The Land is Ours

The Tlingit and Haida people of Alaska were confused by the idea of America “buying” the land they lived on from the Russians.

Premiere Date
January 14, 1997
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    1996 American Indian Film Festival-Best Documentary Feature
  • Producer

    Laurence A. Goldin

    Laurence A. Goldin has been making films in Alaska for 30 years and in 2004 was honored as Alaska Filmmaker of the Year. He’s produced and directed 25 long-format documentaries, many of which have appeared on national, prime-time television in the United States and abroad. These included Alaska at War, the story of WWII in Alaska and The Land is Ours, the Show more story of Alaska Natives civil rights and land-claims movements of the 1920s-1940s. Larry also writes, shoots, and directs for national and international clients including National Geographic Specials (Amazon: Land of the Flooded Forest and Those Wonderful Dogs). He’s been twice nominated for National Emmy Awards for Best Cinematography for Documentary for Television. Larry also works as second unit director of photography for feature films and episodic television series. Show less

    We fund untold stories for public media.

    Learn more about funding opportunities with ITVS.

    The Film

    In 1867, the Russian Tsar sold Alaska to the United States. The region’s inhabitants, the Tlingits and the Haidas, marveled that the Americans — whom they respected as shrewd traders — would so foolishly buy something. The Land is Ours is a portrait of the Tlingit and Haida peoples, and native son William Paul, Jr., from their aboriginal past, through missionary contact, their right to vote, school integration (30 years before the civil rights movement), and a successful lawsuit against the U.S. government that paved the way for Congressional passage of the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act.