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Synopsis: The story of why the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations of Native Americans) are a “Sunka Wakan Oyate” (Horse Nation), demonstrating their philosophy and bringing together traditional and contemporary songs, stories, and teachings.

“We Are A Horse Nation” documents the relationship(s) among the Oceti Sakowin (Lakota, Dakota, Nakota) peoples and the Sunka Wakan Oyate (Horse Nation). The voice and perspective for the film is shared by the peoples living throughout the Ikce Oyate (Common People). Stories, History, Traditional Horse Songs and Culture tell the story of how people across the Lakota, Dakota & Nakota lands are bringing the Horse back in to the center of their ways of life. Focusing on the healing provided by the Horse Nation, “We Are A Horse Nation” is intended to provide a positive picture of life among the Lakota, Dakota & Nakota, and pays respect and honors their (Oceti Sakowin) relatives of the “Horse Nation”.

“We Are A Horse Nation”film played at the Laemmle “Music Hall” Theatre, Beverly Hills, CA in November 2014

Director: Keith Braveheart & Jim Cortez


Native American Horses




English, Souix

Run Time

105 minutes

Directed by

Keith Braveheart
Jim Cortez

Director's Statement

Keith Brave Heart says the idea for the “Horse Nation of the Oceti Sakowin” art exhibit began with his film “We Are a Horse Nation”. He says that project began with the elders.

“Well…it all stems back to inspiration from hearing tribal elders tell a story about the horse and spirituality and its dynamics as far as place within our traditions,” recalls Brave Heart.

The horse’s place within those traditions ranges from use for travel and in combat to ranch animals and in rodeo competitions. This horse is also now used for therapy…especially among the youth.

Brave Heart traveled to reservations across the region to obtain stories about the horse from men and women, children and elders for his film.


Director's Bio

“There is No Lakota Word for Art. I am only doing what I was born to do.”

BraveHeart was one of 28 Lakota artists from around the country to be selected as part of an exhibit at the Journey Museum & Learning Center in Rapid City in March. Hosted by the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), the exhibition will show works about the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.

BraveHeart grew up in the small town of Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota. He developed a passion for art in high school. From there, he went to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He finished his master’s of fine arts in painting at University of South Dakota (USD).

Kbhartwork@gmail.com // KeithBraveheart.com

BraveHeart calls himself a contemporary or modern native artist. His art takes a strong influence from his Native American cultural background. It is important for him to see what happens during that process, leaving it open for things to shift or change around, allowing time for chance to happen.

BraveHeart has spent his time working with young Native American artists through the Oscar Howe Summer Art Institute, and annual art program at USD. Native American students in grades 11 through 12 are given the chance to demonstrate their skills and work with professionals from the area, going on field trips to local museums and cultural facilities.


EQUUS Film Festival - USA - 2014


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