First Daughter and the Black Snake

First Daughter and the Black Snake

Directed by Keri Pickett • 2017 • United States • 104'

The Prophecy of the 7th Fire says a black snake will bring destruction to the earth. We will have a choice of two paths. One is scorched, and one is green. For Winona (Ojibwe for “first daughter”) LaDuke—a formidable economist, writer, agriculturalist, and fierce Indigenous politico—that black snake takes the form of oil trains and pipelines.

When Winona learns that Canadian-owned Enbridge plans to route a new pipeline through White Earth Nation’s 1855 Treaty land in Minnesota, she springs into action with her community to save the sacred wild rice lakes and sustainable sources of food, and preserve traditional ways of life.

Following her decision to fight Enbridge, Winona dreams that she is riding her horse against the current of the oil. Launching an annual spiritual horse ride along the proposed pipeline route, speaking at community meetings and regulatory hearings, Winona testifies that the pipeline route follows the course of historical and contemporary trauma. The White Earth Nation demands to participate in the pipeline permitting process, asserting their treaty rights to protect their natural resources.

Winona’s journey takes her and her son to Michigan, “downwind” of Marathon Petroleum’s tar sands oil refinery, where activists reveal the health impacts of living next to an area known as the “Sacrifice Zone.” As Enbridge announces the cancellation of the Sandpiper pipeline, turning its investments toward the Dakota Access pipeline, Winona’s activism continues as Line 3 threatens to cross the same Treaty lands.

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First Daughter and the Black Snake
  • First Daughter and the Black Snake

    Directed by Keri Pickett • 2017 • United States • 104'

    The Prophecy of the 7th Fire says a black snake will bring destruction to the earth. We will have a choice of two paths. One is scorched, and one is green. For Winona (Ojibwe for “first daughter”) LaDuke—a formidable economist, writer, agric...