HEARTSONG is a true story that takes place during the depression on an Indian reservation and illuminates the redeeming power of will and spirit, when children are forced into an oppressive way of life and treatment through bigotry and cultural genocide. This is their story and HEARTSONG. For nearly a century, American Indian children suffered at the hands of Government sanctioned Boarding Schools on Indian Reservations. Run by various religious denominations, American Indian children became the victims of a silent, but deliberate genocide. Nevertheless, they stood strong and courageous while facing adversity head-on--and, against all odds--they retained what their captors could not forcibly remove. . .their indomitable will and spirit.
Sonny Skyhawk has established the Heartsong Foundation, a 501(3)(c) non profit organization. All profits from HEARTSONG, will go to benefit existing survivors and abused or neglected American Indian children who are descendants of boarding school survivors. The effects of that experience did not end with the closing of those schools and funding will cover the costs associated with crisis counseling, life management, medical care and more.
I responded to this posting on Indianz.com as follows:
How will Heartsong be different from Older than America, another boarding-school film that's about to debut?
Haven't several Native actors or writers produced independent films already? I'm thinking of people such as Chris Eyre, Sherman Alexie, Valerie Red-Horse, Sheila Tousey, Gary Farmer, Joanelle Romero, Shonie De La Rosa, Sterlin Harjo, and Randy Redroad. I'm not clear on how Sonny Skyhawk qualifies as the "first."
Do we really need a Native movie titled Heartsong? Wasn't this the title of a Smurfs or Care Bears special a decade or three ago? Could it possibly sound more touchy-feely and New Age-y?
Do we really need another movie bemoaning the tragic fate of Indians? Does Skyhawk really think middle America will sit still for a painful history lesson? For more on this point, see Too Many Serious, Sad Stories.