March 2023

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 19, 2022

'Oyate' The Struggle at Standing Rock -- World Premiere at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Phyllis Young says Hunkpapa are the people pushed to the edge. "As the people on the edge, we are the Ambassadors to the outside world."

By Chase Iron Eyes
Lakota People's Law Project

“Oyate!!” Beautiful. Important. Phyllis Young and Chase Iron Eyes are in this Movie! “My greetings to you from the Standing Rock Nation. Today, I invite you to experience something wonderful: Next week, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is hosting the online world premiere of “OYATE” — a brand new feature documentary film produced by Films with a Purpose and Irrelevant Media, in association with the Lakota People’s Law Project. Big Sky has graciously also made the movie available for viewing online at the same time, and you can purchase your ticket to watch today.
Lakota Law, looks it me, and Phyllis Young in “OYATE!” Please click (below) to watch the trailer for this heartfelt and skillfully done documentary, and purchase your tickets for the premiere on the same page.
We wanted to make sure you have the opportunity to watch this special premiere with us! Please note that the film will be available through Big Sky for a limited time. I urge you to purchase your ticket right now, then mark your calendar to remind yourself the streaming window opens on Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. PST. After that, you'll have about three days to start watching and another 24 hours to finish.

Now that you’ve got all those important details, let me tell you a little more about our involvement and what you’ll see. In the wake of the protests at Standing Rock in 2016 and ‘17, our Lakota Law team worked closely with producers Brandon Jackson, Emil Benjamin, Sandra Evers-Manly, and Jennifer Martel of the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes, to tell this powerful story of resistance. You’ll spend time with Phyllis Young, me and my daughter Tokata, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo People, and many more powerful Native voices.

As you know, our #NoDAPL struggle at Standing Rock became an inflection point for human rights and environmental justice, a rallying cry for Indigenous people everywhere to take a stand against centuries of land theft, imposed poverty, and cultural erasure. “OYATE” successfully communicates our thoughts, as Indigenous activists, organizers, and politicians, on that complicated history.

Lakota Law aided the filmmakers by providing exclusive interviews, archival footage, and perspective. The directors did a fantastic job of using a blend of storytelling tools to weave all elements harmoniously and to fully immerse you in our worldviews. The end result is a thing of beauty, ambitious in scope and, at the same time, personal and intimate. I think you’ll very much enjoy watching, and I hope you’ll find it illuminating. You may gain new understanding of our struggles for sovereignty and justice — and you’ll even meet some rez dogs! So, please watch the trailer, and then join us for this exciting premiere. I can’t wait to hear your feedback.

Wopila tanka — thank you, and happy watching.
Chase Iron Eyes
Co-Director & Lead Counsel
The Lakota People’s Law Project
Lakota People's Law Project
Lakota Law
Lakota People's Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

Director: Brandon Jackson, Emil Benjamin
Producer: Brandon Jackson, Emil Benjamin, Jennifer Martel, Sandra Evers-Manly
2021, USA -- 91 minutes


Screening at the Wilma, Thu Feb 24th @ 5:45 pm
Streaming Fri Feb 25 - Mon Feb 28
In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Indigenous people across the nation are using their newfound platform to shed light on the wide array of injustices committed against them in an effort to wake up the world and embark upon the process of decolonization. Following key figureheads of the #NODAPL movement, OYATE weaves together the story of colonization and the battle for decolonization that continues after the news cameras have stopped rolling.
Watch film trailer

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