The final of the four Kumeyaay Land and Cultural Persistance Project films was selected and screened at the RAI International Film Festival in Bristol in March. This long form ethnographic film was commissioned by the Kumeyaay Heritage Preservation Committee through Recuerdos Research.
Completed in Spring 2019, the film explores the contemporary development of the Birdsinging tradition amongst the Kumeyaay (Ipai and Tipai) people of southern California. Bird Song cycles are shared with a number of other tribes in California, the southwestern United States and in Northern Mexico. Varying from tribe to tribe, they are sung on ceremonial occasions, but also for local and inter-tribal social events and even at political protests.
The earliest recordings of bird songs amongst the Kumeyaay were probably made by amateur ethnographer Constance Goddard DuBois in the late 19th century. Her work was not discussed or shown in the film, but is the subject of an ongoing investigation and a potential future film. Some of these recordings still exist and copies are now being digitized.