Wounded Knee (Nelson, 2009)

Director Stanley Nelson (perhaps best known for Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple ) delivers another great documentary.

Equal parts history lesson and civics lesson, Wounded Knee skillfully introduces archival footage without being trapped by it. Interviews from participants are intercut, many from participants in the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee. Though clearly sympathetic to the Native Americans, Nelson is not so married to one political agenda to be unable to see complexity. The first hand accounts of the partipants are interesting, but it is when the participants relate their childhood experiences at boarding schools seeking to assimilate them into white culture that the film can break your heart as well as stoke your indignation.

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