By JAMES MacPHERSON
STANDING ROCK SIOUX RESERVATION, N.D. (AP) _ Standing Rock Sioux tribal member Marlo Hunte-Beaubrun went door to door on North Dakota's largest American Indian reservations in 2012 turning out the tribal vote to help put Democrat Heidi Heitkamp in the U.S. Senate. Six years later, with Heitkamp fighting hard to win a second term, Hunte-Beaubrun is staying on the sidelines.
She is among Indian voters who say they've lost their zeal for Heitkamp over her perceived non-stance on the Dakota Access pipeline, which brought thousands of American Indians and others to the state in 2016 and 2017 to protest its construction under the Missouri River, just outside Standing Rock.
``It was really a kick in the stomach,'' Hunte-Beaubrun said. ``We rallied so hard for her, but when her hand was forced she basically sold out to big oil.''
Democrats' hopes to capture the Senate depend heavily on Heitkamp, who has trod a careful path on energy and other issues to win office and remain popular in a deeply conservative state. But she faces a stern test from the state's lone U.S. House member, Republican Kevin Cramer, in a race seen as a top pickup chance for Republicans.
Heitkamp's first victory came by fewer than 3,000 votes, and American Indians, who tend to vote Democratic, were a source of strength. Three counties with majority Indian populations _ Sioux, Rolette and Benson _ backed Heitkamp by a more than 4,000-vote margin over then-U.S. Rep. Rick Berg. In Sioux County, home to the Standing Rock reservation, Heitkamp took 83 percent of the vote.
Once in the Senate, Heitkamp earned respect from American Indians for her knowledge of issues important to them, such as domestic violence in Indian Country and the relationship between tribal governments and the federal government. The first bill she introduced established a commission to study the challenges facing Native American children, an issue she had pursued since the 1990s when she was North Dakota's attorney general.
Then came the Dakota Access pipeline, a $3.8 billion project by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners to move oil from North Dakota's rich Bakken fields to a shipping point in Illinois. The pipeline offered oil companies a cheaper way to get their product to market, was seen as safer than rail shipping and had the support of most state leaders.
The Standing Rock tribe opposed it as a threat to water. Their protest grew into a national event for environmental advocates, and pipeline opponents frequently clashed with police. In the ensuing months, Heitkamp's public statements didn't take a position on the pipeline, instead typically urging courts and federal officials to resolve uncertainty around the project while supporting protesters' right to demonstrate.
On Standing Rock, a 3,600-square-mile reservation that straddles the Dakotas border, there are few industries besides a casino. The reservation is home to about 10,000 people, and unemployment runs as high as 20 percent. In several interviews, some residents remained loyal to Heitkamp and said they would support her. Others said they were disappointed and would not.
``The majority of the people here feel the same way I do _ she chose oil over Indians,'' said Joe Torras, a 57-year-old rancher and horse trainer at Standing Rock. ``Once you damage that trust, we will never let it go. You only get one shot.'' Torras said he isn't planning to vote in November.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Heitkamp highlighted her work on Indian issues, saying no one in the delegation has been a ``stronger advocate.'' Of the pipeline, she said: ``My interest was keeping everybody safe.''
``When you look at the choices you make in this job, not everybody always is going to agree with you,'' Heitkamp said. ``I will continue to work on things we can all agree on.''
Char White Mountain, a 67-year-old retired office administrator and great-grandmother, said she voted for Heitkamp previously but won't again. She would never vote for Cramer, who strongly supported the pipeline, and said she will probably just stay home on Election Day.
``We all thought a lot about Heidi, but I believe she betrayed our people,'' said White Mountain. ``We really needed someone we could trust.''
Mary Louise Defender Wilson, 87, a writer and retired educator, said Heitkamp was in a no-win situation on a pipeline protest that she said was hijacked by outsiders.
``I think she was right not saying anything about that pipeline _ there were some really bad things that happened there and it distracted from our real issues,'' Defender Wilson said. She campaigned for Heitkamp six years ago and will again, planning to hand out brochures and post yard signs at her home in Porcupine, a tiny community of fewer than 150 people on Standing Rock.
Former Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, who was the face and voice of the fight against the Dakota Access oil pipeline, said he met with Heitkamp when the pipeline was first proposed and long before the protests ``to let her know this was going to be an issue for us.''
``I think she was caught in the middle. But when her hand was forced, she chose the pipeline,'' Archambault said. ``She always said she supported Indian Country, but when all of Indian Country from across the nation was at Standing Rock _ she didn't show up.''
``She didn't truly listen to what Indian Country was saying,'' Archambault said. ``Now she's in a bind.''
Applications Open for First Nations' Arts Initiative
First Q&A Webinar is July 31, 2018
Applications Open for First Nations' Native Arts Initiative
First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has launched a new Supporting Native Arts grant opportunity under its Native Arts Initiative (formerly known as the “Native Arts Capacity Building Initiative” or NACBI). Applications are due by August 30, 2018.
The Request for Proposals for the Supporting Native Arts grant opportunity can be accessed at http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2018NAI. First Nations invites interested applicants to join one or all of our Application Q&A webinars, which will be held prior to the application deadline as follows:
- July 31, 2018, 11 a.m. Mountain Time (expect 1 – 1.25 hours), Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/178138868014073859
- August 15, 2018, 1 p.m. Mountain Time (expect 1 – 1.25 hours), Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6824848286129370883
- August 23, 2018, 11 a.m. Mountain Time (expect 1 – 1.25 hours), Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8435348047309628931
First Nations will award about 15 Supporting Native Arts grants of up to $32,000 each to Native-controlled nonprofit organizations and tribal government programs that have existing programs in place that support Native artists and the field of traditional Native arts, as well as a demonstrated commitment to increasing the intergenerational transfer of knowledge of traditional Native artistic practices and perpetuation and proliferation of traditional Native arts. Eligible applicants must also be located in and serve tribal communities in one of the following regions:
- Upper Midwest (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin);
- Southwest (New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California); or
- Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington).
For this grant opportunity, examples of allowable activities that support arts programming include:
- Master/apprentice artist opportunities
- Archiving and collections/ preservation efforts
- Promoting artist-focused convenings
- Artist business plan and entrepreneurship training
- Communal artist spaces for Native artists
- Artist-in-residence opportunities
- Artist-led workshops and arts classes
- Artist financial literacy and business development training
- Strengthening Native-led juried art show and market capacity and artists’ capacity to enter art work
- Artists cooperative development
Examples of allowable activities that support organizational infrastructure growth include:
- Governance training for organization’s Board of Directors
- Organizational strategic planning
- Strengthening technological and informational systems
- Financial management
- Organizational and/or programmatic marketing and communications plan
- Strengthening project management systems
Entities eligible to apply include U.S.-based, Native-controlled, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, tribes and tribal departments, tribal § 7871 entities, or Native community-based groups with eligible fiscal sponsors committed to supporting Native artists as well as the perpetuation and proliferation of Native arts, cultures and traditions as integral to Native community life. Applicants located in urban areas are eligible if they are located in one of the geographic regions listed and are able to demonstrate a close tie to one or more tribal communities in one of the eligible geographic regions. Grants will not be made to individual artists or for-profit organizations.
Proposals for the Native Arts Initiative grant opportunity will be accepted online and must be submitted by no later than 5 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, August 30, 2018.
Hostiles: An Unflinching Look at History
By Sandra Hale Schulman
News From Indian Country
Boasting an all-star cast and an unwavering commitment to authenticity, the new film Hostiles takes place in 1892 and tells the story of an Army Captain (Christian Bale) who reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne chief (Wes Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. On the treacherous journey they meet a widow (Rosamund Pike) whose family was murdered on the plains by Apache and offer their help.
As the former rivals make their way from an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico to the mountainous lands of Montana, their relationship moves from antagonism to compassion, demonstrating humans’ capacity for change. The ensemble cast includes Ben Foster, Timothée Chalamet, Jesse Plemons, Q’orianka Kilcher, Rory Cochrane and Adam Beach. Kilcher and Bale previously worked together in 2005’s The New World with Kilcher portraying Pocahontas.
Studi steals the film with his noble profile speaking volumes as his dying character comes to grips with mortality and morality. He waged war on the invading whites but has now become a symbol of the pride and nobility of the indigenous, given a last chance at grace by US President Harrison who allows him a passage home.
But the way home is never easy, attacks from both warring tribes and drunken fur trappers litter the path.
To ensure authenticity in the Native-focused content of the movie, director Scott Cooper worked with acclaimed Native filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skins), and Native academic Dr. Joely Proudfit as consultants. Their organization, The Native Networkers, has a mission to build bridges of understanding through media and enhance cultural knowledge and understanding through Native representation.
The involvement of Eyre, Proudfit, and the film’s other Native consultants made an indelible impression on Cooper.
“The consultants on this film have been extraordinary and have taught me things that my research never could have,” he says. “They were on set every day to help the actors with language, with gestures, with rituals. Their work was of the utmost importance, and it was deeply gratifying for all of us.”
I reached out to Proudfit and Eyre who were busy at Sundance Film Festival but took time to answer some questions.
How did Native Networkers get involved with Hostiles?
We were told Scott Cooper was looking for Cheyenne consultation going into production of his movie HOSTILES and we were given the script to read. After reading the script we thought, if Scott can pull this off, we’d love to work on this movie consulting. We meet with Scott and his production team and we were hired as The Native Networkers.
What was the biggest challenge in making the film authentic?
We saw it less as a challenge and more of an opportunity to share, listen, learn and collaborate. It was refreshing to work with Scott Cooper a director who was open to ideas and collaboration. The biggest challenge in making HOSTILES Native portions of the movie authentic were finding the right Cheyenne people to work with The Native Networkers. Usually, cultural people don’t work in movies and movie people aren’t specifically used to Cheyenne culture, so our job was to bridge the two together and oversee that for the benefit of the movie.
Finding the right cultural consultants to work on the project was important to us. There is no one size fits all. We wanted to focus on adding authenticity to the story therefore finding the right cultural consultants was important. We had several cultural consultants both men and women. It was also important to us to acclimate the various parties on how best to work together, providing a comfort level for a cultural exchange to happen that deepens the level of storytelling.
What was your take on the theme of the film that “we are all hostiles”?
The theme provides for the conversation about the complexity of humanity. I think the metaphor is accurate as we are all that in someone else’s eyes. This is a brutal yet beautiful film that honestly and realistically addresses some very hard themes. As Native Americans, it’s a struggle to merely be seen in media as human beings, multi-dimensional people. Often, we have been relegated to stereotypes or binary characters. Westerns of the past had a lot to do with the dehumanization of how Indians are presented. With the film HOSTILES, the director used the theme “we are all hostiles” to allow for a deeper dive into humanity which moves beyond the confines of race. I think this theme at this time in our country is a critical one, stimulating conversations about forgiveness, reconciliation, family, humanity resonating with audiences from all walks of life.
The makers of Hostiles went to great lengths to solicit completely authentic Native input on both sides of the camera, and should be rewarded for that effort with the full support of the Native community. We should all run to the theatre to see this film. We applaud Scott Cooper and his team for tackling these themes as honestly as he did. I hope this film inspires more storytelling from and with Native American storytellers either leading the effort or in collaboration with filmmakers open to our stories.
Hostiles is now available on DVD and Video on Demand (VOD)