Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Documentary on the Spokane Indians in the War of 1858

Except for the one joker who comes on at minute eight, this documentary about the Spokane Tribe in the War of 1858 is quite good.

A little background: This documentary was funded by the Wellpinit School District and was approved by the Spokane Tribe. Varius Media made the film, which was directed by Trask McFarland.  It explicitly views the war from the point of view of the Spokane Indians, which is long overdue. Some of the details that come from the native experts who are interviewed are things I had not heard before. I was moved to hear Spokanes singing the death song that was first sung by a member of their tribe before Wright had him hanged. It is amazing that this song has been remembered and performed for 170 years.

My own involvement with the film was not extensive--I was interviewed for a couple of hours, out of which they used two snippets. Which is fine--the film maker put the native voices front and center, as they should. It is also good that they used my friend Don Cutler to frame the events of the war, as his new book on the conflict is great.

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