The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Leave a comment

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

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.”

Leave a comment

White Earth Reservation

Learning to Wildcraft: Foraging and Feasting on the White Earth Reservation


When I was a kid we described plants like burdock with its tenacious burrs and stinging nettles with its distinctive sting as “pickers.” At theWild Food Summit, however, they call these plants dinner.

On the first night of the Wild Food Summit on the White Earth Reservation in June, attendees feasted on burdock, stinging nettles, bass wood leaf wraps, cattails, wild onions, black locust flower gnocchi, deer sausage, manomin (wild rice) and lefse. Lefse is made from potatoes and is a Norwegian version of a tortilla. Like a cranky but tolerated relative, the bland flat bread somehow finds its way into most Northern Minnesota public meals.

Coordinated by the White Earth Tribal and Community College USDA Extension Service, the Summit is wildly popular among Native and non-Natives alike. In fact, the event, now in its eighth year, usually fills up within weeks of the announced enrollment. More than 50 people had to be turned away according to Rebecca Dallinger, extension special projects coordinator. Continue reading