The Sacred & The Snake
By supporting this project you're part of a historic moment - an awakening of consciousness around Indigenous and environmental sovereignty. You are elevating the message that protecting Indigenous territories begins with protecting Indigenous womxn, two-spirit, and youth. (Watch TRAILER below)
Mission StatementThe Sacred & The Snake's goal is to amplify Indigenous voices, particularly Indigenous womxn, two-spirit, and non-binary people - the people that founded and front-lined the Standing Rock movement. These are the voices that have been historically silenced and we've chosen to highlight in this film.
About The Project
At Standing Rock, a two-spirit Jicarilla Apache/Navajo youth leader, a Lakota matriarch, and a non-binary Appalachian join the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline. They each discover their power within a movement that echoes worldwide - but as each returns home determined to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and abuse, they realize their battle has just begun.
The Sacred & The Snake follows three Water Protectors – Lauren, Cheryl, and Olive – through their transformative experiences at Standing Rock and beyond. At the resistance camps they reclaim their cultures and experience a freedom and solidarity they never knew before. From summer to fall and through a bitter winter, they endeavor to protect the Missouri River from the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline by halting construction and maintaining a physical and spiritual presence on the proposed route. Like the tribes gathered there, they fear that if completed, the pipeline will leak crude oil into a watershed that not only supports the Standing Rock Sioux, but millions of others downstream.
The film opens in the present. As Lauren, Cheryl, and Olive's stories unfold, their experiences with other environmental struggles across the country trigger flashbacks to Standing Rock and the events that led each of them there. For each of the womxn and youth in this film, the violence of Big Oil on their sacred lands re-awakens their own personal traumas; there is a direct connection between the genocide of their people, the abuse of their land and water, and their own personal histories. Each must overcome their painful pasts to rise up as leaders of a reinvigorated Indigenous rights movement. They each carry forth the mantle to protect the sacred, knowing that the spirit and the land are intertwined, and you cannot heal one without healing the other.
Lauren, 21, is a two-spirit Jicarilla Apache and Navajo who has contended with the effects of colonization her whole life. She and her twin brother Alex were adopted and grew up on reservations in New Mexico, where she struggled with alcohol addiction since her early teens. When she suddenly takes a roadtrip to the Standing Rock camps with Alex, she begins reclaiming control of her life. She helps found the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) to empower younger, historically silenced, and diverse voices. With their love and support, she gives up drinking and finds her voice and a new family.
Cheryl, 57, is a soft-spoken, iron-willed Lakota elder who takes her experience from the first Keystone XL Pipeline battle to help form the first camp at Sacred Stone in Standing Rock, and reinvigorates spirits by embracing the youth as leaders while passing on her knowledge of prayerful resistance. After her son is imprisoned for locking himself to construction equipment, her whole family takes on the pledge to fight, even if it means risking abuse and felony charges. Cheryl remains committed to the cause and carries her message of prayerful resistance across the Americas.
Olive (they/them), 24, is a non-binary Appalachian originally from West Virginia who decided to fight the pipeline after seeing the effects of ecocide firsthand in their own home and in their pilgrimage to Central America. With adoptive Chiricahua/Mescalero Apache and Lakota Tiospayé, they learn the traditional teachings of the Red Road and support the collective struggle surrounding ancestral trauma from colonization. They find their place at Standing Rock training newcomers in the basics of nonviolent direct action. They often make their way to the front line, singing Lakota prayer songs before militarized police and enduring arrests from occupying construction sites. Olive, a survivor of sexual assault, mental illness, and binary gender norms, helps to form the Two Spirit/Womxn security team to address decolonization regarding roles and safety of Two Spirit/Womxn water protectors. They vow to stay until the pipeline is defeated and even become a paralegal to help loved ones facing political imprisonment from federal charges.
WHERE DOES MY PLEDGE GO?
Thanks so much for considering a pledge to support this film. The funds raised during this crowdfunding campaign will go directly towards:
- Paying our Editor to get us to the crucial Fine Cut stage
- Paying our Indigenous consultants and our Producer Jordan Marie Brings Three White Horses Daniel
- Paying our Indigenous composers to score the film
- Paying an Indigenous Animator / Graphics Artist to bring our participants' backstories to life
- Paying an Archivist to collect material to build the film's backstory
Click on the "Wishlist" tab for details about how you can directly contribute to one of these goals!
WHERE WILL THE FILM GO?
We want this film to reach the widest audience possible! We're planning a hybrid distribution model so the film will be available on major streaming platforms but also on public television for those communities with limited internet access. We will also collaborate with our participants in organizing multiple screenings on reservations, where they can engage their communities in discussions about Standing Rock, Indigenous-led resistance, environmental justice, and other themes raised in the film.
WHAT WILL THE FILM DO?
This film focuses on how the experience of collective trauma, cultural self-discovery, and non-violent direct action catalyzed an array of other resistance movements across the country. While much of the public accepts the media narrative that Standing Rock was a failure, this film and these participants defiantly show otherwise.
We are planning a robust Impact campaign that will support and expand upon the film’s themes and goals during release:
- Provide material support to Indigenous organizations working in environmental justice, food sovereignty, MMIW, and other areas of Indigenous sovereignty.
- Reserve 25% of the film’s proceeds for Indigenous organizations our participants and stakeholders identify as key partners.
- Invite leaders from these organizations to travel with the film to guide structured conversations at screenings across the country – on reservations, in communities affected by these issues, and legislators’ offices.
- Contribute to amplifying Indigenous storytelling by using proceeds from the film to support an up-and-coming Indigenous filmmaker.
At our public screenings, we hope to engage local audiences, nonprofits, policymakers, and funders in conversations centering Treaty Law as well as Indigenous and environmental sovereignty. We hope audiences will connect with this film through the humanity of these powerful individuals as they share their message that protecting Indigenous territories begins with protecting Indigenous womxn and two-spirit people.
I WANT TO PLEDGE BUT I NEED A TAX-DEDUCTION
**If you're interested in making a large donation and you need it to be tax-deductible - please reach out to us at email@example.com and we will direct you to our Fiscal Sponsor where you can make a tax-deductible donation.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
In order to reach our goal, we will need help from as many of you as possible. In addition to contributing to the campaign, sharing the link to the campaign via social media will help to spread the word about this important story.
THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS FILM POSSIBLE!
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team