'Sun Kissed'

Sun Kissed screening pic

The University of Redlands will hold a screening of the documentary "Sun Kissed" at 7 p.m. May 8 at Gregory Hall 161. The film documents a Navajo family caring for their daughter with the rare genetic disorder called Xeroderma Pigmentosum, or XP.

Those affected with the disease develop burns and blisters from minimal sun exposure and are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer. It also has neurological implications and those children who have it are left developmentally delayed. This genetic disorder seems to affect Navajo children at a higher rate than the general population. 

The documentary, which was a 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival Official Selection, was filmed by Maya Stark and Adi Lavy over a period of three years. Delving into some painful parts of Navajo history, it follows two parents, Yolanda and Dorey Nez, as they confront tribal taboos. Ultimately they are led to the truth that their children and other Navajo children are still paying the price of the American conquest of their tribe in 1860, a chapter in American history known as the Navajo “Long Walk.”

Following the screening there will be a discussion led by Dr. Lisa Olson, associate professor of biology and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Endowed Chair of Native American Studies, Dr. Larry Gross. They will be accompanied by a few students from Olson’s medical genetics course.

“One of the goals of my medical genetics May term course is to understand the impact of genetic disease on not just the patient, but also the family and the community,” Olson said. “This film explores the connection between genetics and the history and culture of the Navajo people, and I’m looking forward to an interdisciplinary discussion after the film with experts in both fields as well as members of the audience”.

There is no cost to attend. For more information on this event please contact Dr. Lisa Olson at or call 909-748-8524.

Thurber, an English bulldog, is the University's mascot.

He is named after Clarence Howe Thurber, University president from 1933-37.

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