The new film Warrior Women showcases a South Dakota activist who has spent most of her life working in the American Indian Movement. The documentary delves into how Madonna Thunder Hawk’s childhood experiences in an Indian boarding school affected her activism and relationships with her family.
Filming for Warrior Women started in 2011 and lasted through 2017. It includes video footage of Madonna Thunder Hawk’s activism in the 70’s and recent interviews during the Standing Rock protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“When you’re working for issues related to your people, it’s not a profession. It’s what you do. And you make the commitment early on when you’re young and then you just plow through. It’s still ongoing. It’s not an event, it’s not a profession.”
Thunder Hawk’s daughter is a key part of the film. Their relationship through the years was shaped in part by activism. Madonna Thunder Hawk says women leaders who get things done are necessary to create change. She says the work of activists isn’t marked by events, it’s an ongoing effort.
“I don’t look at it as it’s a goal, I just think that every one of our people-each generation-has an obligation to pick up the struggle to maintain our land base of what we have left in the United States. Our ancestors did that. That’s why we’re still here so we have this obligation.”
Warrior Women is scheduled for screening at several film festivals across the