In their Wounded Knee, South Dakota home, Walter Littlemoon looks at the book his wife, Jane Ridgway, helped him write over the course of four years. “Something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t function like what I thought a human being should.” The words he used to describe his problem became the title of a documentary. “I didn’t know the medical words. So I called the problem what I knew it to be: the thick dark fog.” (Used with permission/Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Documentary filmmaker Jonathan Skurnik listens to Walter Littlemoon at Walter's house in Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Littlemoon is the focus of “The Thick Dark Fog,” which are the words he used to describe memories he blocked of years about the abuse he received in a federal Indian boarding school. (Used with permission /Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Unfortunately, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the government often actively suppressed Indian culture by banning certain spiritual practices on reservations. It was only in 1978, with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, that the government formally established a policy to protect Native American Sacred Sites and traditional forms of worship.
In federal Indian schools, children were often not allowed to be Indians – to express their Native culture or identity in any way was to risk being severely humiliated or abused. Many Native Americans lived with this trauma well into adulthood. More than 100,000 Native American students attended these schools from 1879 to the present. Although a few of the schools still exist, attendance is no longer mandatory.
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Dr. Joe Leonard presents Clarissa Hoffman and Marcel Picotte Sr. with a housewarming plant personally provided by Maxine Moul, Nebraska State Director.
Now is the Time…and the Marcel Picotte Sr. family saw the opportunity and went for homeownership! Dr. Joe Leonard, USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for Tribal Relations at USDA, joined Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul and South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and staff for a National Homeownership Month event at the Picottes’ family of five home in Winnebago, Nebraska. Read more »