My work as a documentary filmmaker began at the age of 13 living in the Twin Cities. I made a video short through my school and immediately saw the power of the camera to tell stories. It was a transformative experience. Shortly into this path I was introduced to the Two Bulls family – it was 2004. My father told me about the Two Bulls family who were fighting to protect a sacred site in the badlands located on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It was being desecrated by the National Park Service and other outside entities. I began my project planning and setting up interviews with the Two Bulls family.
After setting a date and project planning we drove 12 hours to the Two Bulls ranch where I had all my camera equipment from school charged and ready. In one day I conducted four interviews with husband and wife Lovey Two Bulls & Ed Two Bulls and their sons Ernie and Tony Two Bulls. I captured footage of the badlands and was given photos to use for my project. I brought the footage and photos to school and began editing during class time. It took me two months of class time to edit down the interviews into 12 minutes. Most of the footage that went along with the interviews were scenic shots of the bad lands. It was received into film festivals such as The Walker Arts Center Girls in the Directors Chair, Cine Las Americas, & the Native Voices Film Festival.
The experience of presenting and speaking about a story I told on behalf of my people was transformative. It began to set the tone of my life’s work which is to be a story-keeper for Indigenous communities and to teach other Native people to do the same.
Over the years I have had to stop to raise my daughter through her early years. It has been difficult to produce work during that period, but even then – I listened and gathered, and honed my skills. Over the past several years I have collected interviews, worked in partnership to produce work with other artists and organizations and have taught.
My artistic philosophy is tied intrinsically to this history. I base much of my work in how I prepare and craft an interview. I spend time to learn about and connect to the people I am representing, and I listen. I use images of land, and the life connected to that land, as it relates to the story being told. I work in partnership with the people that are at the center of the story and through this process I have committed myself to interpreting their sacred stories. I am an artist that strives to show the beauty of our people, the power of our histories, and the injustices faced because of outside interests.
I am still developing my artistic style. This is why I am an emerging artist. But my foundation is strong and the path I am following as a filmmaker is sure and steady.