Amá (Lorna Tucker, 2019): UK

Reviewed by Ky Biswell at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2019.

Emotional, Riveting, True, Unknown,

Focusing primarily on the topic of injustice inflicted on Native American women through mass serialization by the government of the United States, this documentary is a truly educational experience lead through the eyes of Jean Whitehorse who suffered these immoralities first hand. In conjunction with the horrors of boarding school and the Indian Relocation Act of 1952, we see an untold story unfold as these women are not only sterilized from birthing children but from birthing culture, language, society, family, and identity. This story in full is only the beginning of how much there is to uncover about the history and present day justification of this systematic genocide.

We follow director Lorna Tucker as she searches for answers to the questions of why abuse, disrespect, and tragedy characterized the Native American women’s life for so long and still does without recognition. She provides a platform for Jean Whitehorse, and other Native American women activists to tell their stories. Stories that show once they were robbed of they’re child bearing gift, they were actually robbed of so much more.

This film Invokes urgency as it brings to light that the same tragic events that shook and destroyed Native American women across the nation years before, are still, taking place today and yet nobody is talking about it. They cry, no not cry, they call, call for justice because a cry would imply there is no one around to hear and of course this isn’t true, there are so many of us but we must be willing to listen, and not just listen, but engage.

After watching this film your sense of direction is turned outward, into the globalized society in which we all belong. Information is so easily shared there is no longer an excuse to sit back as sacred knowledge is transformed into accessible avenues. The history of these women remind us all that there is still so much we don’t know, of their past and of ours and it has become our social responsibility to become aware. Let me stop there, go to to ignite change and hear from the women themselves, what they went through, and why this documentary and its message should be shared.


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