May 08, 2007

Adam Beach on Bury My Heart

Interview with Adam BeachHBO: And the legacy of this assimilation has had a lasting impact on American Indian peoples to this day, hasn't it?

Adam Beach: Absolutely. One of the things I want people to understand with this film is that the tragedy of Indian people across North America still exists. You know, everybody wonders why we are the way we are today. There's so much that comes from this story. I want people to understand how in the late 1800s, the government and the churches established residential schools, boarding schools to rid the Indian, to bring them into society, and to destroy their culture and tradition.

And if you can imagine people trying to tell you being Indian is bad, is wrong--your culture, your tradition is dealing with the devil. It affects my generation, why is my world so much more of a struggle? It's because after a hundred years of this manipulation of 'you're not a good person,' it really affects us.

Our generation is starting to understand that we have to rid ourselves of this subconscious mentality that you're a bad person. That's gonna take time. But I've come to understand where the pain comes from in living on a reservation, at being corralled onto a little piece of land. A lot of the generation that I speak for now are just starting to come out of it, to say, we are proud, we are a strong people. We have traditions that could teach the world how to relate with Mother Earth, how to relate with themselves, to the animals, to plants, to a stone, to the trees. I could go on.

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