‘Warrior Women’ documentaryBy Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor
nativesunnews.today RAPID CITY – Fresh from screenings at the 2018 festivals of San Francisco Green Film, Traverse City, Lumbee, Seattle International, and Toronto Hot Docs, the Native American team who made “Warrior Women” will be on hand for its Homeland Premiere here on September 23. This 64-minute retrospective follows one family’s experience in the Red Power movement from the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco to the Oceti Sakowin resistance at the Dakota Access Pipeline in 2016. That is the family of Madonna Thunder Hawk, an Oohenumpa Lakota enrolled in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, who is a veteran of every contemporary Native American civil and human rights struggle over the past 50 years. Made in Lakota Territory using South Dakota Public Broadcasting studios, “Warrior Women” is a documentary production destined to smash the chauvinistic version of history as we know it. Thunder Hawk, together with her daughter Marcella Gilbert and debuting indigenous directors Christina D. King and Elizabeth Castle, make a case for paying credit where credit is overdue in the annals of liberation struggles: to the feminine side of the house. "Our voice and our story as women of the movement is the point of the film because we have never had that,” Thunder Hawk says. “From the very beginning when I met Beth (Castle) this was meant to be educational, something for the schools, something to change the narrative,” she noted.
Surrounded by willow sculptures, on loan from Ho-Chunk artist Truman Lowe, the subjects “could engage in each other’s stories, find new memories with each other, and share more naturally -- more like we do when there are no cameras,” King said. For her part, Gilbert thought, “Who am I to have this camera on me? Someone I knew for a long time asked me, Marcy are you in a movie? And I wasn't prepared for that. My face got just red, and I was covering my mouth. “What helped me get through this is telling myself, ‘This isn't about me, this is about my mother -- and it's for our children and the future.’ Then it was easier to accept that I'm going to be in a film.” Thunder Hawk took unprecedented steps, including co-founding Women of All Red Nations to conduct water tests because of a rash of miscarriages and co-organizing the 1980 Black Hills International Survival Gathering to stop radioactive uranium mining upstream from the reservations. “They exposed the uranium mining that was poisoning the water and led a movement to stop it - and did it!” Gilbert marvels. However, she cautions, “While our family has that legacy, we are just one family, and there are families like ours all over Indian country.” The Oceti Sakowin Homelands Premiere is set for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 23, at the Dahl Arts Center at 13 7th St. in Rapid City.
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