For Immediate Release:
The Thick Dark Fog, a feature documentary that tackles the psychological trauma of Indian boarding schools, available on DVD this March
|Native American Public Telecommunications, Inc. (NAPT) proudly announces the DVD release of The Thick Dark Fog, "Best Documentary" winner at the 2011 American Indian Film Festival, from filmmakers Randy Vasquez and Jonathan Skurnik. The film documents the life-long journey of Walter Littlemoon, a Lakota man who heals the wounds of his Indian boarding school experience so that he can move forward with his life.|
Co-produced by High Valley Films and NAPT, The Thick Dark Fog addresses the mandate of many Indian boarding schools in the mid-1900s which was to "kill the Indian and save the man."
"The children were not allowed to speak their language or express their culture or Native identity in any way," commented the film's producer, Jonathan Skurnik, "How do you confront something like that?"
Confronting his past is exactly what Littlemoon had to do in order to heal himself and his community. Like many Native Americans, Walter acted out his unresolved Indian boarding school trauma through alcoholism and domestic violence.
Walter's wife, Jane, encouraged him to talk about his past with professionals. Jane also aided in Walter's decision to write a book and publish his memoirs so that he could help his estranged children understand why he struggled so much as a father. However, when Walter revisited his Indian boarding school memories, he found it nearly impossible to continue writing the book. Despite the struggles, at age 67, Walter's book entitled, They Called Me Uncivilized: The Memoir of an Everyday Lakota Man from Wounded Knee was published. In the book and film, Walter explains that he did not have a name for the pain and confusion that he felt, so he called it "the thick, dark fog."
"Like so many, I have lived a life blocked by fear, led by fear and governed by fear that was created in those childhood days," stated Littlemoon.
"Walter's mission was to let other Native folk around the country know that they can deal with what happened to them at the boarding schools--those that had a traumatic experience like he did," said the film's director/producer Randy Vasquez.
Despite the impact of the Indian boarding schools on Native American communities across the U.S., their impact on Native culture and history has been largely withheld from America's mainstream Native American narrative. "Here was the legacy of oppression that was on par with slavery that American children don't learn about in school," added Skurnik.
As time has passed, more positive accounts have surfaced from Native Americans about their boarding school experiences such as being saved from poverty and making life-long friends. However,The Thick Dark Fog tells one man's story of healing from the destructive aspects of the Indian boarding school experience and how he gave back to his community.