Oyate Woyaka (The People Speak) is a film that follows fluent Lakota speakers as they embrace their language and spirituality to heal from historical trauma.
NEW YORK, NY — Lakota elders will launch a crowdfunding campaign on November 1, 2021, to raise $33,400 for the upcoming documentary “Oyate Woyaka.”
Indigenous languages are at risk and Covid-19 is making a dire situation worse. The ﬁlm highlights how valuable indigenous language and culture is to the world. In addition to restoring the language within the community and using it to heal from historical trauma, Indigenous languages can help the world address biodiversity loss and climate change.
How did we get here? Just this past summer, the remains of 215 children were found in an unmarked grave outside of an Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC. There are more being discovered as we speak. In July, our ﬁlm followed the Sicangu Oyate as they brought 9 of their children home from
the Carlisle Boarding School cemetery for ceremony and burial in their ancestral land. As horrifying as this history is, it still lives in the present day lives of indigenous people. Many of the elders in Oyate Woyaka survived boarding schools. Our ﬁlm will allow those elders to express the historical, cultural and spiritual signiﬁcance of these events and how we can move forward, together, as a nation.
The concept for “Oyate Woyaka” was spurred when Filmmaker George McAuliffe connected with his uncle and Lakota elder, Bryant High Horse. After discussing a myriad of topics from climate change to social justice, Bryant suggested they make a documentary with ﬂuent Lakota speakers. Over the past 17 months, that conversation has grown to include a large circle of incredible elders, spiritual leaders, activists and artists, all collaborating to tell this incredible story.
This project is different from other documentaries about Native American culture because it doesn’t focus on poverty or other symptoms of neglect and abuse by those in power. Oyate Woyaka is a story about restoring balance with the natural world but at its core, it aims to connect to universal themes such as family, resilience, and the power of a community – creating an intimate and compelling story for the masses.
This ﬁlm is dedicated to all people in the world experiencing life through the lens of oppression, providing a platform, message, and an opportunity to help raise awareness to a larger audience that we are all connected.