“Warrior Women” Explores Issues and Activism

Jack Jensen, Contributor


On October 5th, over 100 people of all ages and backgrounds gathered in Sateren Auditorium for a showing of  Warrior Women. The film was directed by Elizabeth Castle and is part of a Native American film series in the Twin Cities. This was the series’ 17th year.

Warrior Women is a documentary that remembers the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, an activist and leader of the 1970s American Indian Movement. Thunder Hawk strategically repositioned Native activists’ children in what are known as “We Will Remember” survival schools as a Native alternative to government-run education; her daughter, Marcy Gilbert, is one of her students. Together, Marcy and Madonna fought for Native rights. In present time, Marcy is a mother herself and is in the forefront of many Indigenous issues. She protests the environmental destruction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and advocates for Indigenous cultural values.

This film explores the intersectionality of racism, sexism, environmental issues, food sovereignty, colonial oppression, spirituality, and other issues that Indigenous Americans face. The story is told in a circular Indigenous style of storytelling and shows how activist legacies are passed down and changed through generations, especially in the context of a colonialist government that bathes Native resistance in force and violence.
After the showing of Warrior Women, a Q&A was held with director Elizabeth Castle and activist Marcy Gilbert. Audience members asked the women questions about the film, their struggles, and other projects that they are working on.

Elisa Marubbio, Professor of American Indian Studies here at Augsburg, hosted the event. Marrubio explained that this is “the only continuous, free, Native American film series in the Twin Cities.” She mentioned that this event is important to Augsburg and its students because it “offers Augsburg students the ability to connect with Native American activists and filmmakers they might not have the opportunity to connect with, and they can do it in a safe space to ask questions and learn. The film also allows non-Native students to support Native American students at Augsburg.”

If you’re looking for more ways to support Indigenous folks, you can donate to Warrior Women’s website at warriorwomenfilm.com or follow them on social media with the tag @warriorwomenfilm.

This article was originally published in the October 11, 2019 issue.