Warrior Women

Films A-Z

1H 4MIN

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Available on 10/11/2020 GMT
Warrior Women is the story of mothers and daughters fighting for Native rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The film unveils not only a female perspective of history, but also examines the impact political struggles have on the children who bear witness. In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation and survival as a community of extended families. Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who shaped a kindred group of activists' children - including her daughter Marcy - into the "We Will Remember" Survival School as a Native alternative to government-run education. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for Indigenous cultural values. Through a circular Indigenous style of storytelling, this film explores what it means to navigate a movement and motherhood and how activist legacies are passed down and transformed from generation to generation in the context of colonizing government that meets Native resistance with violence.

Included with

American Museum & Gardens — curator's choice celebrating Native American Heritage Month in UK


Madonna Thunder Hawk is a veteran of every modern Native occupation from Alcatraz, to Wounded Knee in 1973, and more recently the NODAPL protest at Standing Rock. Born and raised across the Oceti Sakowin homelands, she first became active in the late 1960s as a member and leader in the American Indian Movement and co-founded Women of All Red Nations and the Black Hills Alliance. An eloquent voice for Native resistance and sovereignty, Thunder Hawk has spoken around the world and served as a delegate to the United Nations in Geneva. She currently works as the tribal liaison for the Lakota People's Law Project. She established the Wasagiya Najin "Grandmothers' Group" on Cheyenne River Reservation to assist in rebuilding kinship networks.  She has partnered to develop the Simply Smiles Children's Village, a first of its kind intentional community of Native foster families.   Madonna is a principal in The Warrior Women Project, a collective for the development of scholarship, media, and activism.


Marcella Gilbert is a Lakota and Dakota community organizer with a focus on health education, food sovereignty, and cultural revitalization. Gilbert was raised in the American Indian Movement as part of the We Will Remember Survival School and at seventeen was a delegate of the International Indian Treaty Council to the United Nations in 1977. With a Master’s in Nutrition, she works to reintroduce sustainable traditional foods and organic farming to Cheyenne River Reservation where she currently manages a garden project with the non-profit

Simply Smiles and is directing community media and leadership initiatives with the Warrior Women Project.


Christina D. King is a Peabody Award Nominated producer, director and writer whose work spans documentary, film, and television with a focus on human rights issues, civic engagement through storytelling, and democratizing filmmaking opportunities. King produced the narrative feature film We The Animals at Sundance 2018, awarded the NEXT Innovator Award and nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards. King’s other producing credits include This May Be The Last Time (Sundance 2014), which explores the origins of Native Mvskogee worship songs in Oklahoma, as well as the POV documentary Up Heartbreak Hill. Her work has been supported by Firelight Films, Sundance Documentary Fund, and the National Geographic All Roads Program. King is an enrolled member of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma.


Dr. Elizabeth “Beth” Castle works at the intersection of media, scholarship, and activism as a Shawnee-descended anti-racist educator committed to liberating and sharing unknown histories of resistance. She started the Warrior Women Project (WWP) to preserve the oral histories of Indigenous activists and disrupt the dominant historical narrative through her book Women were the Backbone, Men were the Jawbone: Native Women’s Activism in the Red Power Movement. While completing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, she worked at the White House for President Clinton’s Initiative on Race. She co-directed the Peabody Award Nominated film, Warrior Women (2018), and continues the collective work of the WWP in decolonizing curricula, activist archiving, and community media work.

Credits

Directed by Christina D. King
Dr. Elizabeth A. Castle

Produced by Anna M. Pitman
Christina D. King
Dr. Elizabeth A. Castle

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