Edited film documents the history of the Lakota (Sioux) since the arrival of European settlers in the fifteenth century. Black and white photographs and early film footage illustrate the ongoing conflict between the Lakota people and the American government over civil and land rights culminating in the 1890 Battle of Wounded Knee. Numerous interviews with the Lakota retell the horrors of the battle, the capitulation of Crazy Horse and the spiritually stunting effect the battle wreaked upon the Lakota for one hundred years. The narrated writings of Black Elk relay his prophesy that it would take seven generations of Lakota after the Battle of Wounded Knee to mourn the loss of their relatives, traditions, land, and spiritual strength. The 1990 Lakota-wide movement to "wipe the tears of seven generations" of mourning is depicted by the two week memorial horseback ride to Wounded Knee in commemoration of those who died in the battle. Lakota interviewees explain their new vision for a united Lakota people who are finally at peace with themselves because of an extensive ritual healing process and who are now prepared to celebrate the culture, traditions and spirituality, and strength of character of the Lakota people that will set the pace for the next seven generations.
Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD