The Sun Dance Journey: The Gift
An authored feature documentary, telling the story of two Sundance chiefs, one Native and one non-Native, whose lives are helping to heal the wound at the heart of America. A story of mythological dimensions in the vein of Avatar or Dances With Wolves the story highlights the enormous value of the indigenous perspective in this era of ecological & human crisis. The film explores two men and their two Sundance ceremony's and follows the dancers journey to heal the historic trauma the Lakota people have suffered at the hands of the non native people of America, as well as the need for forgiveness to free both victim and perpetrator. A process progressed by the meeting of these two visionary leaders and intercessors.
The Sundance is the most sacred ceremony of the Plains Indians. It is ‘a prayer for the people’. Transmitting energy like ripples from a stone thrown into water. The film hopes to work in a similar way, as a bridge of understanding and connection - especially given that it was just 150 years ago that the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty betrayed the Lakota people and led to the end of their profoundly connected way of life.
The ceremony is an ancient key to the transcendent consciousness which the Lakota call the Great Mystery. It was kept alive and danced secretly by a few despite the very real threat of incarceration during its ban, which ended in 1978. The result of the banning of all native spirituality, on top of the multiple traumas preceding this, was collective spiritual collapse. Yet as predicted by Black Elk, the Sundance is returning, and has even begun to flourish, and is changing that. The Tree of Life once again stands at the centre of the Lakota way of life. Alongside a handful of other men before him, the man credited with the ceremony's return is the Lakota Sundance Chief Leonard Crowdog. After bringing the ceremony back into the open after the uprising at Wounded Knee in the 70’s, he did what was unthinkable for many Native people. He opened the ceremony to non natives and in particular made a gift of the ceremony to a white man, who he made a Sundance Chief. In contrast to the ideology of manifest destiny the Lakota believe 'Mitakuye Oyasin' - translated to be along the lines of "we are all related, we are all one.”
To borrow the words of David Lynch when describing the ineffable, the Sundance is an experience of "thick beauty" where the air vibrates with bliss. It can cast a spell. The Lakota think of it as a kind of umbilical cord to the Great Mystery which is perhaps the same as Atma. It unifies, heals and changes people. South American tribal leaders have come to The Lakota Sundance in connection with an ancient prophecy that the Condor would one day rejoin the Eagle in a revival of ancient wisdom uniting North and South America. Black Elk predicted the re-flowering of the dance as a part of the shift in world consciousness. The film is a story of hope found in the poorest and most depressed area of America. It depicts a moment in time when things can change. Where a window of possibility exists, as bridges are formed and old hatreds and wounds, at the heart of America can be broken down.
This film is self-funded to date due to the need to build trust and work without commercial pressures. My belief is that at this time of global crisis a heart level appreciation of the intrinsic unity between all things is our best and perhaps only hope for survival. For consciousness exists in every atom and all that exists in Nature. For indigenous people Nature is intelligent, alive and conscious and can be communicated with. To paraphrase David Bohm in his lecture 'The Root of the Crisis for Humanity', "If you change the root thought, you change the world."
In honour of the people filmed it is not possible to show footage of the central storyline on the internet, for it would be out of context and needs to be screened to those involved first. However the short clips above are snapshots which represents a journey to forgiveness and healing many have had to tread. Please get in touch if you'd like to see a trailer privately or more footage, or even donate or support this film in anyway.