This is the first documentary I made. It was my thesis project as a senior at Wesleyan University in 2005. It tells the story of a man, Van Thomas Green, who submitted a lawsuit against a number of people and institutions on land in the area of Middletown and Portland, Connecticut, claiming it was his ancestral tribal land that he wanted to reclaim. Coming from New Mexico, I was personally intrigued about how different and complex issues of Native identity are on the East Coast than in the Southwest: because of the unique history of colonization in New England, it was much more difficult to "prove" one's identity as a Native American -- which only became important after the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 created the possibility of gambling casinos to be built on land owned "in trust" by the US government in the name of federally-recognized tribes. (Before then, far fewer people cared who was "indian," because it meant by definition that you were poor.)
Needless to say, looking back on this short documentary years later, I would have gone about telling this complicated story differently, especially within the constraints of our 13-minute time limit. I've definitely learned a lot since then, but there are some interesting elements to it. It includes an interview with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, longtime opponent of casinos in the state, who was elected to replace retiring Sen. Chris Dodd in 2010.