History Hour: Nature's Wisdom Thru Native Eyes (Documentary)

  • January 25, 2024 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Reuter Center - UNCA/OLLI

    300 Campus View Road
    Asheville, North Carolina 28804
Ticket Price Free This event is now over

When storytelling, native wisdom and nature’s intelligence converge, something beautiful can arise. That’s the theme of the new film Nature’s Wisdom Thru Native Eyes by award-winning documentary filmmaker David Weintraub and the Center for Cultural Preservation. Weintraub will be joined by Cherokee elders Davy Arch and Mary Thompson for a screening Thursday, January 25 co-sponsored by Asheville Museum of History and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNCA. There will be time for audience questions at the conclusion of the film.


According to Cherokee elder, storyteller and mask-maker Davy Arch, “We were trying to stay connected to the natural world because we realized that everything that was connected to it thrived, so we understood that if we would stay connected to it, we would be prosperous as well.” Arch is one of several native elders featured in the film discussing how for over 10,000 years storytelling connected the tribe to nature and to each other, the use of medicinal plants, and how the native approach that focuses finding connections can help all of us heal our broken relationship with the living world.


Film Director David Weintraub elaborates that what struck him most of all while working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and half a dozen other native tribes is their sophisticated approach in seeing the connections between history, culture and nature.  “In the western tradition, humans are considered to be at the top of the hierarchy, with animals and plants far below.  But native people instead believe that since humans were the last to come and have the least experience on how to live, they must turn to plants and animals as their teachers.  By looking at the living world that way, it transforms us and how we view the living world.  Instead of nature being our conquest, it becomes our partner.”


Nature’s Wisdom integrates native storytelling and philosophy with cutting edge science that’s now discovering that what native people have been saying about the intelligence of nature for thousands of years is actually true!  According to Weintraub, “Recent research confirms that trees have a highly intelligent way of communicating with each other, sharing resources and warning each other of potential hazards.  Many animals use tools, and communicate with each other in ways that we never thought possible before.  And yet native stories and wisdom has observed these behaviors for thousands of generations.”



About the Presenter: Award-winning film director David Weintraub has been an oral historian and filmmaker for over 20 years. His films have appeared on PBS stations around the country and at film festivals around the world. His credits include Guardians of Our Troubled Waters and Come Hell or High Water: Remembering the 1916 Flood. He has previously screened two documentaries with us in recent years. 


Tickets: Admission is free whether in person or via Zoom. Donations for the museum are accepted. 

Location: 6:30-8pm in the Reuter Center (300 Campus View Drive, Asheville, NC) at UNC Asheville and over Zoom. 

Viewing: Virtual registrants will receive a Zoom link with which to view the program. Part of the program will also be recorded and later available on our website.

Inclement Weather Date: This event will be rescheduled for a later date in the event of inclement weather. Registrants will be notified no later than 5pm the day prior of any changes. 


This film is made possible by the Community Foundation of Henderson County, Prestige Subaru, the Arts Council of Henderson County, and North Carolina Humanities.  The Center for Cultural Preservation is a cultural nonprofit organization dedicated to working for mountain heritage continuity through oral history, documentary film, education and public programs. For more information about the Center contact them at (828) 692-8062 or www.saveculture.org

Date & Time

Thu, Jan 25, 2024 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Venue Details

Reuter Center - UNCA/OLLI

300 Campus View Road
Asheville, North Carolina 28804 Reuter Center - UNCA/OLLI