Savage Land

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Inspector George Gently
Savage Land

Savage Land explores the history of the relocation of over 67 tribes two centuries ago to “Indian Territory ” (Oklahoma).


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Savage Land explores the history of the relocation of over 67 tribes  two centuries ago to “Indian Territory ” (Oklahoma). Stripped of their lands, their culture, their language, their spiritual practices, even their children, they were forced into Oklahoma where they managed to maintain their individual identities against all odds.  

Beginning in 2012 our camera crew participated in multiple tribal ceremonies where the past kept coming up about the Sand Creek and Washita massacres executed by the United States Military 150 years ago. 
Then the horrors of the past appeared in front of us. On December 21st, 2013. Mah-hi-vist Red Bird Goodblanket was shot down in his parent’s kitchen in Clinton where we had been filming by Custer County Police who were responding to a 911 call. Instead of arriving to talk to this troubled youth who suffered from Opposition Defiant Disorder, they arrived heavily armed. After forcing the family out of their way, they barged through a broken window and within seconds shot Mah-vi-vist six times, leaving him seated against a door jam with his head resting on his knees. The troopers rushed back out as one of them had shot off his own finger. Then a seventh shot to the back of Mah-hi-vist’s head was fired. By whom or why we do not yet know, as the police dash board videos and accounting of the story are incomplete and possibly altered. Shortly after, the Custer County Sheriff publicly presented medals of valor to the two deputies, just as they did at Wounded Knee, as if it is still justified to kill Indians. 
As William Faulkner said, “The past is not dead; it’s not even passed.” This film seeks healing through understanding, building bridges between our indigenous people and the police, and between cultures and the land on which they live.


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