‘Lakota Nation vs. United States’ Review: A 150-Year Clash

Three years after the discovery of gold nuggets on Lakota land in 1874, the Black Hills Act stripped the tribes of most of the land in Dakota and northwestern Nebraska that had been ceded by treaty decades earlier. , gave way to a multitude of people seeking wealth. Since then, the Lakota have been fighting to reclaim their land, and their plight is documented in a new documentary, Lakota Nation vs. America.

Directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, this stunning film features interviews with Lakota activists and elders, striking images of the Black Hills and their wildlife, historical documents and news reports, and old film references. It interweaves clips and other archival footage to extraordinary effect. Not only the physical and cultural violence inflicted on the Lakota, but also the deep ties to the Black Hills, the area in which the Lakota Mountains were built, extend to the Lakota. (One of the activists, Crystal To Bulls, describes the monument as “the ultimate temple of white supremacy.”) It covers well-known cases as well as lesser-known injustices such as fate.Dozens of men participated in the Dakota 38 executed by the U.S. military Awarded for his uprising against the government in 1862.

In 1980, the Lakota case was heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, which awarded compensation for lost land. But the Lakota have refused and continue to accept the settlement money, even though its value has risen to over $1 billion today. They are fighting for the land itself. Phyllis Young, one of the Lakota elders interviewed in the film, calls it their Mecca. “Land and people go hand in hand,” she said.

Lakota Nation vs. America
Rated PG-13 for violent imagery, thematic elements, and strong language. Running time: 2 hours. at the theater.

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