YOSEMITE -- A Sonora artist who got in trouble for filming American Indian ceremonial dances in Yosemite National Park must complete 198 hours of community service and be on unsupervised probation for one year, a federal judge ruled.
No one complained when Lorenzo Baca shot a 30-minute film of dances that were held in June 2002 in the park's Indian Village. Three years later, a park service worker spotted a video of the "Yosemite Big Time" event on sale for $30 in a gift shop in the Indian Museum and raised a red flag.
Dancers told the authorities they agreed to participate in a film that was for home or educational use, but did not anticipate any commercial sales. And the film showed Baca stepping over a sign that says the public may not enter a roundhouse.
So Baca, 60, was charged with three misdemeanors.
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A bench trial was held in the park's tiny courthouse, which is a satellite of the U.S. District Court in Fresno, last fall. Baca was found guilty of trespassing on a cultural resource and doing business in the park without a permit but acquitted of filming in the park without a permit.
The federal judge's ruling came Tuesday.
Baca could not be reached for comment, but he previously told The Bee that his case is the result of infighting among tribes who want a piece of the pie erroneously believing he is making money off his films.
Park officials said the case was unprecedented, but court rec- ords show that Baca has had similar troubles elsewhere.
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians sued Baca in 2003, because he was selling footage of dances held at the Sonora Museum back in the 1980s. He settled the case by agreeing not to repackage footage that originally supported a thesis at UCLA, where Baca earned a master's degree in American Indian Studies.