The intention of this film is to protect and elevate the voices of native women, too many of whom have been silenced, ignored, abused and forgotten. Increasing the visibility of their powerful journeys through loss, survival, and resilience is an essential part of informing the dialogue regarding feminism, #metoo, Black Lives Matter and every movement that aims to heal wounds and complex forces that perpetuate inequality.
These mistreated individuals and communities serve as a mirror for how we as humans have been conditioned to treat one another, ourselves and our environment. The Mother Earth is in trouble and it is important to note that these First Nations are the keepers of the true understanding and balance of this Earth and all its inhabitants. As they say, Mitákuye Oyás'iŋ, we are all related.
A matriarchal society upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism has disenfranchised the Lakota women and simultaneously reinforced their roles as the backbones of their communities and the keepers of their people's ancient wisdom. These are the powerfully rich stories of the brave women and children living in one of the poorest places in the United States.
With exclusive access to these women’s lives over a period of three months, we recorded their stories as they re-lived some of their most traumatic experiences and let us into their daily life experiences. Along this journey, we learnt how it all came to be and heard their hopes for a brighter future. The results are honest, heart-breaking, beautiful and indispensably pertinent to understanding the world in which we live in today.
10 years old - born to a mother struggling with alcoholism and methamphetamine addiction. She is now being raised by her father’s partner Vandee - 42 years old - herself a victim of drug abuse and teen sex-trafficking, who has dedicated her life to other Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (#MMIWG).
20 years old - survivor of rape and abuse. She is studying Tribal Law and guiding the youth in their Native ways as a competitive dancer and horse racer.
32 years old - is an artist, activist, poet, and teacher fighting everyday to help her students remember the Lakota ways in a world that wants them to forget.
60 years old - who lost her daughter in a suicide that was never investigated. She is revered by many for her sacred role as a preparer of traditional foods for ceremony.
67 years old - shows younger generations of women the sacred Lakota ceremonies and reminds the Lakota people of their traditional tribal ways in their own language on her weekly radio show.
97 years old - an elder whose life of activism and unwavering hope has stood in the face of a century of oppression to carry the torch for indigenous rights and value.
The Elders are the wisdom keepers. We must pay attention to these women as their voices are going unheard much to the detriment of their lives and their loved ones.
Murdered, sex trafficked and missing Indigenous women are mostly unrecorded at an alarming rate. According to communities and local authorities the numbers are rising.
Many non-indigenous people still hold onto the understanding that Native American lives hold no value and therefore are the most in danger of being sex trafficked.