The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

“Native Silence” Documents Lives of Four Women from White Earth Indian Reservation

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Vicki Gerdes previews a new documentary film that chronicles the lives of four America Indian women:

…much of which was filmed within the boundaries of the White Earth Indian Reservation [that] could begin making the rounds on the international film festival circuit soon.
“Native Silence,” produced by the nonprofit organization 3 Generations, is nearing completion.
“The film is in post-production right now,” said Elizabeth Woller, head of production and marketing for 3 Generations.
What she and the film’s director, Jane Wells, are hoping is the film will eventually find a home within the educational community — though they plan to market it on the film festival circuit as well.
Though the film focuses primarily on the lives of two native women, Joyce and Paulette, and their daughters, Amy and Dawn, their stories touch on many of the larger issues that so many native communities face — drugs, alcohol, familial estrangement, sexual violence, and the “defective foster care and boarding school systems which functioned to isolate and erase Native American identity” for so many years.
Both Joyce and Paulette are products of those defective systems, Wells said.
“One was put into foster care at a very young age (18 months), and the other was put into the boarding school system and then into foster care,” Wells said. “They were taken away from their mothers and their families and their culture.”
Woller said, “A lot of these adoptees (who were interviewed for the film) talk about how the loss of their culture and inability to find other peers to identify with really, really affected them (from childhood) into their adult lives. That’s where you see a lot of the teenage suicide and drug use coming from.”
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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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