This is about a fight for freedom- true freedom. To do what we want to do. When we want to do it. How we want to do it. And that's growing hemp.

--Ramona White Plume

News and Updates

GET EDUCATED! CELEBRATE HEMP HISTORY WEEK AND LET FARMERS GROW HEMP
USA— May 17-23, 2010
Prairie Dust Films supports Hemp History Week May 17-23, 2010: "A joint venture of Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association, Hemp History Week is looking for patriotic Americans to participate in and attend events in their state as part of a national grassroots, media and public education campaign." To learn more, please click here.

We are hosting a small screening of the film in Chicago and are sponsoring a "WATCH- STANDING SILENT NATION- AND- PASS- IT- ON-ATHON" to encourage you to share the story with your friends. If you are interested in hosting a screening and sharing the film with others, email info at prairiedustfilms dot com and we will send you a FREE screener copy and viewer's guide to help spread the possibilities of hemp- it's up to Congress now to change the law.

The time for legalized hemp is NOW. Energy sources exist that can lessen our dependence on petroleum, coal, uranium and other dangerous and volatile substances that reek havoc on our planet. Use the story of the White Plume Family and their battle to grow hemp to help educate your friends and loved ones about this mis-represented and criminalized plant that can be cultivated in 120 days and actually nourishes the soil. Ask yourself WHY IS THIS PLANT STILL ILLEGAL? And then be as confused as us. SUPPORT THOSE WHO KNOW (like Senator Ron Paul) AND ASK YOUR REPS TO VOTE HEMP!

HAPPY NEW YEAR UPDATE FROM THE FILMMAKERS
Chicago, IL and Portland, OR —Jan 2009
It's been awhile since we posted news, so to start off 2009 right here's our latest update...
It's been one year since the White Plumes' devastating fire. In the course of the year, a temporary home was constructed that is to become the Owe Aku organizational offices once the eco home is built. Sadly, the White Plumes still can't grow hemp, but with the changes happening in federal policies toward non-petroleum based energy solutions, we have hope that people will take a serious look at industrial hemp. (Currently, in North Dakota, farmers are in court asserting their right to grow hemp after failing to hear from the DEA on their permit request. Read the details on the Vote Hemp website.) Despite the many challenges and changes the past year has brought to the White Plumes, they also waged a campaign in 2008 against uranium mining on tribal and federal lands. Please see below for more information.
In 2008 Standing Silent Nation graced the screens from India to Quebec, to the Red Rocks of Utah and the San Francisco Bay. We have played during hurricanes in Cuba and in churches in Oregon. We will soon have a version of the film translated into Spanish, which will extend the reach of the White Plume's story even further. The film has been well-received by audiences, who all seem to ask the same questions: how can what happened to the White Plumes be true and what can we do to help? Help has come in many forms, from monetary donations to spreading the word, but true change won't occur until industrial hemp is legalized. As other countries continue to profit off of the hemp boom, we are still fighting for legalization, and are hopeful that 2009 will be the year.

NRC hearing

Chief Joe American Horse and Tom Cook with attorney David Frankel at panel. (photo courtesy of savecrowbutte.org)

WATER PROTECTORS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS WIN BATTLES AGAINST URANIUM PRODUCER: CAMECO, INC
Washington, DC —Nov 2008
Owe Aku gains ground in big battle against Cameco, a Canadian owned company with a record of environmentally detrimental practices and one of the world's largest uranium producers. Cameco has proposed new mines northwest of Crawford, Nebraska. Mining at Crow Butte would disrupt the water tables on Native lands and western United States. The Atomic Licensing Board ruled in favor of the petition. Learn more about efforts to defend sacred water at savecrowbutte.org.
Crow Butte Uranium Mine, photo courtesy of Cameco website
"Canadian-owned Crow Buttes Resources, Inc. (CBR) is asking the NRC for a permit to expand uranium mining in and around petitioners towns, farms, and Indian territories. Petitioners assert that CBR's process currently consumes and contaminates 4.7 billion gallons of water per year from the High Plains Aquifer which is also the water source to communities in eight western states. Petitioners are asking the NRC for a chance to submit evidence that a slow-moving, underground radioactive plume of contaminated water is moving through several inter-connected aquifers-the Arikaree, Brule and High Plains aquifers. The Arikaree aquifer lies directly under the Oglala Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Petitioners believe there is a link between 98 wells that were closed on the Western side of the Reservation because of radioactive contamination and unusual incidences of cancer, kidney disease, birth defects, miscarriages and infant brain seizures" read full press release here.

LAKOTA HEMP DAYS CELEBRATE HEMP WITH PAPER MAKING AND HEMPCRETE COMMUNITY CENTER
Manderson, SD September 2008
Lakota Hemp Days is a celebration of the sovereign right of the Oglala Lakota to grow Industrial Hemp on Pine Ridge. Located at KIZA PARK on grounds nourished and surrounded by Wounded Knee Creek and where the family of Oglala rancher Alex White Plume planted Industrial Hemp from 2000 to 2002. Every year since, hemp enthusiasts from around the world converge at LAKOTA HEMP DAYS, set against the striking South Dakota landscape.  Enjoy first hand the making of finished hemp paper and other hemp products. Original Lakota Art on pure hemp paper will be on display. Learn more about the wind and solar energy that completely powers the grounds, including the stage. Attendees can visit the wild hemp fields. 

CONGRATULATIONS TO COURTNEY HERMANN AND STANDING SILENT NATION ON UFVA AWARD
Colorado Springs, CO August 2008
The University Film and Video Association awarded Best Documentary Faculty Award to Courtney Hermann (producer/director) of Standing Silent Nation. Courtney teaches digital media at the Art Institute in Portland, OR. The UFVA celebrated it's 62 Conference August 12-16. Founded in 1947, the UFVA has developed into an organization of almost 800 professionals and institutions involved in the production and study of film, video, and other media arts. It's an international organization where media production and writing meets the history, theory and criticism of the media.

ANNOUNCING A HEMP BUILDING PROJECT AT KIZA PARK (WHITE PLUME LAND) STARTING MAY 11TH
Kiza Park, Manderson, SD —March and May 2008
UPDATE! For pictures and a story about the May 15th workshop click here.
The White Plumes are currently living in their temporary house (see picture below). A hempcrete building project/workshop will be conducted from May 11th through June 15th, supervised by American Limetec. The project is called Maka Akan Wicoti (Community Upon The Earth), or Eco-Wicoti. After suffering a total loss of their home, all its cherished belongings and the offices to many grassroots organizations, the White Plume family is rebuilding a home that demonstrates the power of hemp. ALL are welcome to join in the efforts. Click here for more information and map. If you are interested in traveling with a group from Chicago, email and put "Rebuild Efforts" in the subject line.

THE 8TH ANNUAL HEMP HOE DOWN ANNOUNCES PROCEEDS BENEFIT WHITE PLUME TIOSPAYE
Elkview Campground, near Sturgis, SD —March 2008
The 8th Annual Hemp Hoe Down (May 8-10, 2008) at the Elkview Campground near Sturgis, South Dakota, will be held as a benefit for the White Plume building project. This year's proceeds will be applied to help build the green home. The Hemp Hoe Down regularly features workshops regarding sustainability, and will be expanded this year to allow attendees the option to travel to Pine Ridge after the event to participate in the construction of the home. Donations will be contributed to the construction of the house, and volunteers and workers are needed. Engineers, contractors, and others involved in construction are encouraged to attend to learn this amazing building technique. Hemp will have to be imported from Europe for the Hempcrete portion of the house, which will be expensive. However, American Limetec has graciously offered to do the construction and workshop without a fee. Join us! Learn sustainable building techniques. Email Jeremy Briggs at jb@hemphoedown.com.

STANDING SILENT NATION WINS AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY AT SEDONA INT'L
Sedona, AZ —March 2 , 2008

Audiences at the Sedona International Film Festival recognized Standing Silent Nation as the Best Documentary (it tied with "Water Flowing Together"). Courtney Hermann and Suree Towfighnia were there to receive the award on behalf of the film. Over 200 people came to the screenings (3 festivals screenings and a home screening). The discussions were lively and many people rallied to bring the film to other audiences.


Rebuilding Efforts Continue on the White Plumes' Temporary House, February 2008,
photo: Matt Rankin

UPDATE TO WHITE PLUME FIRE AND DONATIONS DRIVE
Chicago, IL —February 18, 2008

During January and February all donations to Prairie Dust Films and proceeds from the Standing Silent Nation DVD are going to Debra and Alex White Plumes’ fire relief efforts. As of this date, we’ve raised over $750 for the White Plumes. Many of you have written, stopped us in the halls of work, and lamented your desires to help…the time is now! Since the fire, the White Plumes (Deb, Alex, seven grandkids, and daughter Rosebud) have lived in a hotel in Kyle, SD, while the rebuild on a temporary house continues (they will move into the temp house any day now). Resources are being gathered to rebuild a permanent, hemp/alternative house this spring and summer.
Meanwhile, the work of the White Plumes continues… Although EVERYTHING was lost in the fire (think about that for a minute: all your work, clothes, pictures, research, records for the past 20 years, toys, memories, beadwork, sacred shirts and dresses, computers, beds, etc), Debra and Alex have carried on their important sovereignty and land preservation work. Debra (whose office desk is an ironing board!) is currently working on her defense of tribal lands under threat of uranium mining, mining that would pollute the water table and render the land useless. Alex accepted a consulting position for Dragonfly Industries of New Mexico and will travel this spring to several countries in Africa, where he will spend a few months training others how to grow industrial hemp.
Your generous donations can be sent directly to: Debra White Plume PO Box 71 Manderson, SD 57756
Please buy your DVD or make a donation today. Thanks.

WHITE PLUME FAMILY LOSE HOME IN FIRE
Manderson, SD — December 21, 2007

On December 21st around 9AM, Debra White Plume woke up to a fire in their family home-- the home they built from the ground up on their land. The home was a cherished place that emanated with their love and spirit. The White Plumes need donations to help rebuild. Please see below for ways you can help.
Alex wrote in an email:
We are all alive,and coming out of shock now. Thank you for your prayers and support, we want to remain on the land.  We appreciate the generosity of everyone but we cannot accept donations of old clothes. We are going to rebuild and need financial support. Every penny will be appreciated...  The house burned to the ground so we are starting now to work to clear the rubble and prepare to rebuild.  alex.
All proceeds from the sales of Standing Silent Nation through February will go directly to the White Plume family. Please buy your copy today or make a generous donation--nothing is too large or small.
Send your check or money order to: Alex White Plume, PO Box 71, Manderson, SD 57756
We appreciate your support of the project and any help in spreading the word.

ON THE ROAD WITH STANDING SILENT NATION
Chicago, IL— October 2007

Prairie Dust Films is pleased to announce the beginnings of its outreach initiative. We are taking the film on the road to your local school, university, library, community center or institution. Recent visits include: American Studies courses at Niles North High School in Skokie, IL; American Indian Centers in NYC; Community Centers in Portland, Oregon; and film collectives in Baltimore, Maryland. Help us realize our outreach initiatives by encouraging your local organization to invite the filmmakers or the White Plumes for a visit. A guided screening provides a stimulated discussion around the themes presented in the film with the goal of creating the changes that need to occur around these issues.

IDA NOMINATES STANDING SILENT NATION FOR PARE' LORENTZ AWARD
Los Angeles, CA — October 11, 2007

Nominees in the 23rd Annual International Documentary Association (IDA) Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards competition were announced today. The winners will be feted in Los Angeles at the IDA Awards Gala Benefit on December 7, 2007, at the Directors Guild of America Theatre. The IDA Pare Lorentz Award will be presented to the filmmaker whose documentary best represents the activist spirit and lyrical vision of Pare Lorentz, who was the first recipient of the IDA Career Achievement Award. The 10 nominated docs are AMERICAN/SANDINISTA, GOOD MORNING DANGME, MADE IN LA, OPERATION HOMECOMING: WRITING THE WARTIME EXPERIENCE, RAPSODIA DO ABSURDO, RIBBON OF SAND, STANDING SILENT NATION, A WALK TO BEAUTIFUL, WHEN THE LEVEES BROKE: A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS, and WHITE LIGHT/ BLACK RAIN.

STANDING SILENT NATION RECEIVES HIGH TIMES' STONY AWARD FOR BEST DOC
Los Angeles, CA — October 13, 2007

Prairie Dust Films is pleased to announce that Standing Silent Nation has received the 2007 Stony Award for Best Documentary presented by High Times Magazine. The Stony will be presented at an award ceremony at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on October 13th, proceeds from the event go to support the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, NORML.

NATIONWIDE RELEASE ON PBS, New York, NY— July 3, 2007
Prairie Dust Films is honored to report that Standing Silent Nation has been included in the 20th anniversary season of the award-winning PBS documentary series POV/American Documentary. The documentary will be broadcast nationally on July 3, 2007, just in time for Independence Day. Please visit POV’s website to learn more about POV, to watch the trailer, or to set up an email reminder for the broadcast (http://www.pov.org).

DVD FOR SALE, Worldwide Web -- July 2007
Order your copy of Standing Silent Nation to share with others. Proceeds from the DVD sales will go to the outreach initiatives in support of the documentary. Please encourage your institution or library to purchase a copy of the documentary for educational use. Companion lesson plans and teaching guides are available in our Additional Resources section.

STANDING SILENT NATION SCREENS AT NAJA, Denver, CO -- June 2007
Suree Towfighnia and Courtney Hermann will be in Denver, Colorado to screen Standing Silent Nation for the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) conference on Friday, June 8th. For information on hosting a screening of the film in Denver during that weekend, please contact us at info@prairiedustfilms.com and put “Denver Screening” in the subject line.

MERCHANDISE FOR SALE, Worldwide Web -- May 2007

Hey, where’d you get that cool shirt?  You can now purchase Prairie Dust Films merchandise through Café Press at our webstore: www.cafepress.com/prairiedust (t-shirts, hats, baby clothes, stickers, and much more). Proceeds from the sales go directly to costs associated with distributing the film and to our work with the Lakota Media Project on Pine Ridge. 

MYSPACE PAGE, Worldwide Web -- November 2006
Standing Silent Nation has a myspace page up at www.myspace.com/standingsilent. Learn more about the film, upcoming events and share comments.

STANDING SILENT NATION RECEIVES OUTREACH GRANT, NY, NY--October 2006
Prairie Dust Films was awarded a grant for outreach and education in support of Standing Silent Nation from the Funding Exchange/Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media.  Named to honor singer, actor and civil rights activist Paul Robeson, the Fund supports media activism and grassroots organizing by funding the pre-production and distribution of social issue film and video projects and the production and distribution of radio projects, made by local, state, national or international organizations and individual media producers.

ALEX WHITE PLUME APPOINTED TRIBAL PRESIDENT, Pine Ridge, SD -- July 2006
Alex White Plume was appointed President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe after the suspension and impeachment of Cecilia Fire Thunder. Alex plans to run in the Tribal Elections this fall.

APPELATE COURT DECIDES WHITE PLUME CASE, St. Louis, MO -- May 17, 2006
United States v. White Plume
U.S. Court of Appeals Case No. 05-1654 and No. 05-1656
District of South Dakota
[PUBLISHED] [Beam, Author, with Bye and Gruender, Circuit Judges]
Civil case

The US District Court of Appeals ruled against the White Plume’s appeal (Case No. 05-1654). Stating:

District court did not err in finding defendants had violated the Controlled Substances Act by cultivating, without DEA registration, industrial hemp on federal trust land; industrial hemp is subject to the controls set out in the Controlled Drug Act; the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868 did not grant a treaty right to farm hemp; the Controlled Drug Act does not violate the defendants'substantive due process rights.

For the full opinion of the court, visit the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals website at: http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov. Or to listen to the audio recordings visit: ftp://8cc-www.ca8.uscourts.gov/OAaudio/2005/12/051654.mp3

WHITE PLUMES GET THEIR DAY IN COURT, St. Louis, MO – December 2005
A Standing Silent Nation crew traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to observe and film the appellant hearing for the White Plume family’s hemp case.  Ramona White Plume (Alex White Plume’s sister and a defendant in the case), her son Gabe White Plume and Tatanka White Plume traveled from Manderson, South Dakota, to represent the family. The team of lawyers was granted 20 minutes to present their argument for appeal before three judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to state their case.  The Judges validated the importance of the case by allowing five extra minutes to hear additional answers to their questions.  After the hearing, members of the press talked with the appellants and aired their stories in St. Louis and on the AP wires.  A decision on the appeal is expected within 6-9 months.

PRAIRIE DUST FILMS HIRES EDITOR, Chicago, IL  -- August 2005
Prairie Dust Films is pleased to announce the hiring of Sharon Karp to edit Standing Silent Nation.  Sharon Karp (proprietor of Media Monster in Chicago, IL) brings to the collaboration over 30 years of experience working in documentary. An original member of the collective at Kartemquin Films, Sharon’s documentaries are a testament her skill in crafting a beautiful story from a mound of footage. Among her award-winning films are the Emmy-nominated Silent Pioneers, Chicago Film Festival Silver Hugo Winner The Chicago Maternity Center Story, and Return of Navajo Boy, a Sundance Film Festival official selection. Her most recent projects include The Innocent, winner of the Crystal Heart Award for documentary feature, about people wrongly sentenced to death, and Burnt Oranges, winner of the Cine Golden Eagle Award, about state terrorism in Argentina during the 1970's. The documentary will be edited on the Avid Adrenaline system and mastered to Digibeta, DVD, DV, and Quicktime.  We look forward to working with Sharon.

LAKOTA MEDIA PROJECT SHAPES UP, Manderson, SD --  June 2005
Prairie Dust Films is collaborating with Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) on the Lakota Media Project, a project designed to provide technical video skills to youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  These workshops help youth use video for social change work in their community.  Their first project “The Sacredness of Water” is in production.