The Land Returns


The Land Returns chronicles a surprising new way that Indigenous nations are regaining their land: individual settlers, local governments, environmental organizations, and even corporations are returning stolen land to Indian nations as part of a growing grassroots movement of restitution and reconciliation. Walter Echo-Hawk asserts, “If a person is wanting to heal a historical injury or to bring about a reconciliation or a true atonement of a painful past . . . there’s nothing better that one can do than to return the land.”

: 57 Minutes

Release: TBD

Expiration: TBD

Distributor: TBD

Rights: TBD


KEVIN ABOUREZK (Rosebud Lakota), co-producer of “The Land Returns,” is an award-winning journalist who spent 18 years as a reporter and editor for the Lincoln Journal Star, where he wrote thousands of stories and produced numerous news videos. He is the winner of the Associated Press’s Best Enterprise Story Award in 2006 and the prestigious Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism from the Casey Journalism Center on Children and Families for his reporting on the impact of alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Nebraska, to residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.


MARGARET JACOBS, of settler descent, is the co-producer and co-writer of “The Land Returns.” She is the Charles Mach Professor of History and Director of the UNL Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has researched and written about Indigenous child removal for 20 years and has published 35 articles and 3 award-winning books, including A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World (2014) and White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940 (2009). She received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2018-2020 for her project, “Does the United States Need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission?” She will publish After 100 Winters: In Search of Reconciliation on America’s Stolen Lands in October, 2021. In 2017 Jacobs co-founded the Genoa Indian School Digital Reconciliation Project with Elizabeth Lorang, of UNL’s Libraries, and a team of Native Community Advisors. In 2018, she and Kevin Abourezk co-founded Reconciliation Rising, a multimedia project that showcases Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are engaged in honestly confronting painful and traumatic histories, promoting meaningful and respectful dialogue between Natives and non-Natives, and creating pathways to reconciliation.

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Walt Pourier

Vice Chair

Walt is Oglala Lakota and created the logo for Urban Rez. He is Creative Director, owner of Nakota Designs Advertising Designs and Graphics. Executive Director of the Stronghold Society nonprofit dedicated to instilling hope and supporting youth movements through Live Life Call To Action Campaigns.


Program Coordinator

(Hataža Mani Winga)​

"Cinema Aficionado"

Role: Jordana is excited to engage with different Native/Indigenous communities. Her passion for working with youth will help develop the Native Youth Media Project. She will also assist with the Creative Shorts Fellowship (CSF) to help organize deliverables for filmmakers.