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First Daughter and the Black Snake

Keri Pickett
United States, 2017, 94 min.

In English.
This film is family friendly.

The "Prophecy of the 7th Fire" says a "black snake" will bring destruction to the earth. We will have a choice of two paths. One is scorched and one is green. For Winona (Ojibwe for "first daughter"), the "black snake" is oil trains and pipelines. When she learns that Canadian-owned Enbridge plans to route a new pipeline through land granted to her tribe in an 1855 Treaty, she and her community spring into action to save the sacred wild rice lakes and preserve their traditional way of life. Following her decision to fight Enbridge, Winona dreams that she is riding her horse against the current of the oil. Launching an annual spiritual horse ride along the proposed pipeline route, speaking at community meetings and regulatory hearings, Winona testifies that the pipeline route follows one of historic and present-day trauma. She want to keep the black snake in the ground.

Director's Statement

I believe people reveal their values through their daily rituals of family life, work, faith or cultural practice. I seek out amazing people who are making the world a better place, but I am also focused on indigenous communities who inspire me with their values, beliefs and ongoing struggle. As a documentarian and story-teller, I seek those who are living with authenticity and passion. I believe that one person can make a difference in this world. I made the film because Winona LaDuke is one of those people. Producing and directing "First Daughter and the Black Snake," featuring Native American activist Winona LaDuke's inspirational pursuit of environmental justice, has challenged my story-telling skills. I am weaving together her personal story with the Ojibwe tribal history and its economic dependence on wild rice, now threatened by an oil pipeline. Filming the harvest explains the desire for sustainable food sources and shows her values in action. I've known Winona since 1984 and have always found her to be a passionate crusader for justice. She walks her talk. I can imagine following her for decades to come.

Category: Documentary.
Themes: Agriculture, Community, Culture, Environment, Human Rights, Indigenous, Native American, Women.

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