that, and for their friendship, the filmmakers wish to express their gratitude.

Filmmaker Bios

Amitanshu Das
Amit was director of NYU's Department of Film, Video and Broadcasting before joining the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. He began his career as a documentary and educational filmmaker in India in the early eighties and has produced award winning films, videos, documentaries and educational programs. He has lectured on film history at the American Museum of the Moving Image and taught filmmaking at the Mass Communication Research Centre of Jamia University in Delhi, the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, NYU's Department of Journalism, UPenn's Graduate School of Education and the Wharton School of Business.

Kristin Searle
Kristin is a third year doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania in both the Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum program at the Graduate School of Education and the Department of Anthropology. Formerly a research assistant at the University of Utah's American Indian Teacher Training Program and the Center for the Study of Empowered Students of Color in Higher Education, Kristin's prior research focused on American Indian education and Indigenous epistemologies. She is the co-author, with Bryan Mckinley Jones Brayboy, of "Thanksgiving and Serial Killers: Representations of American Indians in Schools," which appeared in Invisible Children in the Society and its Schools (3rd ed.), edited by Sue Books (2007). Upon her arrival at Penn, Kristin teamed up with Amit and began exploring the use of digital video as both a medium of teaching and learning and as a tool of educational research. This is her first film.