We ARE still crowdfunding, aiming for our flex goal of $40K to cover the next chunk of costs incurred during development & production! Join the movement by pledging support! / Stories from 12 Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color redefining "outdoorsy" and reclaiming belonging in outdoor recreation.
Mission StatementWe're a multi-racial, women-led, radically collaborative, creative team seeking to decolonize outdoor culture both in front of and behind the lens. We're building a blossoming community of storytellers & outdoor lovers promoting belonging in outdoor spaces for Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color.
About The Project
Expedition Reclamation is a first-of-its-kind short documentary highlighting Washington State-based BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color) in outdoor spaces. Our twelve characters present counter-narratives to mainstream outdoor culture, through a tapestry of stories woven together in celebration of resilience, belonging, and everyday connection to our natural world.
We paddleboard, snowboard, climb, hike, snowshoe, and swim; we also sing, pray, forest bathe, heal, and thrive. In every activity and every instance, the women in this story show up boldly to reclaim what it means to be “outdoorsy.”
ELISA explores the outdoors as a bilingual natural science educator and Latino outdoor recreation leader.
KAREN shares wisdom to encourage future generations to revive kinship with the outdoors.
INA climbs and snowboards to inspire more young BIWOC to find joy in the backcountry.
MARY revitalizes awareness of Indigenous cultures through entrepreneurship and efforts to buy back stolen Wenatchi land.
PAIGE shares her diasporic journey to honor her Indigenous roots and return to a reciprocal relationship with the Land and Sea.
CHELSEA teaches us why daughters are the greatest motivation.
TEIZEEN reminds us of the innate scientist in every child.
KAJA's infectious love of water taps into the healing power of nature in the face of personal hardship.
SAM challenges stereotypes that the outdoor industry isn't "for curvy women of color."
MICHELLE finds fulfillment pushing her limits climbing up high mountain peaks.
SAMARA shares her learnings on the road to reconnecting with her P'urhepecha Indigenous roots.
NIKKY reveals the power of camping and singing in nature in her own spiritual and physical healing.
This film is the first installment of the larger Brave Space Project, a blossoming community of storytellers and outdoor lovers on a mission to move beyond diversity and towards belonging in outdoor spaces for Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color.
WHY WE RECLAIM | WHY NOW
We’re in the midst of another reckoning on racial justice. And as lovers of the outdoors, we can’t pretend that “nature doesn’t discriminate.” This land bears scars that whisper our history of colonization, forced removal, extraction, and manipulation. If we're going to adventure on these lands, we want to be a part of healing these scars.
We’re telling these stories to fostor collective healing, to honor our ancestors, to inspire our daughters, and to encourage all outdoor lovers to join us in the movement for promoting diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all in the great outdoors.
As women of color + white women allies who are actively prioritizing anti-racism work, our outdoor-adventuring team has experienced firsthand the isolation and self-erasure that comes from being the Only: the only non-white, non-male person in spaces of outdoor recreation. Outdoor films predominantly depict cisgendered white men bagging peaks, taking leaps, and being “hard core outdoorsy.” Those films are rad. But what about the rest of us? We know there’s a huge audience aching to connect with stories about people like them: Black, Brown, Indigenous, People of Color who feel deeply connected to nature, even if their version of “outdoorsy” doesn’t align with popular outdoor culture. This film is for them.
WHAT DOES EXPEDITION RECLAMATION MEAN?
Historically an "expedition" typically refers to a group of white men on a journey of "exploration, scientific research, or war." These expeditions largely resulted in lands stolen, borders drawn, and harm inflicted on people and planet in the name of a foreign crown. To this day in outdoor media, an expedition film typically depicts a group of white men setting out to conquer new terrain.
Expedition Reclamation writes a new narrative. This expedition is to reclaim and restore rather than conquer, to focus on relationship and reciprocity with the land and its people rather than extraction. This journey is one of inward discovery, an exploration of what it means to reclaim our belonging in outdoor spaces. This expedition seeks to bring healing to the very communities who suffered as a result of past voyages.
When Black, Indigenous, & People of Color don't see themselves reflected in outdoor stories, our culture sends a message that they don't belong in these spaces. We shrink their individual possibilities, reinforce accessibility divides, deepen narratives of exclusivity, and propagate the lasting lineage of colonialism. In doing so, society as a whole loses collective potential.
But when we represent stories of BIPOC in nature, we help to restore their right to dream themselves into spaces of adventure and relationship with our natural world. We promote stewardship of both nature and culture. We help give space for healing, joy, reclamation, and belonging.
Learn more about our blossoming community that surrounds this film project: www.bravespaceproject.org
Land is sacred.
Our mission includes honoring the past, present, and future ancestors of the spaces in which we live, work, and play. As part of our location fees for production, we factored in a payment to the Wenatchi Land Back project. We're paying 5% of our budget for Expedition Reclamation to Wenatchi Land Back.
The P’Squosa (Wenatchi) Tribe lost their promised land in 1855 because the government broke their treaty. Their homelands stretch from what is now known as Wenatchee, WA all the way up through Leavenworth, WA and Lake Wenatchee, WA. This is the ancestral land upon which many of our cast and crew reside, and on which the majority of production took place.
Indigenous-owned apparel brand Wenatchi Wear is spearheading the Wenatchi Land Back effort to buy back a piece of land for a trading post and community center for the P’Squosa Tribe. Wenatchi Wear is owned by Mary Big Bull-Lewis (a character in our film!) & Rob Lewis. Mary and Rob are passionate about creating awareness and empowering Indigenous Peoples through authentic threads. Mary is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribe; Wenatchi, Moses and Entiat and a descendant of the Blackfoot Tribe. She started the Wenatchi Land Back initiative to honor her ancestors, protect the land, and Indigenize spaces.
Find out more about Wenatchi Land Back at www.wenatchiwear.com
WHY WE'RE CROWDFUNDING
What makes Expedition Reclamation and the larger Brave Space Project strong is community. We are better because of you -- because of your engagement, your wisdom, and your belief in the importance of diversity, equity, and belonging. We're crowdfunding because we know this movement is more powerful with all hands on deck.
We're practicing a mindset of abundance. We're practicing knowing that we can pursue our art in a way that brings healing to the world and that we can be paid well for it. As women, especially as Women of Color, society tells us to settle for less. We reject that message, knowing there are enough resources in this world to pay us what our work is worth and to help us get our message to the communities that need to hear it the most.
Our ultimate goal is to raise $100,000 for this film project: To pay everyone, and pay everyone well, and to kick-start outdoor education events and storytelling workshops to amplify the impact of Expedition Reclamation.
Our current campaign goal is to raise $30,000: To cover development and production. We've already shot all interviews and adventured around Washington State capturing footage of all our characters. Other than a few pick-up shots, we have all of our content. All work so far has been done on spec. We want to be able to pay all crew for all work to date.
Every cent beyond $30k will support our post-production and distribution phases to bring this film to the finish line!
Thank you! We're stoked to have you with us on Expedition Reclamation.
*Note about working during COVID-19
Although COVID-19 has presented challenges for the filmmaking process, we are adaptive and resilient. We've been able to adhere to all COVID guidelines while capturing content and producing this film. We are so thankful to have this community of supportive women during these challenging times. This project has brought us energy and hope in a time when we needed it the most. We are forever grateful for this work that brought us all together.
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About This Team
OUR CORE VALUES
With this multi-racial, women-led project, we’re proud to be contributing to a paradigm shift towards a highly collaborative, human-centric, anti-racist, and decolonized approach to filmmaking.
Like every system we live by in our modern world, both the film and outdoor industries were created by, prioritize the success of, and centralize white, male viewpoints. Under these systems, we dampen the potential of everyone who doesn’t fit that profile, doing them and our society as a whole an unparalleled disservice. We believe that to build a better future - one where all are empowered to realize their fullest potential - we must create a new rulebook.
This is not a fad, it’s a way of living; a new embrace of our ancestral ethos.
Community is power.
At the very beginning, we expected a handful of responses to our initial call for characters, crew, and participants. We received over 55.
We decided to include everyone.
With these 55+ BIWOC, we built a community: a Brave Space where women can show up safely and vulnerably, be seen and heard, and listen and learn from each other. Through a series of community calls, our production team learned from these profound women about their connection to the outdoors, their struggles with representation and access, and their visions for an inclusive outdoor culture. Their perspectives shaped our focus.
Radical collaboration is decolonization.
With a multiracial, co-creative, all-women leadership team, we're challenging the mainstream dynamic of a competitive, hierarchical storytelling process and working at the intersections of feminism, antiracism, and environmental justice. We share roles: we are co-directors, co-producers, co-cinematographers. We continually have conversations about taking the ego out of the work, actively supporting one another, and building a brave space together as creators. We believe in rising together.
Our process prioritizes people over pace. Timelines and deadlines matter; organic, inclusive storytelling matters more. Colonialism tells us to grind until our last breath; we say rest is resistance. We’re committed to taking the time this project deserves, to ensure everyone who wants to play a role gets a role, to keep our team holistically nourished throughout the process, and to harness every opportunity to develop this into an intentional and robust film. Ultimately, we know our passion for this story will bring this film to the finish line.
WHO WE ARE
Chelsea Murphy (co-producer, co-director) is a nature-loving advocate on a mission to bring diversity to the outdoors. Recognizing the lack of culture and diversity in outdoor recreation, her work promotes the idea of re-creating what it means to be “outdoorsy.” She strives to be a representation both to her daughters and to fellow Black and Brown women, inspiring them to get outdoors with confidence. She uses her voice to normalize conversations around racism and white supremacy, highlighting how both systems still dominate outdoor culture. Chelsea is motivated by motherhood to be a good role model, and her current forms of activism include participating in speaker panels, writing, and social media leadership.
Erin Joy Nash (co-producer, co-director, co-DP, co-editor) is a visual storyteller working to incite change and foster connection through filmmaking and photography. Her work focuses on elevating voices of womxn and BIPOC around issues of intersectional feminism, antiracism, environmental justice, and compassionate living. Erin aspires to bring empathy, brave vulnerability, and intention to every aspect of the storytelling process. With a background in visual journalism and non-profit work, Erin has partnered with The Hope Project: Liberia and Icicle Creek Center for the Arts to bring impact-focused stories to light. She's worked closely with Voortex Productions in the Pacific Northwest & is the founder of Brave Space Media.
Sanjana Sekhar (co-director, co-DP, co-editor) is an Indian-American filmmaker and regenerative communicator engaging in the intersections of nature and culture. Her work seeks to amplify character-driven stories that heal our human relationships to each other and to our planet, with a specific interest in environmental justice, ancestral knowledge, and regeneration. She has been featured at Tedx Climate AcrosstheAmericas, Sakhi Gender Justice Showcase in NYC, and Close to Home Environmental Art Show in Charlottesville, VA.
Rebekah Graham (co-producer, project intern) is a transracial adoptee from China working on a Bachelor of Science from The Evergreen State College. She is currently exploring the intersections between Euro-American ecology and Indigenous knowledge, and ways to increase accessibility to the outdoors while redefining what it means to be outdoorsy. Rebekah is a birdwatcher, rock climber, hiker, and tea drinker based along the Salish Sea.
BEYOND THE FILM
The Brave Space Project
We are a storytelling and community-building initiative seeking to redefine “outdoorsy” and reclaim belonging in the outdoors for Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (BIWOC). Our blossoming community connects women with outdoor buddies, fosters a Brave Space for discussions on racial justice in the outdoors, honors everyone's lived experiences, and pushes for a diverse and inclusive outdoors for all.
We have big dreams of someday hosting storytelling workshops, outdoor educational events, and community-building gatherings. Follow our journey at www.bravespaceproject.org