About this Film
From 1895 to 1951 the Sundance, the most sacred of the Seven Sacred Lakota Ceremonies, went underground. North American indigenous people were forbidden to practice their traditional ways of life, ancient ways that sustained their culture, their language and their identity. When the Sundance resurfaced in the 1950’s, it was fiercely protected and held in secret locations, for participation strictly by "Indians only". It was forbidden to sketch, photograph, or film the ceremony, lest it be exploited and desecrated as other sacred rituals had been. For decades the ceremony remained protected and practiced the way it had been for thousands of years.
With a new generation of medicine men came a shift in mindset. A handful of Medicine men like Patrick Hendrickson held a vision to share the ways of the Lakota people. This need surpassed even the need to keep the ways secret and safe. He knew that if the people continue on our current trajectory, there would be no traditions and no Mother Earth to protect.
Patrick requested that the Sundance ceremony be filmed and “documented”, as these are historical events that need to be recorded as a part of human history. He knew that the time had come, for the powerful message and healing of the Sundance to reach all people, of every race, in every corner of the world.
My name is Monika and I am a Sundancer, Engineer, Sustainability Consultant, mother and Yogi. I met Chief White Cloud, or Uncle Pat, as he is lovingly called, in 1997 when he poured my first sweat lodge. Prior to this, I had little exposure to First Nations culture, and no spiritual practice to speak of. Instantly, a connection was made that would last until the end of his life, eight years later, and beyond.
Shortly after we met he asked me to make a "historical document" in the form of a film, about the Sundance. I neither knew how to make a film, nor what a Sundance was, but he was not going to let that deter me. After a rather brutal introduction to Sundance at the Mother of all Sundances: Lenard Crowdog's dance at Rosebud, I understood that this experience was life changing and possibly had the power to change an entire Nation if not the world.
While it is traditionally forbidden to film a Sundance, Uncle Pat was a rather unorthodox medicine man and he had the vision that the time had come to share the teachings of the dance with all of the people. And in today's world, that meant film, TV, Internet .. whatever it took. With the state of the world and the rapid deterioration of our social, environmental and economic structures, we no longer have the luxury of keeping the message of the Sundance underground.
When Uncle Pat was asked to start a Sundance in New Zealand, he invited me to come along and film it. I danced… and filmed… a rather difficult balancing act. We returned to New Zealand for the three years following, during which over 50 hours of footage was shot to make Pat's vision into a reality.
After Uncle Pat died on his 63rd birthday on March 14th 2005, the footage stayed dormant until recently. In the last weeks, a Film Editor that is also a Sundancer has appeared, and also a successful Co-Producer that understands the importance of this project.
That, and a dozen "small coincidences" that are my reminder of my promise to make this film, have resulted in this campaign. You can be a part of making Chief White Cloud's vision a reality. It is time.
Filmed in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States, Chief White Cloud’s story is interwoven with the experiences of Sundancers from around the world, revealing insights into themselves and into the sacred ceremony.
As Patrick explained, there is no more time to keep these ceremonies hidden; the message of the Sundance must be released to the world.
How will the money be spent?
Specifically, we need post-production funds. These go to supporting the transcription of the 60 hours of footage, the picture editing of the film and purchase of music rights. And these funds also contribute to some of the most important components of the final film: graphics, color correction, a comprehensive sound design and mix, as well as final mastering. Our story is incomplete without these crucial final touches.
Finally, we need your help to spread the word. Festival submissions, DVD and digital duplication will allow us to create the broadest possible exposure for what we think is an important and exciting film.
This film has the potential to change the way and entire generation views their connection to our home planet, and to one another.
Uncle Pat's teachings are insightful, powerful, but also simple and down to earth. More and more people in his community know of him only through the memory of others. Even for those of us that knew him, his words are beginning to fade and some of our memories are getting fuzzy. With this document, people from all corners of the world will be able to share, view, and learn from Uncle Pat's teachings and the Sundance ways for generations to come.
With our experienced team of Jennifer Pickford as Editor and Rosalee Yagihara as Co-Producer, we have many successful projects under our belts. We know that we can bring Pat's vision to a powerful reality.
It is time.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you just can’t contribute, you can still help!
- Please help us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign!
- Introduce us to some people that can help make this dream a reality
ALL MY RELATIONS and THANK YOU from Monika, Jennifer and Rosalee.