Native American Heritage Month: Where the Spirit Lives

Bruce Pittman · 1990
96min · digital

Only $5! Johnny Arnoux, a member of the Blackfoot confederacy from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana, suggested we show this film for Native American Heritage Month. He will introduce the screening.

Where The Spirit Lives is the uplifting story of Komi, a courageous young Blackfoot girl. Taken from her home on a remote Reserve by the Canadian Government to an English-speaking residential school, she is forced into a school uniform, re-named Amelia and forced to learn and speak only English. After being subjected to bullying, abuse, and lies she mounts a daring escape. Shot on location in the scenic Canadian Rockies, Where the Spirit Lives is a moving tribute to a young girl’s courage and indomitable spirit. The film was produced for television and screened at numerous film festivals, winning several "Canadian Emmys" for its direction, writing, and acting. Oscar-winning Indigenous musician Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote and performed the score.

Throughout the 17th-20th centuries, indigenous children in Canada and the United States were separated from their families and taken to Christian-run government schools with the purpose of eradicating Native culture. In 2021, researchers found nearly 1000 unmarked graves on the sites of former schools in Canada. The trauma caused by these schools has never been truly reckoned with by the U.S. or Canadian governments.

What can you do for Native American Heritage Month?