Tag Archives: Native Americans

Movie Review: “Woman Walks Ahead,” Directed by Susanna White, 1 hour, 43 minutes


On the 4th of July, my movie buddy and I learned about people who probably weren’t celebrating the birth of this nation and all the freedom we supposedly enjoy.

Some of the historical background is on Wikipedia. The story starts in 1889 when a painter named Caroline Weldon from Brooklyn comes to the Standing Rock reservation to make a portrait of the great Sitting Bull. In this version, she stays close to him to the end of his life.

If Sitting Bull and Caroline Weldon were as sexy and good-looking as Michael Greyeyes and Jessica Chastain, their Hollywood versions, romance would be inevitable. To the credit of the movie, though, there is very little romantic diversion from the essential story about the end of the great fighting nation and its chief.

The movie makers were challenged to depict a situation of incredible humiliation, degradation, deliberate starvation, racist violence, and genocide. They did a good job of it. The results are hard to watch in places. At the same time, one has to imagine that reality at the Standing Rock Reservation had to have been far worse.

Like some of the best Westerns, this one stars the scenery. The other actors are truly wonderful. Jessica Chastain underplays her role with an admirable professionalism. Michael Greyeyes brings a great and complicated man to life. The main racist villain, Sam Rockwell, is so evil and so broadly representative of the oppressive attitudes of the time that he nearly steals the movie. His is one of those characters that viewers can almost taste and smell.

The director gets the most praise because she tells an essential American story without skipping over its horror and without preaching about it. We count ourselves lucky to have found this movie. Others may have to look hard for it.

–Gene Lantz

I’m still on KNON radio 89.3 FM in Dallas TX at 9 AM CST every Saturday. If you are curious about what I really think, check out my personal site.





a member of the National Indian Defense Association “NIDA”, reached out to Sitting Bull, acting to be his voice, secretary, interpreter and advocate.



The War for Independence isn’t just a simple tale of heroism and yearning for freedom.


Howard Zinn’s history (click here)  pointed out that a major cause of the conflict had to do with the British treaties with the Natives. The British had promised no further westward expansion, while the colonialists fully intended to do just what they did to the Natives all the way to the Pacific.

African Americans were ill treated during and after the war. (click here) The defeated British did try to carry out their promise to free all their African American soldiers around New York and were quicker to end official slavery altogether than were the racists in the South.

The newly created United States distinguished itself among “civilized” nations for racism, imperialism and genocide over the next century. In 1854, Frederick Douglas’ July 4th speech asked, “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions!” (click here)

Did the British enjoy some moral high ground over the colonialists? Were the people our ancestors fought better or worse than the ones they fought against? Few of us today are so knowledgeable as to be able to make that call. Certainly not I!

But we are not honest people if we don’t consider all the aspects of our history that are clearly at hand.

–Gene Lantz

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