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‘Lakota Nation Vs. The United States’: First Look At Tribeca Doc About Battle For “Most Sacred Place On Earth”

Lakota Nation Vs. The United States

EXCLUSIVE: “The Lakota Sioux still believe that it belongs to them, and they want it back.”

“It” is the Black Hills, site of Mount Rushmore — which sits on what had been their most sacred spiritual site. The struggle is chronicled in Lakota Nation vs. The United States, a documentary set to world premiere this weekend at the Tribeca Festival. Watch an exclusive clip focus on Donald Trump’s pre-Fourth of July 2020 celebration and speech at Mount Rushmore above.

Featuring Nick Tilsen, Phyllis Young, Candi Brings Plenty, Krystal Two Bulls, Nick Estes, Henry Red Cloud, the film explores the forced removal of the Lakota tribe from the Black Hills in the 1800s along with the corresponding — and ironic — creation of Mount Rushmore on what had been their most sacred spiritual site.

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Here’s the logline for the pic directed by Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli and whose executive producers include Mark Ruffalo: It is the most sacred place on earth, the birthplace of the Lakota that has shaped thought, identity and philosophy for the Očéti Šakówiŋ since time immemorial — the life-giving land known as the Black Hills. Yet with the arrival of the first Europeans in 1492, the sacred land has been the site of conflict between the people it has nurtured and the settler state seeking to exploit and redefine it in its own image. Lakota Nation vs. The United States is a searing testament to the strength of the Oyate and a visually stunning rejoinder to the distorted image of a people long shaped by Hollywood. It is a lyrical and provocative testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide, and whose best days are yet to come.

The film is produced by Benjamin Hedin and Phil Pinto. Layli Long Soldier is the screenwriter. Lakota Nation vs. The United States will have its world premieres at 2:45 p.m. ET Saturday at the Village East by Angelika: Theater 3. Cinetic is handling sales.

The Tribeca Festival runs through June 19 in New York City.

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