Category Archives: 2 – Movies

Thunderheart (1992)

Today on TV1 in Spain they showed this movie (Corazón Trueno), and gee, was I surprised! I’ve been reading about the Peltier case, and Pine Ridge Reservation, and Goons (the Indians that help the FBI on that rez) and “traditionalists” or the AIM Indians (in the movie they use a different acronym)… If you like, read a bit about Peltier’s case on Talking People. Let me just paste here some info about it: The movie is actually a thinly veiled account of real events that occurred on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the early to mid-Seventies. Exploration for Uranium, disease from irradiated water, the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the “Traditional” Natives fight against the Tribal government “Guardians Of the Oglala Nation (GOON’s), and the FBI’s assistance to the “Goons” by providing weaponry and other assistance are some of the things that are referred to in the movie that were true and documented by Writer/Director Michael Apted when he was a regular visitor to the Reservation during that time.
During the early to mid-Seventies, there were fifty-seven unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation due to the fighting between the “Traditionals” and Tribal government sanctioned “goons”. This made the Village of Pine Ridge (Pop. 1100) the “Murder Capitol of the Nation” with the highest number of violent death per capita in the United States.
More trivia at imdb.

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)

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.

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.

Lakota Woman

Read an excerpt from Mary Brave Bird’s autobiography, Lakota Woman (1990; HarperPerennial 1991) and post here your comments.

The TP webpage for Mary Brave Bird 

See some information about the movie version of this book, which was produced by Jane Fonda: Lakota Woman. Siege at Wounded Knee (1994).