What Was Ours

Documentary | Mat Hames

An Eastern Shoshone Elder and two Northern Arapaho youth living on the Wind River Indian Reservation attempt to learn why thousands of ancestral artifacts are in the darkness of underground archives of museums and churches, boxed away and forgotten. Like millions of indigenous people in many parts of the world, they do not control their own material culture. It is being preserved, locked away, by ‘outsiders’ who themselves do not know what they have.

57 minutes

Release: January 16, 2017

Expiration: January 16, 2021

Distributor: Independent Lens

About the Filmmaker

Mat Hames is an award-winning director and producer whose films have appeared on PBS and the Sundance Channel. Hames’s film When I Rise captured the spirit of the civil rights fight in Texas by following the story of a young black music student, Barbara Smith Conrad, after she was removed as the lead in an opera at the University of Texas by none other than the Texas Legislature, before going on to become a world-famous opera singer. When I Rise premiered at SXSW, was an official selection of 11 film festivals and appeared on PBS’ Emmy winning series, Independent Lens. His film Fighting Goliath, produced by Robert Redford, was selected by 12 film festivals, then aired on the Sundance Channel.