Synopsis: In 1990 Congress passed a law known as The Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). American Indian Tribes in the nation fought for that law. In 1991 the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe became the first Tribe in the United States to request and return human remains of their ancestors from the Smithsonian Institution. The Way Home follows the journey the Tribe made from northeastern South Dakota to Washington D.C. and back again. The film joins the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate one year later for a memorial celebration. Interviews with elders, traditional leaders, akicita (warriors), Veterans, men and women of the tribe tell a story of unbelievable depth encompassing pain, courage, anger, tears, integrity and joy! The Way Home.
If I knew in the beginning what it would take to make this film, in terms of personal cost, strength and courage I would have to find, I would not make it. But the film is here. With my honor, the film is here. It is a film that made me more than a film I made. Lydia Whirlwind Soldier and Eric Haase are equal makers of this film. Tauna Soch, the writer and Aaron Ellison, the artist are equal makers of this film. The late Dan O’Toole, our editor is an equal maker of this film. Al Chidester, my friend and attorney is an equal maker of this film. Everyone who supported this film in thirty years along the way is an equal maker of this film because each person and thirty years is what it took for you to see it now. The late Frank Robinson, akicita, is an equal maker of this film. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and Akicita, the late Cliff Blue Dog, Elisa Crawford, Janet and Gerald Blue are equal makers of this film. Thanks extends far to the Black Hills Film Festival, that we can share The Way Home now.
Gemma Lockhart is CEO of Open Road Pictures, a small production company that has mainly served American Indian Tribes in the United States. She lived the first half of her life in the Black Hills of South Dakota serving as a TV and print journalist and filmmaker. She believes important stories are often quiet stories and many times take place where the crowds are not. Lockhart is currently based in Colorado where she has served on Denver’s American Indian Commission and as a founding board member of the Colorado Women’s Leadership Circles of Influence working to encourage bipartisan women’s leadership across the state. She holds a BA in English from Dartmouth College. Gemma is honored to have had her films selected at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, at the Haudenosaunee Film Festival in Fonda, New York and at the first Indigenous Summit of GEO, the Group On Earth Observations.