Women of the White Buffalo

Sioux City local featured in Women of the White Buffalo Documentary Film

Sioux City local, SunRose IronShell, is one of the nine Lakota women featured in the moving documentary film Women of the White Buffalo. SunRose is a woman of many talents. She is a former teacher on the Rosebud Reservation who is very passionate about the Arts. She uses the arts, poetry, and activism as a way to educate people today, as demonstrated by her participation in the documentary film. 

“I am an artist, but I was a teacher organically from the beginning. In school, I can remember back as far as the third grade, I was always giving presentations teaching about the Lakota ways, our food systems, and mainly Pow-Wow dances,” explained SunRose.

As an adult, she made certain that her students learned about their Lakota Sioux heritage with their traditions and unique history. Things such as regalia design, naming ceremonies, and the importance of living in balance with Mother Earth.

“I want to inspire my people to stay connected to their culture. I want for them to be happy and take joy in remembering who they are, they are the collective voices of the land,” stated SunRose.

The film was directed by Deborah Anderson and was awarded the Best Documentary at the 2019 Red Nation International Film Festival. Deborah Anderson also won Best Director for a Feature Documentary at the 2019 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. Starting April 12, this powerful documentary is available on Google Play, Apple Plus, Vudu, and Amazon.

“I traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the home of the Oglala Lakota Nation. I was told it is one of the poorest of all the reservations. As I observed the broken pieces of a history that has tried to erase these people, I met with the women that are the backbone of the community and keepers of their ancient wisdom. Recognizing that their voices are that of their ancestors, the oral traditions have survived centuries of abuse, genocide, and misrepresentation by the non-Indigenous peoples; my story had just begun as I was shown a side of this powerful Nation that so few outsiders get to witness.

Women of the White Buffalo captures the lives of the modern-day Native women as we listen to their stories of loss, suicide, murder, and epidemic meth addiction amongst their community mirrored by their deep ancestral roots, traditional ceremony, prayer, and hope,” stated Anderson. 

The story of the White Buffalo Calf Woman holds a deep importance within the Sioux people and many other Native tribes across the continent. The understanding is that of manifestation, rebirth, abundance, and world harmony. (To learn more about the White Buffalo Calf Woman, go to legendsofamerica.com.)

An ancient, Native, matriarchal society has been upended by centuries of genocide and colonialism. This has resulted in culturally sabotaged and isolated communities that constantly struggle to save what remains of their sacred identity. The Lakota women living on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian Reservations in South Dakota are rising up against forces that continue to suppress them. By preserving and protecting their ancestral values and wisdom, they provide a source of hope to their people.

“With exclusive access to the lives of nine women, ranging in age from 10 to 98, the documentary explores the powerful testimonials of loss and survival to gain insight into the experiences of modern-day Indigenous Americans living on an Indian Reservation. Gripping historical accounts and startling, timely statistics guide viewers down the path that has led to these present-day conditions. 

The indelible voices of these determined women inspire us with their strength, gifting us with ancient insights that speak to our current global, environmental, and cultural crises. These are the powerfully rich stories of the brave women and children living in the poorest county in the United States,” said Anderson.

 By, Amy Buster

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