This film aims to start a much-needed conversation
about how people, wildlife and the environment are impacted by industrial developments. More importantly, it is about communicating the voices and concerns of Indigenous people, who are often left out of decision-making processes, yet are among those most impacted. Since European contact, colonization, settlement and the many changes that followed, Indigenous peoples have faced many changes, and many forced upon them. But cultures are living things that keep changing, adapting and evolving.
wanorazi yumneze means “awakening spirit” in Lakota. Despite the challenges Indigenous people have endured and continue to face, the deep-rooted cultures, traditions, knowledge and communities are strengthening, awakening.
Stories, Prophecies, Teachings
Throughout the making of this film we heard many stories from many people. Some of those stories were passed down from elders over many generations as teachings and even prophecies. The prophecies told in the beginning of the film by our two narrators, Helen Cote-Quewezance and Misty Potts, were discussing the responsibility of people to care for the environment or else bad things will happen. As Helen says,
The plants, the animals, the water will say,
‘you can’t use us anymore’.
Misty goes on to describe an old legend about a community that discovered two baby snakes that they decided to trust and care for. But as they continued to embrace and feed them, they kept on growing until they were too big to care for and began feeding on the people and the land, and became a threat.
These two stories lay the groundwork for the issues being discussed in the film.