Laguna Manati: Ayer y Hoy/Manatee Lagoon: Yesterday and Today| 30mins
Director: Eileen Smith Cavros and Guadalupe Almanza | Producer: Eileen Smith Cavros
Focus Years: 2013 | Country: United States
We all live in altered natural environments. Nowhere from the Amazon to the Arctic remains untouched. This is one small story of the environmental and social changes in Manatee Lagoon (Laguna Manati), near the sacred springs of El Manati in rural Veracruz, Mexico. Local campesinos, farmers and fisherman, who live near Manatee Lagoon discuss their lagoon, the natural world and their lives, yesterday and today. The film centers on conversations with residents who, years ago, hunted or prepared manatees from the lagoon to eat. The campesinos talk about manatees as food, the medicinal uses of their parts, and local folklore about manateesâ€”as well as what the disappearance of the manatees and other once-numerous species has meant for their families and culture.
Without a doubt, the natural world surrounding Manatee Lagoon has changed due in part to human influences, and so have the lives of the people who depend on it. Despite regret about some of the changes that have occurred, the local people are grateful for their families, their community, the history they share, and for the nature that remains. This film was made by a research team of anthropologists and sociologists, including undergraduate students. The film was given to the people of Laguna Manati to assist in the recording and preservation of the stories and experiences of their elders.