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Sierra Nevada Indians



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Spiritual Guardian
Photograph by Stephen Ferry

For Wiwa priest Ramón Gil, the rocks, seashells, sand, and water at Los Naranjos beach are a sacred landscape. Believing that the Sierra Nevada is the Heart of the World and crucial to the survival of the planet, the indigenous priests strive to keep all elements of the mountain environment in harmonious balance. Their ancestral territory extends from water's edge to the more than 18,000-foot-high (5,500-meter-high) peaks of the Sierra Nevada, the highest coastal mountain formation in the world. Over the last century, however, Indian leaders have seen a steady loss of their land. The clear-cutting of the forests by farmers, cattle ranchers, and coca growers for the cocaine trade has pushed the indigenous Indians higher and higher up the mountain.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera:  Leica M6
Film Type:  Kodachrome 200
Lens: 35mm Summicron
Speed and F-Stop: 1/125 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: Cloudy with slight sunshine peeking through
Time of Day: Early morning
Lighting Techniques: Available light


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