Dakota 38

Dakota 38.  I’ve seen it four times, and I’m still speechless.  It’s been very healing for me.  Jim Miller and the other older men showed me what “elders” look/feel like when they are men. I’ve known some women that I would call elders, and I’ve been wanting someone older and wiser to show me how to navigate my last years.  (I’m seventy, and slowing down.)  Suddenly, here they are.  Men rooted like trees, with dignity that’s not put on like a costume, but supports them from inside like a steel pole.
In the video it says that white people broke the Indians’ connection to the earth.  But that’s not what I see.  If it was broken, these Indians have repaired it.  Jim Miller talks openly and matter-of-factly about his history: sexual abuse, PTSD from Vietnam, prison, alcoholism — he went through all that and it did not determine the person he became.  It’s possible that struggling against all that horror made him who he is, a man solidly grounded and filled with the power of love.  (Though that never justifies what was done to him.)
I am so grateful to have Dakota 38 in my life.  This is how it came to me.  I’m friends with Pancho Ramos Stierle on facebook and he sent a link to an interview of the filmmaker. I was so impressed with what Silas Hagerty said about the making of Dakota 38, that I went straight to the website and ordered a copy.  They are given out free, in fact you can even watch the whole thing on YouTube, the whole process of making the film was a give-away.

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