All My Relatives: Spirit Lake Nation (DVD)
by Mary John
"All My Relatives" is an hour-long documentary about the Spirit Lake Nation by Dakota producer, Mary John. The program is an in-depth history of four generations of one family on what was then known as the Devil's Lake Sioux reservation in North Dakota.
Producer Mary John had spent her early years with her grandparents near Fort Totten. In this program, she returns to the reservation and tells her story through a combination of family research, and oral history from tribal elders. This program gives us the untold story of reservation life: the realities of life for Indian people as it was experienced after the buffalo were gone, under the thumb of federal policies, during the period leading to the present day.
Beginning with the turn of the century, "All My Relatives" examines government policies, assimilation, and tribal evolution. The program shows how the near loss and recovery of the Native American identity, customs and beliefs are issues that still affect the present generation.
About the film, Mary says, "I want the audience to understand that our culture and heritage has survived and that, despite adversity and loss, it continues to this day. While Indian people have faced terrible and demoralizing experiences, we have also retained our strength, our culture and our hopes."
From Red Eye Video