Dreamkeeper, Native American storytelling film, Saturday

Press release

Posted by on Wed, June 3, 2009

On Saturday June 6, The Visionary Edge will screen the 180 minute film Dreamkeeper.  Local shop-owner, Peter Welch of Arrowhead Framing, is the sponsor for the coastal screening of  this Emmy award-winning film for the community. The event will be co-hosted by and presented at the Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay. 

Dreamkeeper is not a film about the Native American tradition of storytelling. It is storytelling at its best. Dreamkeeper not only entertains and teaches, it serves as an important archive of stories from some of the major tribes in North America in a time when the oral tradition is in danger of dying out.   

The main character, a 100 year old grandfather, Pete Chasing Horse, is a storyteller, a keeper of the Dreams of his people. His grandson, Sean Chasing Horse, is a young man who lives only in the now. The wheel of one story turns and begins the pattern for another story. Another turn, another story, and so the wheels keep turning, and the tales keep spinning throughout the film. Yet they are all the same, one long continuous tapestry of tales that build lives, lessons, wisdoms, hopes, fears and a rich proud history. 

Saturday, June 6th. Doors will open at 6:30pm, event begins at 7:00 at the Community United Methodist Church, 777 Miramontes Street (at Johnston), HMB. The event is free to the community, however, donations are needed to cover screening expenses.  Call 650-560-0200 for information and reservations.  

Throughout this physical and spiritual journey, the tales roll out from Grandfather like slow thunder on a stormy afternoon. Sometimes the stories are directly and obviously connected to something happening in Shane’s life.  Sometimes the tales are told because Grandfather senses the Spirits at work around him, like the tales of Coyote and Iktomi the Spider, or She Crosses The Water, and Thunderspirit.

Whatever the reason for the telling, the tales themselves are vibrant and enthralling examples from a variety of Nations of the rich oral tradition that has endured against all odds to this very day. Most tales end with something like, "this is the story as I heard it from So-and-So, who heard it from So-and-So, who heard it from his father", which gives a sense of history and interconnectedness even to those who are hearing these stories for the first time. Grandfather even tells us the importance of telling these stories the same way every time, so the Power in them will stay strong. The Beauty that walks behind each tale shared reaches out with a powerful and loving hand to cradle the audience, gather us close, and whisper quietly these timeless lessons in our ears.

From the start, there is the feeling that the trip to the All Nations Pow-wow was just a means to an end. But what is it that Grandfather is trying to accomplish? Is he trying to pass on the stories to his grandson for future generations of the People? Is he attempting only to carry out his duties and obligations as an Elder and a Dream keeper? Does he want simply to tie up the loose ends of his life so he can pass on in peace? Or is Grandfather’s real goal to help Shane find a means to Heal the broken edges of his life so that he can walk a good Red Road? By the end of the film, the viewer will see that All of these are equally possible and equally fulfilled.

Dreamkeeper benefits from forthright scripting, a well-woven plot, a large and talented all-native cast, outstanding special effects, stunning cinematography, and an exemplary soundtrack. It is very rare to find a film that deals openly and honestly with the views or lives of Native Americans today. It is even rarer to find a film that offers us the chance to share in the wealth of the Native Nations oral traditions.

According to one reviewer, "This is not a documentary of life on a Reservation. There are many issues that are crushingly present in places like Pine Ridge Reservation. There are always enormous problems with drugs, alcohol, abject poverty, discrimination, violence, theft, and perhaps the most insidious…the loss of Hope and Tradition. We who live in the White world seldom give much thought to either the Native Nations’ position in society today, or their Traditions. How many of us are even aware that they are a sovereign Nation within the larger country of the United States of America? We are taught in school a bit about the history of these Nations and the shameful roles played by the white man (often times our own ancestors) in their physical, spiritual, and cultural decimation. Yet, we are taught these things as if they are all distant events with no connection to our lives now. Is it any wonder that there is a strong wave of anger, distrust and prejudice that rolls through the Nations? And despite all of this, one can find that there is also a willingness to accept us as distant family, to teach us their traditions and share with us their sacred wisdoms that have been held in trust by the Elders over many generations.

While Dreamkeeper does not emphasize the harsh realities, it does most definitely open a door to the loving Beauty and Wisdom of Native traditions. I, for one, firmly believe that we, the White Nation, are long overdue in realizing that our continued disregard for the Native Nations is a harmful bane to all of us. As in so many aspects of Life, if we only took the time to be Aware, then half the battle would already be won. Dreamkeeper is wonderfully gentle first step on a path to awakening Awareness that is suitable for all age levels. I highly recommend it to All My Relations."

Mark Takata will play native flute prior to the film, starting at 6:30.  Mark is a licensed Acupuncturist and received his Masters of Science from The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, San Francisco.  He is a Graduate and Assistant Facilitator at Kayumari Center for Healing and Spiritual Knowledge, and has a multi-faceted base in Resonant Sound Therapy including Native American Flute, Acutonics, and Sacred Chant.

Located in Half Moon Bay, The Visionary Edge produces events to inform, inspire, and empower us all to create a wiser, sustainable and more compassionate world.