Producer/Director Keri Pickett with Winona LaDuke. Environmental activist, rural economist and author Winona LaDuke travels to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota to oppose the Dakota Access pipeline which will bring fracked oil from the Bakken to refineries in Illinois and beyond.

Director’s Statement

When I first met activist Winona LaDuke on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation, we were both 25 years old, and I could never have predicted the ways she would eventually impact my life and path as a photographer and filmmaker. Because of my curiosity about Winona’s life, I have experienced the indigenous view of environmental justice on this planet, which the Ojibway call “Turtle Island.” Documenting Winona’s quest for environmental justice and personal pursuits, from protecting wild rice to riding horses started with filming one ride and it has grown to cover the birth of a movement.

In 2013, when I read that an oil pipeline carrying fracked oil was coming though her reservation, I knew that I had to be there to document the response. Following her has been a crash course in governmental regulatory processes, historical trauma and treaties, and adverse impact of extreme energy extraction on Native Americans. Her support for building tribal sovereignty and honoring treaty rights have been an inspiration to my artist’s goals to create socially relevant, meaningful work. I value people who change the world by their presence, therefore I’m interested in Winona’s multi layered opposition to Big Oil, her political participation and direct actions, as well as her traditional spiritual practices.

Because of our long history, Winona grants me close access. I feel destined to share her unique story. For the most part, I work solo