|Indian Studies Association film festival starts Nov. 10|
The third annual Indian Studies Association Film Festival begins Nov. 10. All films are free and open to the public
Monday, Nov. 10, "Standing Silent Nation," 7 p.m., Lecture Bowl, Memorial Union
When the Oglala Sioux Tribe passed an ordinance separating industrial hemp from its illegal cousin, marijuana, Alex White Plume and his family glimpsed a brighter future. Having researched hemp as a sustainable crop that would grow in the inhospitable soil of the South Dakota Badlands, the White Plumes envisioned a new economy that would impact the 85 percent unemployment rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They never dreamed they would find themselves swept up in a struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights, and common sense.
From the hemp fields of Pine Ridge to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals, the one-hour documentary tracks one family's effort to create economic independence for themselves, their reservation, and their future generations. The hemp plant is like a new buffalo for the Lakota: a resource whose many uses from food to fuel to fiber, could enrich their sovereign nation. For three years, Alex White Plume and his family planted industrial hemp. But each year, their harvest was disrupted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which claims that hemp is marijuana despite the absence of marijuana's psychoactive properties. Standing Silent Nation challenges contemporary notions of Native America, while providing a compelling and engaging story rarely covered in mainstream media.
Monday, Nov. 17, "The Ghost Riders," 7 p.m., Lecture Bowl, Memorial Union.
Seven generations ago the horrifying and fate-sealing event of the Massacre at Wounded Knee unfolded. Among Natives, the Massacre of 1890 is commonly observed as the final nail in the coffin of what is nostalgically called the old way of life. Nearly one hundred years later, a Lakota leader and educator began having a recurring dream in which he saw his fellow tribe's people riding into Wounded Knee just as his ancestors had done before. In his dream, once his people arrived at the site of the Massacre, they cried and prayed, mourning their great loss of 1890. Thus began the Big Foote Memorial Ride, where Lakota young and old ride 300 miles on horseback to the site that marks both their decline and their revitalization: Wounded Knee Creek. The ride was intended to recur four times, with the final ride ending exactly on the centennial of the Massacre at Wounded Knee. This day's event was called the Wiping of the Tears Ceremony and was meant to be the last of the Big Foote Memorial Rides. However, after seeing the positive impact the ride was having on the children of the Seventh Generation, youth leaders sought to continue the ride indefinitely. The spiritual focus of the ride began to shift from past to future, and the Big Foote Memorial Ride evolved into the Future Generation Ride and has remained so these past thirteen years. The Ghost Riders tells its story using a stark contrast by portraying stunning landscapes of snow-capped peaks, wide open plains, and wildlife roaming free to further describe the limbo between past and present in which today's Indian is caught. Finally, The Ghost Riders provides rare glimpses into life on the Pine Ridge Reservation through interviews and cinema verite style footage. The notable contributions of Hollywood star, Benjamin Bratt as the narrator will ensure that The Ghost Riders and the children of the Seventh Generation receive the proper recognition they deserve.
Monday Nov. 24, "The Battle for Whiteclay," 7 p.m., Lecture Bowl, Memorial Union.
Please join us after "The Battle for Whiteclay" for a discussion with filmmaker Mark Vasina and Native activist Frank LaMere.
The State of Nebraska's refusal to halt alcohol sales to the dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation from its border town of Whiteclay gets an in-depth look in this new documentary about a century-old problem. Four off-sale beer stores in this 14-person hamlet sell over 11,000 cans of beer a day to an Indian clientele with virtually no legal place to drink it. Struggling with crippling poverty and epidemic alcohol abuse that afflicts four out of five families, the Oglala Sioux Tribe has for decades banned the sale and possession of alcohol on their reservation. The Battle for Whiteclay follows Indian activists Frank LaMere, Duane Martin Sr. and Russell Means through the streets of Whiteclay to the halls of Nebraska's State Capitol in their efforts to end alcohol sales in the place many have dubbed "skid row on the prairie." Here is an inside look at an important contemporary conflict pitting American Indian rights against state and local governments in the United States.