DOXA 2013: Bury My Heart in Dresden takes an unexpected detour through Lakota history

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      The documentary  Bury My Heart in Dresden provides a captivating look at the Lakota Sioux people of South Dakota.

      In a portrayal that reflects similarities in Canada’s First Nations history, the film depicts some of the challenges in the community where the Wounded Knee Massacre took place in 1890. Historical photos and narration tell the story of a people that were placed on reservations, but who "fought hard to preserve their way of life," according to one Lakota resident.

      Today, the community deals with issues including alcoholism and violence. In one scene, a police officer for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation refers to the “cultural genocide” that he says has left the community with just this remote stretch of land. Other members of the community, including those born there and some who have married into it, fight to ensure that the Lakota language and customs continue to be preserved.

      In contrast to the current life of the Lakota people is the depiction of the late Lakota Sioux man Edward Two Two. Two Two was employed to join a “human zoo” in Hamburg, Germany, to portray the traditional way of life of the Lakota people as part of a “Wild West” show. He died and was buried in Dresden in 1914. By switching between interviews with current residents of Pine Ridge reservation and the historical accounts of Two Two, a compelling story emerges of a man who felt more at home in a country where his traditional culture was romanticized, than the “conquered home” of his ancestors.

      Watch the trailer for Bury My Heart in Dresden here.

      Bury My Heart in Dresden screens on Friday (May 10) the Cinematheque at 5:45 p.m.