|At Sundance Film Festival -- 'The making of Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock'|
Watch news video below:
Article by Brenda Norrell
News video by Deadline Studio at Sundance
PARK CITy, Utah -- At the Sundance Film Festival, for the premiere of Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock, Producer Cody Lucich describes his arrival at Standing Rock water protector camps.
In this interview with Deadline Studio at Sundance, Cody describes how Sundance Film Festival reached out to him after he arrived at Standing Rock.
Cody was first shooting short breaking news videos, and at first declined to produce a feature documentary for Sundance.
However, after he saw how many non-Native filmmakers were in camp making documentaries, at least fifty non-Native filmmakers, he decided to do it.
"I realized that there was a big responsibility to tell our story from our perspective," said Cody, Maidu from Northern California.
Cody describes how Natives shared their work at camp while making their videos and films, including Kanahus Manuel.
"We were supporting one another," Cody said. "She was definitely an ally for me on the ground."
Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc, describes how Native people came together to defend the water and defend the land. Native peoples took a stand for their right to make their own decisions.
Kanahus, daughter of Art Manuel, who was among the leading Native land and water defenders before he passed to the Spirit World, describes the sense of freedom in the water protector camps at Standing Rock.
It was a collective message, Kanahus said.
"It scared the state of North Dakota," said Nataanii Means, Lakota, Dineh and Omaha who grew up on the Navajo Nation at Chinle.
"We were unarmed, and non-violent."
Nataanii described how they were being shot with so-called "non-lethal" rubber bullets, and people lost fingers and eyes.
Nataanii said there were children and elderly at Standing Rock and if the water protectors had been violent, Morton County and the police it brought in, "would have wiped us out."
Kanahus describes how the Tiny House Warriors in British Columbia are fighting the TransMountain Kinder Morgan Pipeline, by building tiny houses in the path of the pipeline.
"The battle is going to be right there in our homelands," Kanahus said.
Kanahus describes colonization and the forceful removal of Native people.
"It is genocide," she said.
Nataanii describes how Trump has opened up Bears Ears in Utah for mining. The Arctic has been opened up for oil and gas drilling. Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota and Wisconsin continues.
"We know what it is like to have our people die," Nataanii said of the cancer caused from uranium mining.
Kanahus said what drives her is Crazy Horse and the Warriors of the past, how hard they struggled so Native people can be here today.
"We can all stand up and make a difference," Kanahus said.
Nataanii said the force that drives him forward is the children. They are innocent and sacred.
"They didn't ask to be here," Nataanii said.
"The least we can do for future generations is make sure they have a chance to live."
Nataanii said he wants to suffer as much as he can for the children of future generations so they will not have to.
In the News
'Akicita's Native Warriors Stood up to 'Genocide,' Violence Police Militarization at Standing Rock -- Sundance Studio'
The first feature from award-winning native activist and filmmaker Cody Lucich, Akicita: The Battle of Standing Rock is a powerful and harrowing watch, telling the story of the Standing Rock occupation from the perspective of the “Native warriors” involved, while thrusting the viewer into the action. The largest Native American occupation since Wounded Knee—back in 1890—Standing Rock unfolded over the course of almost a year, as thousands of activists and environmentalists stood their ground against a militarized police force, in protest against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Native territory.