Young Lakota

Follow two young Native Americans living in South Dakota as they struggle to make decisions about their reproductive health, faced with a slew of recent anti-abortion legislation.

The documentary is the centerpiece of the filmmaker’s reproductive justice campaign. From 2006 to 2008, women’s rights were front and center when South Dakota sought to outlaw abortion. Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first woman tribal president in Pine Ridge, moved to establish a women’s clinic on the reservation, and it have included the right to choose.

Fire Thunder was ultimately impeached for her unyielding position that all women deserve to make their own decisions about their personal choices. The film covers her impeachment and the effect it had on the 21-year-old Clifford twins. Their friend Brandon Ferguson, a young father, begins the film as a journalist covering the impeachment, but clearly is at odds with his feelings about abortion and friendships are tested. The impeachment had a direct affect on the lives of all three, who begin to question traditions that are brought to the fore.

Danforth noted an unexpected bonus of the film. “As I watched the film in the editing process, it was one of the first times in my life that I saw a film where I was reflected as a young Native woman. I never get to watch TV and be like, ‘Oh! That’s my story.’ In this film, they are talking about sex, talking about bodies, but most important they are doing something about it! Our story isn’t always about being victims. We are about being agents of change, and we have always been agents of change.”

Watch the documentary tonight, Nov. 25, on PBS’ Independent Lens.


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