Producers Introduce "Warriors from the Reservation," a Multimedia Project Exploring the Experiences of Lakota Veterans

NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Photojournalists Svetlana Bachevanova (FotoEvidence) and Anthony Karen, MIPJ Executive Editor and writer K.J. Wetherholt, and award-winning filmmaker Pamela Theodotou, announced the production of the multimedia project Warriors from the Reservation, incorporating photo exhibitions, two documentary films to be produced for the international film festival circuit, and a print/digital book with both text and photography, examining the warrior tradition and experiences of Lakota veterans from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

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One of the films, We Bleed Too: The Story of Tony Bush, a documentary short currently in post-production, features Bush, a Lakota veteran who served in Vietnam and was a participant in the Wounded Knee incident (1973).  The short film depicts his quest, and that of his Lakota attorney, to be awarded amended discharge status and benefits that have been mired in red tape at the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA). A story with video footage and stills by project producers about Bush and his legal efforts will be appearing in The Huffington Post.

The Pine Ridge Reservation, one of six recognized Lakota reservations, was chosen as a location for its efforts for cultural survival deriving from the Lakota warrior philosophy, from the Wounded Knee Massacre (1890), to events surrounding the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970's, including the Wounded Knee Incident in 1973 (recently commemorated this year on its 40th anniversary), which sought to honor the rights and traditions of American indigenous populations. 

Coming from this tradition, there is a fundamental interest in understanding the connection between both the strength and history of the warrior tradition and its expression via Lakota culture, spirituality, and participation in U.S. wars, past and present.

The overall project, already in progress, has received letters of support from the Oglala Sioux Tribal President and the head of the Oglala Sioux Homeless Veterans Shelter.

A Kickstarter campaign for additional funds to complete the films and photographic production on location in Pine Ridge, SD will commence near Columbus Day in mid-October 2013, ending just after Veteran's Day.

Significance of the Project and focusing on the Lakota Sioux:

Participation in the United States military among all Native Americans is proportionally higher than any other ethnic group. The end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will bring back to the reservation a large number of Native Americans suffering from PTSD as a result of their war experience. 

There is an increasing amount of evidence showing that American Indian Veterans have the highest rate of PTSD of any ethnic group and face significant barriers to care, which increases the levels of dysfunction, including in terms of already high levels of violence and crime. 

However, despite the U.S. government having traditionally subjugated, marginalized, and even committed genocide against the Lakota, equally important for project producers are the reactions of Lakota veterans to the experience of war in coming home to the reservation--and the genuinely positive aspects of the Lakota means of healing through traditional ceremony and support of the larger Lakota community.

Project Website:


K.J. Wetherholt
+1.917.791.2110 Voice

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