DSU Diversity Office sponsors native film series
“Films are a way to talk about and view culture,” said Jack Thompson, diversity and inclusion coordinator and Jump Start advisor at Dakota State University.
For Native American Heritage Month in November, his office and the campus diversity committee will show three films “to increase the knowledge base around native American issues.”
Natives are featured in many roles in each of the three films, which tell native stories. “It’s a way of looking at their culture from the native viewpoint,” Thompson said.
The films will be shown in the Habeger Science Center Auditorium on November 13, 14, and 16. All are free and open to the public, DSU students, faculty, and staff.
The film set for November 13, at 6 p.m. is the “Dakota 38,” a 2012 documentary by Smooth Feather Productions, which tells the story of an annual reconciliation ride across South Dakota and Minnesota. The intention of the ride is to inspire healing from the 1862 event in which 38 natives were hanged for their part in the Dakota War of 1862. Two additional natives were hanged at a later date, so the ride is called the Dakota 38+2 Reconciliation Ride.
Thompson encourages people to especially try to attend that night’s film, given what the ride represents. He also noted the Madison connection, as a community gathering is hosted by Dakota State each year when the riders come through Madison. The Trojan Center Underground is even featured in “Dakota 38,” with footage filmed during one of those visits. A panel discussion will follow the film, featuring Jim Miller, whose vision inspired the ride which began in 2008, Miller’s sister Josette Peltier, staff-bearer Wilfred Keeble and three others.
On Wednesday, November 14, the featured film is “More Than a Word,” a 2017 documentary that looks at the word “redskins” and its use as mascot for the Washington, D.C. professional football team. Film producers John and Kenn Little, members of the Standing Rock tribe, used interviews with individuals on both sides of the issue.
The Friday, November 16 film, “The Rider,” has won honors at several international film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival; it has been nominated for many others, including the Independent Spirit Award for best film and best director. This is the second film for the Chinese-born director Chloé Zhao, whose 2015 drama, “Songs My Brothers Taught Me,” explored the bond between Lakota siblings.
“They’re all good movies,” Thompson said, “and we all should have good conversation afterwards.”
Thompson also pointed out that the 2018 38+2 Reconciliation Ride will be coming through Madison on Friday, December 14. More details about that event will be released at a later date.