Dancing on Mother Earth

Feb 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 16-3: Indigenizing Education, Media Reviews

DANCING ON MOTHER EARTHVideo produced by Tula Goenka
Directed by Jim Virga
Length: 56:40 minutes

Review by Kim Pappin

The documentary Dancing on Mother Earth captures a year in the life of Oneida musician and activist Joanne Shenandoah. Her recording career and countless performances are enough to keep anyone busy.

The viewer learns as the film progresses, however, that Joanne Shenandoah is much more than a musician. She and her family have for years been at the center of a division within the Iroquois Confederacy that has led to harassment, arrests, evictions and the loss of jobs, health benefits, education, and pensions.

Including these events in the documentary makes it not only a biography but also a story of tribal rights and basic human rights. Joanne Shenandoah, along with producer Tula Goenka and director Jim Virga, share the troubling dilemma of intertribal conflict and the pain and suffering that result.

This film is a telling tale of the struggle of indigenous people to find peace within their own tribes and also within modern day society. It would be a valuable learning tool for tribal colleges to invest in.

Kim Pappin works for KSUT Four Corners Public Radio in Ignacio, CO. She is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation in Pawhuska, OK.

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