"Education is your most powerful weapon. With it, you are the
whiteman's equal, without it, you are his victim."
Chief Plentycoups, last Crow Chief
Spirit of the Dawn explores the dramatic changes in Indian education from the boarding
schools of the past, where children were beaten for speaking their language in school, to the more culturally-sensitive
classrooms of today. On the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana,
we meet two sixth graders, Bruce Big Hail and Heywood Big Day
III, as they participate in an innovative poetry class that encourages
them to create beautiful poems celebrating Crow culture and history.
Through the children, their parents and their teachers we see
the strength and resiliency of a community fighting the constraints
of the past to secure a future for its children.
29 minutes/VHS Produced by Heidi Schmidt Emberling
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"Brief, sweet, and affirming...this film's quiet message, reversing
the notion that Native Americans need to be 'made over' to be
accepted in a white world, is of value to students of both education
and cultural diversity." ***
"This video challenges racist stereotypes prevalent in mainstream
U.S. culture. It is a valuable resource for teaching race/ethnic
relations, education as a social institution, and sociology of
Marcia Hood-Brown, Brandeis University
"A sensitive depiction of the struggle of Native American youth...invaluable
and helpful to all Indian and non-lndian people."
Acoma poet, storyteller
"The great love of the Crow people for their cultural heritage
shows brightly in this film. The emergence of this video is especially
important now...our country needs to find its way to appreciation
of cultural diversity, an attitude that is vital to our future."
Chair, Department of Linguistics
University of California at Berkeley
Screened at the American Indian Film and Video Festival