Woman of the Water provides a rare glimpse into the vast knowledge and experiences of indigenous women and their relationship with water, from the Mi’kmaq of Canada to the Yaqui of Arizona to the Achuar of the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador. This empowering documentary offers insight into the power of water, from our universal dependence on it as a source of life and healing to its intimate connection with the feminine. The women of the water seek to guard and preserve this invaluable knowledge so that it can continue to flow as a living stream and be accessible for the women of today.
“Atlcintlli” Sung by Rosa Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli and Tahila Xicahuamazatl Mintz
“Taki Taki” by Mariana Root:
Tahila Xicahuamazatl Chavez Mintz, Director/Producer
Tahila has been photographing for more than 20 years, living and working throughout North and Central America, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Middle East. She is an artist, a lecturer at Texas State University, community organizer, freelance media specialist and educator, contract photographer, healer, and ceremonial woman. Her mixed Jewish and Yaqui heritage influences her work that focuses on indigeneity, diaspora living, guardianship, ceremony, the environment and women. She is a Moondancer and Mexica Aztec Danzante. To find out more about Tahila go to her website.
Nicole Licea, Editor/Cinematographer
Nicole Licea is a multimedia producer and documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. After graduating from the Radio-Television-Film program at the University of Texas in Austin in 2011, she began producing and editing commercial videos and documenting local events, conferences, and performances. Since 2013 her media collective Las Telarañas has worked with Red Salmon Arts to organize ¡Cine Resistencia!, a free summer film screening series at Resistencia Bookstore that showcases local and international Latina/Chicana/Indigenous filmmakers and stories.
Nathaniel Baruch, Industry Consultant
Brooklyn native Nathaniel Baruch has been involved in the film and television industry for over a decade, handling all aspects of distribution, marketing and publicity. Nathaniel has worked with companies such as IFC Films, VICE, HBO, Lionsgate, Magnolia Pictures, Cohen Media Group, Sony Pictures Classics, Oscilloscope, Drafthouse Films, Radius, Brigade Marketing, Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Cannes and others. Utilizing the tools he’s learned to help nurture others on their creative endeavors, Nathaniel has lectured at American University and NYU, giving insight to students eager to understand what’s out there after they graduate. Nathaniel is also the creator of the wildly successful blog TILDASTARDUST: Dedicated to the belief that David Bowie and Tilda Swinton are one being.
Rosa Tupina, Spiritual Consultant
Rosa Tupina was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and was raised in Avalos, Chihuahua. She learned natural remedies from her grandmother and her aunts because that is how people knew how to take care of themselves. Her grandmother learned to carry the tradition that was passed on from oral history and carried on the Fiesta of her Patron Saint in a mixture of Catholic and Indigenous traditions making her beautiful altars, bringing the community forward and providing service and lots of food to people from the community including those who were in the jail. In the professional arena, Rosa Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli, LCSW is a DBT Psychotherapist, a Public Speaker and a Trainer. Rosa began her career in the medical world as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in 1978 and practiced nursing in General Medicine and Mental Health settings until she obtained her BS in Psychology in 1986 and began working in Women’s projects and Community Based Organizations. She obtained a MSSW in 1992. Rosa Tupina is a Sundancer of more than 20 years and a Moondancer of 9 years from the Mexica lineage of Grandmother Tonalmitl and Xochimeztli Moondance from Mexico City. Rosa was presented with her symbols as a 9th year Moondancer October 2012 and named Sacerdotisa and Abuela de la Danza de la Luna authorized to preserve maintain and protect the Mexica forms and traditions through the Sacred Moondance Ceremony. She carries a Sundance Pipe, and a Moondance Pipe, A Sundance staff and a Moondance staff and she jokes with Grandmother Tonalmitl saying that the Guerreras of today carry the laptop in one hand and the staff in the other one. She remains true to her beliefs because in all her travels she represents herself as a Spiritual Leader who is also a professional Woman.
The YouTube channel for Jittoa Productions is up and beginning to have clips of knowledge sharing. Subscribe now to keep up to date as our library grows!
Catch our Director Tahila Mintz discussing Woman of the Water live on television on Tuesday, June 21 at 7:00pm CST! Our project will be featured on the Spotlite Show,… Read more “Woman of the Water on Spotlite TV Show”
June 8 – Photography Workshop at Jo’s Cafe – San Marcos TX
June 25 – Work-in-Progress Film Screening – Resistencia Bookstore – Austin, TX
Four years ago I accompanied the indigenous Mexica elder Tupina Yaotonalcuauhtli to the Moondance ceremony in Mexico, hosted by Abuela Tonalmitl. There, hundreds of women, in sweat lodge, making formations of the Aztec codices in dance under the moon, the drum beat and songs, were so powerful, empowering, and inspiring that I have been forever changed. While transitioning between dream and waking state, the drum beat had begun to penetrate the earth under me. I understood this film needed to be made. It would be a creation where these medicine women shared their own stories on their terms; humanity’s connection with the water, what it is to be a healer, a leader, a woman, today. I humbly presented my idea to Bebesu, a Yeruba high priestess, who like me was there in a support role. Would she be open to me accompanying her in ceremony, recording, making interviews of her and sharing with the general public sacred knowledge of her traditions? Many Indigenous ways are traditionally guarded against recordings. Sharing even within a community is not always permitted. Here I was wanting to make recordings as a tool of guardianship and education for within our Indigenous communities, and also as a way for humanity, as a whole, to have access to this profound ancient knowledge and healing. Her response “YES, the time is now! Come to my home for a couple of weeks and we will start.”
I began identifying the women I wanted to focus on. All are incredible leaders of medicine, ceremony, and community. The project did not begin quickly. I did not know how to begin. A year and half later Lyna Heart, a community leader in the Manitoba community, crossed over. She was in her 60’s and I became even more conscious that I could not waste any time. I wanted to record these women, to create a way for their words to be spread and a medium for this knowledge to be accessed as a part of history to be referred to later. I completed my semester teaching and left my job. I began going on as many trips as I could with the grandmothers and meeting more and more women on travels through introductions into these sacred spaces.
I am dedicating this movie to Lyna. I am endeavoring to preserve sacred wisdoms, to inspire young women, all women, all people, to see their personal power, and to honor our grandmothers, our generation, and our daughters. I am exploring what it means to be a woman today. I have beautiful teachers who have graciously granted me permission to share our circle with the world outside, the greater community. The title Woman of the Water is in the first person, as I must own who I am, and you who you are. In our traditions, we learn from the elements and this is the entry point for this film. The water cleanses us, it heals us, it calms us.
In this work, I want the women to tell their story. I want women’s voices to be heard. Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing.
If you have a story to share, resources to contribute, or just want to let us know you are out there, we want to hear from you!