Ahoicipe (working title)
This is a small preview of a new project, which has the working title of Ahoicipe (ah-hoh-ee-chee-pay), the Lakota word for pride.
This project intends to explore the role of traditional identity in the daily struggle of Native Americans living in reservations. Through the stories of the Lakota (Sioux) living on the Standing Rock reservation between the Dakotas, I would like to examine how they use pride of their original culture and traditions in dealing with their dismal objective conditions.
I took interest on the project after hearing that the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre was put up for sale by its owner. To the descendants of the 300 Lakotas murdered, the site is now sacred and selling it would be the latest affront of a centuries long history of coercion.
While their cultural practices and language have been almost vanished by the various attempts at "assimilation", the tribal peoples suffer a sort of forced segregation at the very bottom of American society: on every indicator, from the 88% unemployment to the worlds second lowest life expectancy, the reservations stand as Third World islands in the biggest economy on Earth.
My project, however, would like to depart from the gritty depiction of these issues common in other works on the subject. By portraying the inhabitants of Standing Rock in a positive light and exploring how they rediscover and use pride as a tool for survival and advancement, I would like to comment on their situation and the issues to be addressed.