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Indigenous film Warrior Women hosts Oceti Sakowin Homelands Premiere

Warrior Women – co-directed by Elizabeth A. Castle and Christina D. King – is the story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The film features the intergenerational story of activism of Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert from Red Power to Standing Rock. The film is coming back to its roots this coming weekend as it premieres in the homelands of the Oceti Sakowin on Sunday, Sep. 23 at the Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City and all are invited to this free event (please RSVP) which begins at 1:30pm mountain time.

“Bringing the film home to show people what we have been working on all these years and to thank them for all of their support is very important to us,” says protagonist and collaborator Madonna Thunder Hawk.

An honoring will take place at noon prior to the screening in order to recognize the activism of local Native women, the public is welcome. The screening will begin at 1:30pm wtih the debut of performer and activist Robby Romero’s long-form music video “Born on the Rez.” For more information about the activism and organizing of Romero, please go to A reception will follow the screening and a Q & A with the Warrior Women film team. RSVPs and inquiries can be sent to or through social media @WarriorWomenFilm and more information about the film can be found at

“This project is more than just a film to all of us - it’s bringing to light the powerful work Native women have always been doing. You could say it’s been twenty years in the making, as that was when Madonna [Thunder Hawk] and I first connected and really started this collaboration,”
explained Castle. However it was 2010, Castle met Creek/Seminole filmmaker Christina D. King and they began working on the film which was completed early in 2018. King held the Sundance Native Fellowship and has produced Native-themed films Up Heartbreak Hill, This May Be the
Last Time . The event is possible through individual donations as well as support from Vision Maker Media, the First Nations Development Institute and the Lakota People’s Law Project.

The film is based on a collection of oral history interviews with Native women activists of the Red Power Movement and the research done for her book, Women were the Backbone, Men were the Jawbone: Native Women’s Activism in the Red Power Movement by Castle.

Recognizing the people who have helped make this journey possible is a responsibility for the film team. It is a true collaboration between indigenous filmmakers, story tellers, and ‘subjects.’ The featured community members of the film are Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert. Mabel Ann Eagle Hunter, Mary Lee Johns, and Lakota Harden are additional prominent figures in the film.

“We want folks to recognize that we are gathering in the traditional homelands of the Oceti Sakowin, or the People of the Seven Council Fires who are often referred to also as the Great Sioux Nation. There are so many pockets of community who have supported the making of the film as well as the ongoing activism of the documentary participants and film team in the process,” said Castle.

While the event is free, donations are welcomed and will go directly to support the ongoing activism of the film team via or onsite.



More information about the film and filmmakers can be found at

Synopsis: In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation as a community of extended families.Warrior Women is the story Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who cultivated a rag-tag gang of activist children - including her daughter Marcy - into a group called the "We Will Remember" survival group. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both women are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Through their story, the film explores what it means to balance a movement with motherhood and how activist legacies are passed down from generation to


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