“At Standing Rock, a Lakota matriarch, a non-binary Appalachian, and a Jicarilla Apache / Navajo youth leader 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.”

That’s the synopsis for The Sacred & The Snake, a new feature-length documentary that seeks to not only shed light on the Standing Rock resistance that began in 2016, but to “amplify Indigenous voices, particularly Indigenous womxn, two-spirit, and non-binary people—the people that founded and front-lined the Standing Rock movement.” The film is raising funds to cover post-production costs, and has already raised nearly $17,000.

The Sacred & The Snake: Trailer (extended) from Liminal Films on Vimeo.

Behind the camera, The Sacred & The Snake has a Milwaukee connection: co-director/director of photography Jonathan Klett. An alum of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s doc|UWM program, Klett describes his time on the film as nothing short of life-changing.

“I am not the same person I was when I started this film,” Klett tells Milwaukee Record. “Through it all, Milwaukee always has been a base camp for me. Without my family, this city, and the support, generosity, and guidance of Indigenous Peoples, none of this would have been possible.” (Klett and his filmmaking team describe themselves as “a group of non-Native filmmakers working alongside a prolific group of Indigenous producers and advisors that are holding us accountable as we embark on this process.”)

Klett further discusses the background and focus of the film:

Our film team lived in and filmed the Standing Rock resistance camps for half a year. After the camps were evicted in early 2017, a diaspora of Water Protectors traveled in the Four Directions to their respective communities, while others continued the fight elsewhere. We followed and documented a handful of them throughout this time to show how this empowering and devastating experience lit a fire within each of them that continues to burn.

We followed them to New Mexico where they protested fracking and uranium mining; to the Great Lakes Basin at the Anishinaabe-led Camp Mawka to stop Line 3; to Washington DC to protest Trump’s Inauguration; to Charlottesville to support counter-protestors at the Unite the Right rally; to the coal mining towns of the Virginias to stop the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines; and finally to Mt. Rushmore to defend the Sacred Black Hills.

Want to help The Sacred & The Snake meet its post-production funding goals? Click HERE to find numerous tiers and incentives. “By supporting this project you’re part of a historic moment—an awakening of consciousness around Indigenous and environmental sovereignty,” reads the fundraiser. “You are elevating the message that protecting Indigenous territories begins with protecting Indigenous womxn, two-spirit, and youth.”

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.