The Story


Cody Nick and Travis, three teens from the Swinomish Indian Tribe, wanted to make a gangster movie or rap video. But instead they were asked to investigate the impact of two oil refineries on their tribal community. March Point follows their journey as they come to understand themselves, the environment and the threat their people face.

For centuries the Swinomish Indian Tribe has relied on the natural resources of the Skagit Valley, through clamming, crabbing, and fishing. Before white settlement tribal people inhabited the valleys, rivers, and shorelines, living off the rich land. But in 1855 most of this land was taken away by the Federal government in the Treaty of Point Elliott. The Swinomish people were left with basic health care, some fishing rights and a small reservation. In the late 1950s, two oil refineries were built on March Point, an area that was once part of the Swinomish reservation by treaty. Over time, the presence of the refineries has negatively affected the health of the water and land and the very fabric of cultural tradition itself. March Point is the story of three boys awakening to the destruction these refineries have wrought in their communities. Ambivalent environmental ambassadors at the onset, the boys grapple with their assignment through humor, sarcasm and a candid self-knowledge.

Film Statement

In 2005, media advocacy groups, including Native Americans in Television and Film, announced their annual evaluations of indigenous presence in American media. Native Americans were almost invisible yet again, with the exception of a few limited stereotypes. Native actor Michael Horse elucidates:

“Native Americans are usually portrayed as violent, drunk or the all- knowing sage. We are not seen as doctors, lawyers or businessmen. The message this sends to Native American children is that there is no place for us in modern society, that we are an antiquated culture.”

We founded Longhouse Media in January 2005 to address this critical problem. We wanted to help catalyze indigenous people and communities to use media as a tool for self-expression, cultural preservation and social change. Our primary program, Native Lens, brings digital media training to Native youth in rural and urban settings. Native Lens’s youth-produced films have yielded strong and positive new media, increased participants’ self-esteem, worked as a catalyst for community interaction and dialogue, and supported youth in the development of life skills and academic success in school.

Addressing the topic of biotoxins is not a particularly thrilling project for 15-year-old boys, but Nick, Cody and Travis, three of our youth participants were interested in learning how to make films as a substitute for their mandated drug treatment program. They thought working on a Native Lens project would help them stay out of trouble and stick together. We decided to film a piece about the two oil refineries located on March Point.

MARCH POINT weaves the boys’ stories together with the documentary they are making, resulting in a parallel awakening. As the boys uncover the detrimental impact of the refineries on the health of their tribe and discover the land dispute issue, they begin to see themselves as storytellers and leaders in their community. What happened exceeded anything we could have imagined.
Although they were unable to resolve the environmental and land issues they uncovered, the process of filmmaking, inquiring and defending their tribe had a life-changing effect on them. Ultimately, it is their unique voice that separates this film from others that have dealt with similar issues.
It was an honor to work on this collaborative and community-based project. We believe in the power of MARCH POINT, as told by its young storytellers, to educate, inspire and transform.

Tracy Rector and Annie Silverstein, March Point Filmmakers

Film & Crew

Rachel Nez
Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
Northwest Film Forum
Brian Porter
Heather Rae
Yoruba Richen
Tom Robinson
Wendy Rosen
Bird Runningwater
Margaret Sagan
Mike Sato
Susannah Sharp
Rick Stevenson
Shell Oil Refinery
Silverstein Family
Skagit Valley Herald
Skagit County Historical Museum
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Senate
Kaia Smith
Ruth Steele
Jack Storm
Robert Uteda
Frank Varga
Holly Taylor & William
Maggie Winter
Hannah Wood

Funding provided by
Native American Public Telecommunications
The Stuart Foundation
The Environmental Protection Agency
EPA STAR grant #R-829-467-01: Nigel Fields and Montira Pongrisi
The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
The Gates Foundation
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
The Potlatch Fund
National Geographic All Roads Film Project
Muckleshoot Tribe
Ray Parman Jr.
Skokomish Tribal Nation
Squaxin Island Tribe

Executive Producers
Tracy Rector
Annie Silverstein

Executive Producer for NAPT
Shirley Sneve

This program was produced by LONGHOUSE MEDIA. Which is solely responsible for its content.
2008 Longhouse Media ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Annie Silverstein
Tracy Rector
Cody Cayou
Nick Clark
Travis Tom

Edited by
Eric Frith
Amanda Larson
Cody Cayou
Nick Clark
Tracy Rector
Annie Silverstein
Travis Tom

Sound Design and Original Music Composition
Force Theory

Production Assistants
Yolanda Cieters
Corey Contreras
Jamie Donatuto

Additional Footage
Fiona Otway

On-line Mastering & Color Correction
Flying Spot

Colorist/On-line Editor
Shane Dillon

Post Production Sound
Bad Animals

Sound Mixing
Dave Howe

Graphic Design
Richard McFarland

Illustration by
Victor Pascual

Still Photography
Tracy Rector

Additional Photographs
Cayou Family
Clark Family
Marcel Marchon
Poncharee Kounpungchart

Murray Silverstein
Tom Family
Richard and Molly Walker
Williams Family

Project Advisors
Francene Blythe
Penny Costello
Katie Jennings
Gretchen Ludwig
Fiona Otway

Lead Archivist
Theresa Trebon

Archival Materials Courtesy of
Center For Pacific Northwest Studies
The National Archives
Skagit County Historical Museum
University of Washington – Images Library

Additional Music
Jim Boyd

Music Rights
“Happy Together”
Performed by The Turtles
Written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon
Published by Alley Music Corporation
By Carlin America Inc.

Music Synch Rights
Trio Music c/o Windswept Productions
“Happy Together”

Legal Counsel
Zachary Wright
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Legal Counsel
Allan Olson
Alix Foster
Emily R. Hutchinson

Dawn Lambert

Website Design
Victor Pascual

Web Film Trailer
Fiona Otway

Educational Assessments
Dana Arviso

Rose Stiffarm
Yolanda Cieters

Yolanda Cieters

To the Elders, Families, and People of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community
Sherman Alexie
Bruce Calvert
Calvert-Adera Family
Daniel Davis
Eric Day
Tracy Dethlefs
Jim Gibson
Martin Edwards
Marcella Ernest
Elissa Fjellman
Jill George
Michael Gross
Judy Hakins
Mystique Hurtado
Senator Claudia Kauffman
Tailin Kelly
Elise Krohn
La Conner High School
Lincoln Theatre
Congressman Jim McDermott’s office
Rodrigo Meira
Andrea Menard
Elaine Miles
Todd Mitchell
Anacortes Museum
National Museum of the American Indian