I guess for me a good story is about discovery. But how do we hear about good stories and who and what decides what we get to hear, read, watch and share? Who controls the media channels and who says yes – that is a good story, an important story, since the criteria for an important story often changes based on your society, culture, family plus your own life experience. Many people feel that the only valid voice is the voice of experience. Everyone is a storyteller of sorts, but history is found through ‘records’, and the small stories get lost without an individual doing the work. Journalists are paid professionals who are trained to know a good story and to then share a good story. Kevin McKiernan’s background in radio and print journalism brings his first person account of the events of 1973 together with his AMAZING footage. The U.S. government forbade journalists from being embedded with the Native community and Kevin risked his life by documenting the two month occupation from the inside perspective. His film: “Wounded Knee: A Line in the Sand is an eyewitness account of the American Indian Movement’s 1973 armed occupation of Wounded Knee and an exploration of how the long siege of that historic village changed Indian Country.” I am sure he will make an important film. He is raising money on Kickstarter and I gave at the 30 dollar level.
I met Kevin McKiernan through his intimate and powerful photographs from the 1973 Occupation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, before I met the man. My photographs from the Heart of the Earth Survival School, the 20th Anniversary of the occupation at Wounded Knee and other images were also included in the exhibit “I’m Not Your Indian Anymore, A Photographic History of the American Indian Movement’, at the All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013 and so I saw his work during the installation of the show. Wow. He was there for the largest military occupation in North America – since the Civil War. The history of AIM cannot be told without looking at the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 and then the occupation in 1973. The exhibition drew thousands of visitors and there were many cool events around the show. Organizer Clyde Bellecourt spoke and introduced Kevin was along with a number of speakers including Bill Means, Maddona Thunderhawk and Larry Leventhal.