“Sometimes they have to kill us. They have to kill us, because they can’t kill our spirit. We choose the right to be who we are. We the know the difference between reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom. There is a way to live with the earth and a way not to live with the earth. We choose the way of earth.”–john trudell
It is just my personal feeling, but many [U.S. citizens] are going to have to accept some blame too, because it’s THEIR federal government… the white Americans are guilty of apathy and self-indulgence to the extent that they have allowed inhumanity to thrive in this country.
John Trudell, AIM (American Indian Movement) National Chairman (1977)
In 1990, November was officially recognized as National American Indian Heritage Month. The years since have proven to be both a political and artistic resurgence for Native Peoples.
The Native American and Indigenous program became a formal addition to Sundance Institute in 1994, and as we reflect on the last 25 years of honoring Native American Heritage Month, we also want to recognize the contributions of Native filmmakers supported by the Native American and Indigenous program.
Smoke Signals(above) Directed by Chris Eyre 1995 Directors Lab 1998 Sundance Film Festival
Trudell Directed by Heather Rae 2005 Sundance Film Festival
On the Ice Directed by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean 2009 Directors Lab 2011 Sundance Film Festival
Grab Directed by Billy Luther 2011 Sundance Film Festival
I burned the American flag in protest of the way the American government treats the indigenous Indian people of the United States of America. I burned the American flag as an act of protest against the injustice that is being extended against all of the people. We burned the American flag because it has been desecrated, and the only proper way to dispose of the American flag after desecration is to burn it. We feel that racism, sexism, and class separation, that these are desecrations. And we feel that the American flag does not represent integrity, honor, justice, or truth.
See, when they got off the boat, they didn’t recognize us. They said who are you and we said we’re the people, we’re the human beings. And they said, oh, Indians, because they didn’t recognize what it was to be a human being.
I’m a human being, this is the name of my tribe. This is the name of my people. But I’m a human being.
But then the predatory mentality shows up and starts calling us Indians and committing genocide against us as a vehicle of erasing the memory of being a human being. So they used war textbooks, history books, and when film came along, they used film.
You go in our own communities, how many of us are fighting to protect our identity of being an Indian. And 600 years ago, that word Indian, that sound was NEVER made on this hemisphere. That sound, that noise, was never ever made, ever. We’re trying to protect that as an identity, see, so it affects all of us. It’s reached the point evolutionarily speaking, we’re starting to not recognize ourselves as human beings.
We’re too busy trying to protect the idea of a Native American or an Indian, but we’re not Indians and we’re not Native Americans. We’re older than both concepts. We’re the people. We’re the human beings.
The Great Lie is that this is civilization. It’s not civilized. It has literally been the most blood-thirsty, brutalizing system ever imposed on this planet. This is not civilization, this is the Great Lie. If it does represent civilization, and this is truly what civilization is, then the Great Lie is that civilization is good for us.
We have power… Our power isn’t in a political
system, or a religious system, or in an economic system, or in a
military system; these are authoritarian systems… they have power…
but it’s not reality. The power of our intelligence, individually or
collectively IS the power; this is the power that any industrial ruling
class truly fears: clear coherent human beings. ~ John Trudell
The great lie is that it is ‘civilization’. It’s not civilized, it has been literally the most bloodthirsty brutalizing system ever imposed upon this planet. That is not civilization that’s “the great lie.” The great lie is that it represents ‘civilization.’ That’s the great lie, or if it does represent civilization and it’s truly what civilization is; then the great lie is that civilization is good for us.