In honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the first season of original short films made by Indigenous directors on their homelands, presented by Reciprocity Project, a collaboration between Nia Tero and Upstander Project in association with REI Co-op Studios, are now streaming at and on REI’s YouTube channel.

“Stories from Indigenous peoples’ about being in reciprocity with the Earth are essential in delivering messages of truth, healing, and transformative change,” said executive producer Tracy Rector, who is also Managing Director, Storytelling, at Nia Tero. “Our survival is the result of the efforts of many ancestors who have come before us. With the Reciprocity Project films as a guide, we ask ourselves – and you: what kind of ancestor do you want to be?”

Reciprocity Project season one centers knowledge and cultural learnings from Indigenous communities across Turtle Island in the U.S. and Colombia and features films by Indigenous creators who are Gwich’in, Cherokee, Wayuu Iipuana, Passamaquoddy, Shinnecock Indian Nation, and Kanaka Maoli.

“These first seven remarkable films are an invitation to start a conversation about taking good care of each other, our families, neighbors, and communities,” said Adam Mazo, Reciprocity Project producer and Creative Director at Upstander Project. “As the world navigates an escalating climate crisis, these films uplift Indigenous value systems that have steered and bolstered communities since time immemorial.”

The filmmakers worked alongside community partners, infusing the films with their perspectives on reciprocity as well as connections to the land and animals around them.

“We believe stories can inspire a more equitable, empathetic outdoor community, and we are committed to elevating diversity and representation in the storytellers we partner with,” says Paolo Mottola, REI Co-op Director of Content and Media. “We are inspired by the Reciprocity Project filmmakers.”


Reciprocity Project is in production for its second season with a new cohort of Indigenous filmmakers from Kenya, Finland, Sierra Leone, Rotuma, Taiwan, and United States.

The Reciprocity Project is a short film series and multimedia platform, made in partnership with Indigenous storytellers and their communities worldwide, invites learning from time-honored and current Indigenous ways of being. The project aims to promote the healing of the planet by recognizing that we are in relationship with Earth, a place that was in balance until the modern industrial age. Nia Tero is a US-based nonprofit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples who sustain thriving territories and cultures to strengthen guardianship of Earth and all beings. Nia Tero’s vision is of an Earth where Indigenous guardianship of thriving homelands and waters is enabled everywhere possible. Upstander Project uses storytelling to amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth. REI Co-op Studios is the retailer’s in-house content arm. Across films, podcasts and editorial programs, the studio develops and produces stories that entertain, enrich, and explore the power of time spent outside, while complementing the co-op’s broader climate and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion commitments.

For more information, to watch the films and view learning guides, visit

About the Films

“Diiyeghan naii Taii Tr’eedaa (We Will Walk the Trail of our Ancestors)”
by Princess Daazhraii Johnson and Alisha Carlson (Gwich’in)
A grandfather teaches his granddaughter how the Gwich’in people take care of caribou and vice versa.

“ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)”
by Brit Hensel and Keli Gonzales (Cherokee Nation)
Cherokee ways of being and knowing are explored through a story told by Thomas Belt, a Cherokee elder and first language speaker.


“SŪKŪJULA TEI (Stories of My Mother)”
by David Hernandez Palmar and Flor Palmar (Wayuu Iipuana)
A wise Wayuu woman teaches her grandchildren the importance of reciprocity within their culture.

“Weckuwapasihtit (Those Yet to Come)”
by Geo Neptune and Brianna Smith (Passamaquoddy)
Peskotomuhkati young people lead an intergenerational process of healing through the reclamation of athasikuwi-pisun, “tattoo medicine.”

“Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn)”
co-directed by a collective of directors
The song and stories of the Waponahkik (the people of the dawn land) are shared as they bring gratitude to the sun where it first looks their way, accompanied by Yo Yo Ma.

“Ma’s House”
by Jeremy Dennis (Shinnecock)
Dennis shares his quest to restore the family home to its central role as a community gathering place for a new generation of diverse artists.

“Pili Ka Moʻo”
by Justyn Ah Chong and Malia Akutagawa (Kanaka Maoli)
A family of native Hawaiian taro farmers’ efforts to preserve their ancestral land from the encroachment of corporate entities.


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