Holy Man is the story of Douglas White, an 88 year old Lakota Sioux medicine man from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, who spent 17 years in federal prison for a crime he did ...
See full summary »
Holy Man is the story of Douglas White, an 88 year old Lakota Sioux medicine man from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, who spent 17 years in federal prison for a crime he did not commit. During the making of this film, filmmakers uncovered new evidence of White's innocence and brought the case back to Federal Court. Holy Man offers a rare glimpse into the mysterious world of Lakota religion, their intimate connection to the land, and a provocative expose of the systemic injustice that Native Americans face in the criminal justice system. Written by
This is movie about two broad subjects: the ongoing, systematic injustice shown in formal settings toward indigenous people, and the temptation to engage in victimization. The treatment of Mr. White is an example of the injustice. The testimony of those family members who originally (and falsely) testified against him, but now recant that testimony, illustrates the second: de Debbil (the government) made me do it, I'm not responsible, I was only a child, and afraid. Connecting these two horrible subjects, in real life, is the havoc that generations of injustice and self-hatred, have wreaked on the families of native people. Although not for the faint of heart, some of the film is uplifting -- particularly what Mr. Arvol Looking Horse has to say. For viewers and readers unfamiliar with the history of indigenous people it may come as a happy surprise that our genuine leaders do not encourage resentment, but instead remind us to be aware of real history, to understand that what hasn't killed us will make us stronger. They prompt us to realize that you don't have to deny who you are in order to succeed in the new civilized world, and that in this life the main obligations are to protect the weak, to respect the earth and her people, and to find something or someone to enjoy each day. This is at the heart of the traditional spiritual teaching of such men as Mr. White and Mr. Looking Horse. Christianity may be the foundation of civilization, but the traditional spirituality does not prevent us from succeeding in the new civilized world, and keeps us from its downside. Mr. White died in prison, last year, but we don't have to. To Mr. White's grandsons, who now recant their childhood testimony, I have sympathy and hope this tragedy will strengthen them. We are all children, we are all afraid, but -- I shake my little pebble-filled turtle shell, young men -- it is better to "act out" or raise hell than to give in to bullies. Teach your children.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?