Monthly Archives: April 2008

DNA – Sasheen Littlefeather & Marlon Brando

An example of a Direct Nonviolent Action… (Many people’s reaction was also a good example of how people react to nonviolence and good points being made).
For 200 years we have said to the Indian people who are fighting for their land, their life, their families and their right to be free: ”Lay down your arms, my friends, and then we will remain together. Only if you lay down your arms, my friends, can we then talk of peace and come to an agreement which will be good for you.”
When they laid down their arms, we murdered them.
  [Read complete speech]

Marlon Brando’s Unfinished Oscar Speech, 1973, given by Sasheen Littlefeather on behalf of Marlon Brando, who wanted to decline the Best Actor Oscar for The Godfather. She said: “Marlon Brando … has asked me to tell you, in a very long speech which I cannot share with you presently—because of time—but I will be glad to share with the press afterward, that he… very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award. And the reason for this being… the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry… and on television in movie re-runs, and also the recent happenings at Wounded Knee. I beg at this time that I have not intruded upon this evening and that… in the future…our hearts and our understanding will meet with love and generosity. Thank you on behalf of Marlon Brando.”

American Indians Mourn Brando’s Death (Associated Press, 2004)

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Wounded Knee Occupation 1973

On a winter day in 1973 a large group of American Indian men and women (incl. pregnant women) “reclaimed Wounded Knee in the name of the Lakota Nation. For the first time in many decades, those Oglala Sioux ruled themselves, free from government intervention, as is their ancient custom. This would become the basis for a TV movie, Lakota Woman the true story of Mary Moore Crowdog, and her experiences at the Wounded Knee occupation” (from siouxme.com). Check out our thread on Lakota Woman the autobiography.

Wounded Heart. Pine Ridge Rez

This is a documentary about Lakotas (Sioux) in Pine Ridge Reservation (South Dakota).
Watch the trailer. Russel Means, the famous actor and activist, is the off-voice. I love other parts / points made in the documentary but I haven’t been able to find any YouTube videos on them yet.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Song)

This song mentions several of the topics presented on this little blog, so I thought it should have a thread of its own. The song comes from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s album “Coincidence & Likely Stories” (1993). You can check out the lyrics and a YouTube video which plays it here, plus find more info and links on this amazing artist (painter, songwriter, singer…) and activist.

Smoke Signals

This is the title of a movie based on Sherman Alexie‘s script. Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian writer. I have ordered some copies of the published script of this movie, “Smoke Signals” (1998, read the summary of the movie at Alexi’s website!). We can’t get the movie in Europe, because of our DVD/videos players, but I have watched it and I have collected some YouTube videos on our YouTube account, so that you can watch them. The first one is here below, anyway. Let me give you some background info: “Barter” means “exchange, swap, swop, interchange, trade”. [The French upon meeting the Coeur d’ Arlene Indians called them the “The Heart of the Awl” saying they were the greatest traders in the world.] Thomas, 1 of the 2 main characters, trades a story (The girl says “Better be good!”) for a lift (para que les lleven en coche) to the exit of the reservation (the rez) (they joke about leaving the rez, saying that it’s like going abroad, to the USA! 🙂 “Have you got your passports?”). Thoma’s story is about an event in Victor‘s dad’s life (with hippies in the 60s, when “all the hippies were trying to be Indians” and there’s a very funny comment around making social statements, do you get it?). Both of these boys are leaving the rez to get to the place where that man, Arnold, died. You see, Victor’s dad runs away from the rez, deserts his family, but… Well, you’ve got to watch the movie! By the way, 1 of the 2 girls in the car is also in the TV series “Northern Exposure” (Doctor en Alaska), Elaine Miles, a  Cayuse/Nez Perce Indian, who plays the role of Marilyn in that series). Cultural tip: Indian peoples have an amazing oral tradition (or used to have before the genocide attempt, and are having now that miracously they’ve survived that!), and that this boy who tells the story is an example – he’s a gifted story-teller.