Chadron Library Holds First Native Film Festival

Jul 14, 2014

Actor Scott Means discusses “Istinma”, during Chadron Public Library's first Native American Film Festival.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

A film festival called “Trading Stories: A Native American Film Festival” is designed to acknowledge the contributions of the Lakota people. It was held over the weekend at the Chadron Public Library.  The goal of the festival is also to highlight contemporary Native issues through the use of film.

Librarian Annette Peter says the idea for an annual Native American Film Festival has its roots in the relationship Chadron has with its neighboring community of Pine Ridge.

“We get a lot of people from Pine Ridge to do shopping and stuff,” Peter explains. So one of the things first we started was to do a small library…indigenous People of North America…out of Native American books, crafts, history…especially local Native American history. And then…from that we decided to do movies.”

With a collection that’s grown to include everything from “Thunderheart” and “Chief Crazy Horse” – the one with Italian-American actor Victor Mature, to Native American productions like “Skins” and “Istinma”, Annette Peter felt it was time to share films that showed the Hollywood stereotype as well as the reality of the country’s first inhabitants.

Offering an introduction to the film “Istinma”, actor Scott Means says he thinks it’s important for educational gatherings such as this to take place, especially when audiences are given the opportunity to see films about Natives produced by Natives.

“Because it humanizes us,” Means observes. “There’s so much of the world that thinks of us as…riding the Great Plains on horseback with our hair flowing in the wind…but that’s not us. We’re like everybody else. We’ve got all the same issue everybody else does. And we’ve got all…as many different perspectives about our own life…as everybody else does about theirs.”

Chadron Community College student Kassandra McKinnon is non-Native. She says the only way people will get to know the truth about Native Americans is from hearing their stories, which is what the Chadron Public Library Native American Film Festival is all about. 

"Istinma" - To Rest  2013

"Skins"  2002

"Thunderheart"  1992