Beth Ferris ,
Pamela Roberts ,
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Contrary Warriors examines the impact a century of struggling for survival has on a native people.
Contrary Warriors chronicles the Crow Indians' century-long battle for survival. In spite of every effort by the U.S. government to assimilate the people and acquire tribal land, the crows have persisted -- their language, family and culture intact. They continue to live on their ancestors' land in what is now southeastern Montana, but like tribes everywhere, the Crows' future is a high-risk gamble.
This film brings the past into the present by focusing on the life of Robert Yellowtail, a 97-year old tribal leader whose courage and brilliance saved Crow lands and traditions. At four, Yellowtail was taken from his mother and sent to boarding school where it was forbidden to even speak Crow. He went on to teach himself law, and in 1910 began a seven-year battle before the U.S. Senate to save Crow lands. He succeeded and went on to spend 60 years shaping the course of the Crow tribe. The first Indian appointed Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent of his own tribe, Yellowtail used federal funds to restore traditions and bring back the buffalo. In his eighties, he was called on to unite and advise the tribe on the critical issue of coal development. Even today, Yellowtail speaks out for tribal autonomy and economic rehabilitation.
Intimate ceremonies, never before filmed, demonstrate the spiritual strength and ties to the lands that sustain the Crow people. The filmmakers spent three years with the Crows filming Contrary Warriors. The result is a moving, intimate film that reveals Crow life and history from the inside.
Other credits: Rattlesnake Productions Produced by Connie Poten and Pamela Roberts Co-Produced by Beth Ferris Edited by Jennifer Chinlund Director of Photography: Stephen Lighthill Original Music Composition: Todd Boekelheide Sound: Anne Evans Narration Written by Beth Ferris and Connie Poten Administrative Director: Pamela Roberts
"Contrary Warriors is a moving, sympathetic and at times uplifting portrait of the spirit of a people." --Salt Lake Tribune
"A marvelous portrait of the resilient Crow nation." --San Francisco Chronicle