We try to live two cultures…fractured by time.

Guy Dull Knife Jr., is a Vietnam veteran, artist, single father, and modern-day Lakota Sioux leader.  He invokes his family legacy to help raise 13 children on the Pine Ridge Reservation, one of America’s poorest communities (located in the poorest county in the nation).

 

The Dull Knifes documentary tells the story of a Native American family that has battled to survive on Pine Ridge in South Dakota for over 130 years.  The Dull Knifes have been both warriors and peacemakers and have played critical roles in preserving the Lakota culture and defending the Pine Ridge Reservation from destruction through the generations.

 

The film describes how Guy Dull Knife Jr fought in Vietnam and how his father survived the trenches of WWI.  How his grandfather George Dull Knife toured Europe with Buffalo Bill but returned home to be denied his culture and language. How his great-grandfather Chief Dull Knife fought bitterly for the survival of his family and led his people on a 600-mile trek through the Nebraskan winter, pursued by the US Cavalry and beset by starvation.  Little has changes since that trek with most Native American groups living in poverty and afflicted by alcoholism, drugs, one of the highest suicide rates in the county and gangs.

 

As his ancestors before him, Guy Dull Knife Jr. is fighting back by teaching his children the spiritual way of life that is in danger of being lost completely.

Dull Knife teaches his children to use their strength of family as a weapon against the despair and poverty that surrounds them … He feels that the historical and continuing attacks on their culture, language, and identity, have been extremely effective and have fractured his people. He is trying to combat the effects of these attacks within his own family by giving his children a strong sense of identity and a great knowledge of their past.

The documentary was inspired by the book “Dull Knifes of Pine Ridge

Joe Starita tells the triumphant and moving story of a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne family. In 1878, the renowned Chief Dull Knife, who fought alongside Crazy Horse, escaped from forced relocation in Indian Territory and led followers on a desperate six-hundred-mile freedom flight back to their homeland. His son, George Dull Knife survived the Wounded Knee Massacre and later toured in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Guy Dull Knife Sr. fought in World War I and took part in the Siege of Wounded Knee in 1973. Guy Dull Knife Jr. fought in Vietnam and is now an accomplished artist.

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Lakota Elder, artist to talk about battle to survive reservation life. ~ Rapid City Journal

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