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  • Making a short film about Lakota culture.

    This got double posted into the introductions. Please delete that one.

    My name is Rostam and I'm a film student at UCLA and I've started to write the script for my thesis film.
    I got interested in the native culture when I went to visit a Powwow in Irvine, I just fell in love with the people. I'm a Persian that grew up in Sweden and my culture is a bit mixed but I'm always open to new ones.
    There's no warmer and loving people in the world than the Native Americans.

    I need some help to understand more detailed parts of the Lakota culture.

    I want it to be culturally correct and I want to show how beautiful it is.

    I'd love to hear about any ideas you might have about changes!
    Last edited by RozZy; 06-19-2013, 01:13 PM. Reason: Only posting for research purposes.

  • #2
    Originally posted by RozZy View Post
    This got double posted into the introductions. Please delete that one.

    My name is Rostam and I'm a film student at UCLA and I've started to write the script for my thesis film.
    I got interested in the native culture when I went to visit a Powwow in Irvine, I just fell in love with the people. I'm a Persian that grew up in Sweden and my culture is a bit mixed but I'm always open to new ones.
    There's no warmer and loving people in the world than the Native Americans.

    I need some help to understand more detailed parts of the Lakota culture.

    I want it to be culturally correct and I want to show how beautiful it is.

    My story is about two native brothers, Wahkan and Mankato. It's set in the 1800's. Wahkan is the older brother.
    They find the Wahkan's wife raped and murdered by a lake. There's evidence that a white man has done this because of the clues left behind.
    Wahkan is mourning, but he can't live knowing his pregnant wife has died. Two days later, Wahkan is denying what happened, but Mankato needs him to get over his wife and to remember the truth. He takes him back to the lake and Wahkan remembers. He tells Mankato to leave him alone for a while.
    Wahkan wraps a rock to his arms and drowns himself in the lake.
    A couple of days later, Shilah has to do the vision quest. Having no family left he needs to be able to start his own again.

    He’s in the woods, praying and fasting by a fire, the fire all of a sudden extinguishes and he sees a vision of Wahkan crying by his wife’s dead body and also the silhouette of the man who killed her in the woods.

    After the vision ends the fire comes back, but there’s something closing in from the woods. It’s a white boy named Christopher that’s gotten lost in the woods. Mankato makes him leave to continue his prayer.

    The morning after Mankato finds Christopher lying on the ground freezing. He takes out a blanket and puts it over him and leaves.
    He walks by a river, and on the other side he can see Christopher filling up his water pouch. Mankato tries to avoid meeting him but Christopher approaches anyway. Christopher is gives back the blanket to Mankato
    Mankato is praying by the fire, he receives the same vision again, but in this vision he’s approaching the silhouette and he can see who it is. The man is Wahkan dressed as a white man. He’s covering his bloody arm; Christopher approaches Ahki from the dark again and interrupts his vision. This time, Mankato lets him spend the night by the fire, but that doesn’t give Christopher any sleep because of Mankato’s prayers.

    As the story progresses he starts accepting Christopher and they start liking each other. Mankato decides to help him find his way back.
    With Mankato’s help they find Christopher’s home. At the cabin Christopher jumps in to his brother James arms.

    Mankato is looking from a distance and sees a bandage on James arm. Later that night while they are sleeping, he approaches the house and enters. He sees the same type of Brandy he found at his brothers wife’s body and it is clear that James murdered her.

    He’s says a prayer and when he’s about to stab him he receives a vision, seeing himself as Christopher without his brother and the future of Christopher dying poor and alone. When the vision ends and Wahkan is standing in the room with them. He can’t kill James, Wahkan tells him that he’s better to let someone suffer from the scar of knowing what he did.

    Christopher wakes up and sees Mankato with a knife, ready to stab his brother. Mankato puts down the knife and is about to leave when James picks up his gun underneath the bed and aims it towards Mankato. The candles cabin extinguishes. You can hear Mankato’s footsteps and a stab that makes James scream. Mankato has stabbed him in the hand. He says that he's leaving him a scar in his hand that will remind of him.

    3 months later, Mankato goes back to check up on the Cabin. But instead of it only being one cabin, there’s now a whole village of white people.



    I'd love to hear about any ideas you might have about changes!
    You came up with all this stereotypical bull s h i t after visiting ONE powwow in Irvine???????? Wow.


    Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


    "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

    Mr. Rossie Freeman

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RozZy View Post
      I'd love to hear about any ideas you might have about changes!
      UCLA huh. My Aunt is a prof there -- different department. Welcome to powwows.com

      Rostam, since you are planning to go into the image-making industry, I'm going to try for a teachable moment. I'm going to say some hard things, please hear me out.

      You are coming to our culture from a highly romantic and unrealistic point of view. Your comment about falling in love with us as a people, suggests you have fallen in love with you idea of us as a people. "...[W]armer and loving people..." I'm a Native person and I love my culture, but even I don't love all Indians. And I suspect my the time this thread gets shredded, you won't love all Native people either.

      You story is not a Lakota story. The synopsis you gave doesn't reflect Lakota values. It is instead full of dominant culture tropes.

      Let me tell you something about Lakota culture, there is a time and place for discussing visions and a non-Native, student film isn't that time or place. Please try to understand, we do not causally discuss the sacred. There is power in these things and to play with that, even to name it carelessly, is dangerous. If you don't know where those boundaries are you have no business attempting the topic. A five hundred word post online will not teach you where these lines are, only living the culture will. The best you can hope to accomplish is a ethnographic drag act.

      As a Native woman, I am:

      Tired of only seeing my people depicted in the 1800's.

      Sick of seeing the media depict traditional religion like an LSD drug trip.

      Weary of being romanticized.


      As a Native woman, I want to see Native characters who:

      Live in modernity.

      Don't have tragic, romanticized pathological lifestyles.

      Aren't tree-hugging, crystal-licking mystics.

      Deal with the kind of tensions a Native person in the modern world faces.


      If you want to discuss a non-sterotypical, contemporary depiction of Native people, I suspect you will find many who will help you. Not the least of which is the local urban Native community around you -- the largest is the US.

      Comment


      • #4
        Its just a story outline with subject for change. I wouldn't even post on these forums if I didn't feel like I needed help.
        I know how it feels to be treated as a minority, I'm from Sweden which is one of the most racist countries in the world, especially against middle eastern people.
        I've been doing all the research online that exists and frankly, there ain't much. That's why I've seeked out these forums.

        The reason I'm not doing it contemporary is because of when it started and when the world wasn't destroyed by the settlers. Coming from another country and being closer to nature makes you see things in America that are scary. Like that that it usually takes you two hours of driving to see a natural forest that hasn't been destroyed yet. The people I talked with where 50+, the younger generation I talked to didn't seem to want to talk with an outsider. I want your voices to be heard but hostility is making it hard.

        I am an open minded person and I know there's other open minded people out there as well. The Americans in this country still don't understand what happened here and what did exist before.
        Last edited by RozZy; 06-17-2013, 12:43 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hostile? Rostam, if you think my response is hostile, I suggest you be very very careful where you take your tender feelings. Are you getting mad because, I'm failing to live up to your romantic expectations?

          Let me I tell you what your story says to me:

          Here is another exercise in white guilt, with my people as props. Some Indians victimized by the white people. Instead that doing what a warrior people like the Lakota would do and fighting back, one Indian commits suicide and the other prays. But opps there is a helpless, lost white dude that needs saving. So Mr Indian helps out and learns to like the wasicu. Then he finds his new buddy is kin to the murder and rapist. But he only gives murderer a warning. Then poof, the Indian is gone, ground under the wheels of Manifest Destiny.

          The credits roll. The audience wipes away their Iron-Eye Cody-esque tear. Safely insulated from any real connection because they are nice environmentally friendly, hipsters who recycle and don't rape pregnant women.

          It's Last of the Mohicans. It's Dances With Wolves. It's Avatar. It's the same old reverse captivity narrative.

          If you insist on casting your tale in this mythical, Grizzly Adams world, why don't you try the harder tale. Why don't you tell a real story of cultural contact? Where neither side is saint or sinner. But all parties are just trying to do what their ethos tells them is right and there is the tragedy. Morality tales work better when we can see our faults in Iktomi's actions.


          As for research on the internet... The meat of my culture isn't on the internet. Many lies about my culture are. It doesn't live in books. It is in the community, language, stories, arts.... It is living and changing and swirling all around you, but unseen. Because we are in this world as well as the past.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RozZy View Post

            The reason I'm not doing it contemporary is because of when it started and when the world wasn't destroyed by the settlers. Coming from another country and being closer to nature makes you see things in America that are scary. Like that that it usually takes you two hours of driving to see a natural forest that hasn't been destroyed yet. The people I talked with where 50+, the younger generation I talked to didn't seem to want to talk with an outsider. I want your voices to be heard but hostility is making it hard.
            Funny, I would love to see it as a contemporary film BECAUSE of the reasons you listed for not doing it. You personally have seen the world change and the differences between cultures, so draw on that personal feeling and emotion instead. You can draw from personal experience on the idea of seeing how the destruction of areas can change a person's life. You also have personal experience like many of us, in being away from your traditional culture. Growing up in a world where the majority's ideas and beliefs may be vastly different from the ones you were taught by family. You understand how difficult it can be to try and find your place in a world that may not understand a large part of you. Or the struggles you may have trying to find your place in your own culture due to being so far away for so long. THAT can be how you relate to many native peoples and get their voices heard. Not all this 1800's gobbledygook.

            Yeah, the world's not like it used to be. Sure it takes you two hours to get to a forest over there on the west coast. But that's nothing new. Things change, humans destroy/make things into what they wish. That's life. That isn't solely a Native American thing, and it isn't just an American thing.

            If you want to reach ANY audience, relate to them on a level they can understand emotionally. Relate the experiences of the characters to the experiences that an audience can feel. All this pseudo-spiritual cultural crap... it ain't us. If your native community can't relate to a story that's about them and they call it out for its bullsh*t, you can be sure that the non-native audience will probably miss the point of what you were trying to say. And if you want to do a story about how the world is changing and nature is being taken over by human developments... do a story about that, without trying to include the native community for your "love of them".

            On top of all that, you talk of spiritual things without a proper understanding. That understanding is not something that you can accurately learn without being involved in a culture (if that's if people even wish to share the information with you). If you don't understand something, leave it alone.

            Your story is just too romanticized. It will just yet again portray our/my people in this old fashioned yippy-dippy tree-hugging facade without accurate representation.

            And I gotta ask, why Lakota? You're in Irvine and went to an Irvine powwow. Why not focus on some of the Cali natives? Why not talk to some Chumash, Kumeyaay, or people from other tribes in the area where you can get a more accurate representation of their history and how they also live today?
            Last edited by Fang; 06-17-2013, 01:57 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              1st paragraph you say there is no warmer or loving people than native americans......BWAHAHAHAHAHA

              its nice and we appreciate it, but dont get me wrong....after only one powwow you cant possible know this........indians are just like everyone else

              mean, jealous, backbiting, "crabs in a bucket" ect.........and you should see the women they are even worse

              dont mean to burst your bubble but dont romanticize us because if you spend some significant amount of time around us we are sure to dissapoint you
              "I on the trail of a possible good Indian lady and she is reported to like the old way's and she to believes in big family and being at home with kids all the time"... - MOTOOPI aka WOUNDED BEAR

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by RozZy View Post
                This got double posted into the introductions. Please delete that one.

                My name is Rostam and I'm a film student at UCLA and I've started to write the script for my thesis film.

                I want it to be culturally correct and I want to show how beautiful it is.

                My story is about two native brothers, Wahkan and Mankato. It's set in the 1800's. Wahkan is the older brother.

                I'd love to hear about any ideas you might have about changes
                !

                You say you are Persian? A culture with thousands of years of history...and stories?


                Have you seen the documentary "A THUNDER BEING NATION" by Scottish director Steven Lewis Simpson?

                Simpson spent 13 years on or near the Pine Ridge reservation, and produced this documentary with many interviews of local Native people speaking from their own knowledge. This is on DVD, on Amazon website.

                So, please get a DVD copy, watch it, and please return here to the forum with your thoughts.

                .
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by milehighsalute View Post
                  1st paragraph you say there is no warmer or loving people than native americans......BWAHAHAHAHAHA

                  its nice and we appreciate it, but dont get me wrong....after only one powwow you cant possible know this........indians are just like everyone else

                  mean, jealous, backbiting, "crabs in a bucket" ect.........and you should see the women they are even worse

                  dont mean to burst your bubble but dont romanticize us because if you spend some significant amount of time around us we are sure to dissapoint you
                  Well, the part of his script where Mankato puts a blanket over the freezing young Christopher....

                  Why can't that be a diseased blanket?

                  Christopher takes the blanket back to the white settlement, and they all get wiped out by disease.

                  Then Mankato goes down in history as the Red Superman that drove out the white devils.


                  Darn, these UCLA under grads need more Imagination 101, and 102
                  sigpic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    you know what this story is missing? the white guy should score with the chiefs daughter!!!!!
                    "I on the trail of a possible good Indian lady and she is reported to like the old way's and she to believes in big family and being at home with kids all the time"... - MOTOOPI aka WOUNDED BEAR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Somehow in all this, I keep picturing yet another A Man Called Horse type of film.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well I have realized now it was a huge mistake to even post any type of idea for a story since I'm researching. But this was just an idea I had that's going to change. It's not set in stone at all.

                        People still have no clue what the natives have gone through.

                        Maybe you could help me by naming a few problems that you think the film should bring up and that hasn't been brought up before. What do you feel would be the most important one?

                        The reason for it not being accurate right now is the time-limit they've given us. 30 days to write a script. But I'm extending this project for my thesis in 6 months from now and I'm sure it will look different by then.

                        I'd love to meet some people from Chumash. I picked Lakota because most research papers I could find was about Lakota.
                        Last edited by RozZy; 06-17-2013, 04:14 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AmigoKumeyaay View Post
                          You say you are Persian? A culture with thousands of years of history...and stories?


                          Have you seen the documentary "A THUNDER BEING NATION" by Scottish director Steven Lewis Simpson?

                          Simpson spent 13 years on or near the Pine Ridge reservation, and produced this documentary with many interviews of local Native people speaking from their own knowledge. This is on DVD, on Amazon website.

                          So, please get a DVD copy, watch it, and please return here to the forum with your thoughts.

                          .

                          Thank you for the tip! Ordered it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd love to be a writer, or a screen writer...but am lacking talent and/or ambition. HOWEVER, everything I have EVER heard from those that are talented and successful...WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!!

                            Why not a story set in Sweden with Persian and Swedish characters??

                            Then follow the same plot, but maybe in a modern setting...
                            ...it is what it is...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wyo_rose View Post
                              I'd love to be a writer, or a screen writer...but am lacking talent and/or ambition. HOWEVER, everything I have EVER heard from those that are talented and successful...WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW!!

                              Why not a story set in Sweden with Persian and Swedish characters??

                              Then follow the same plot, but maybe in a modern setting...
                              I would love to do that. The story is more focused on the clash of cultures than the spiritual part. I can remove that easily. I want to show the horrible things the white man has done and that he's not better than Hitler was in WW2. What they did to the natives is the worst genocide in recent times. There's nothing in the world that needs to be known more than this.

                              I know I don't know enough right now, not even a fraction of it. But I want to learn and I will do so by visiting tribes and get to know the native people. Sweden is a small country and the Persian culture still exists. The native culture is small and it's gotten small for one reason only and it's not because of the natives themselves.
                              Any tips about tribes I could visit around Los Angeles would be great.

                              I want your voices to be heard.

                              Comment

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