Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Film on Chinanteco Tradition Raises Awareness of Environmental Concerns

August 19th, 2014

This past summer, filmmaker Sarah Borealis, alum of Tulane’s Stone Center for Latin American Studies and Department of History Ph.D, returned to San Felipe Usila, Mexico to screen the film she produced, The Path of Caldo de Piedra / El Sendero del Caldo de Piedra / JEUH KIEH A JM HM KAHUN. The film explores a Chinanteco tradition of making Stone Soup. Borealis screened this film at Tulane last year with her co-producers, the family whose restaurant and tradition of soup making is the subject of the documentary. She has since toured with this film internationally this year ending finally this summer in San Felipe Usila, site of the film. The local reception of the film was positive and was a critical part of shedding light on the traditions of this community.

While in Mexico, Borealis was able to connect with local journalists and members of the Chinantec community who are currently fighting the proposed hydroelectric dam that threatens to inundate the ritual soup making sites, as well as to displace additional members of the Chinantec community. The Cerro de Oro Dam, which was completed in 1979, forcefully divided the Chinantec community, many of whom continue to live in relocation zones in Veracruz state to the present day.

To learn more about the film and its history please read a feature on the National Geographic website. To learn more about the proposed hydroelectric dam view this short film.

If you’d like to learn more about the film or learn how to become involved, please email sarahborealis@gmail.com> or visit the Facebook page.

Photo above represents everyone involved including film crew, journalists, environmentalists, historian, and friends from left to right Wilma Méndez, asesora ambiental EDUCA y miembro del Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas MAPDER; Azul Méndez (hija de Wilma); Ivan Flores Noriega, (Periodista de Noticia de Oaxaca); Honorina Gachupin Velasco (mama de victor y elisema); Elisema Gachupin Velasco; Dr. Cuauhtémoc Juárez Pérez (especialista ambiental); Cesar Gachupin de Díos (dueño/cocinero del caldo y co productor del doc.); Arturo Juarez Aguilar (director del documental- y co-productor); Dr. Sarah Borealis (productora, co-directora del documental); Victor Gachupin Velasco; Jesse Navas (amigo de la familia).

Central America + People
Justin Wolfe
Associate Professor - History
Central America + News