Willow O’Feral, Brad Heck
Big Sky 2020
NY Americas, Vision Maker, Middlebury New Filmmakers, Boston Women’s, American Indian, Pocahontas Reframed, LA Skins, Out of Africa
Profiles of Native American women who are fighting back against abuse, rape, and trafficking of their community.
North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation has seen a rise in crime rates and sexual assault cases because of its proximity to the Bakken oil field. Due to the degradation of tribal treaties and sovereignty laws, tribal authorities are not able to prosecute non-tribal members for offenses committed in Fort Berthold. Predators know this and view Native women as easy targets – Native women experience much higher rates of rape and sexual assault than non-Native women, with 86% of perpetrators being non-Native men. Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck profile six women attempting to deal with this injustice: Sarah is a lawyer, Dawn is a reservation police officer, Loreline works with rape victims, Chalsey advocates for human trafficking victims, Patty runs a self-empowerment self-defense and wellness center, and Lisa, like several, if not all, of the other women, is a survivor herself, who recounts the challenge of getting her mother to report the domestic abuse she regularly suffered at the hands of her husband. This is a worthwhile project, but one which would have benefited by being expanded to feature rather than broadcast length – in this form, none of the women’s stories is developed thoroughly enough, unfortunately.