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Standing Silent Nation


18 June 2008

7456 ḵing gan

What does a family have to endure to create a future for itself? The documentary Standing Silent Nation, chronicles the efforts of a Lakota family to develop a sustainable economy on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Because the land is unsuitable for most crops, the Alex White Plume and his family put their hopes in industrial hemp, a hardy fiber crop with a booming worldwide demand for its many products. When he planted, Alex was aware that, despite industrial hemp's absence of psychoactive properties, the Controlled Substances Act (1970) classifies the plant as an abusable drug, like heroin or marijuana. As a result, growing hemp is illegal in the U.S. However, the Lakota, through their treaties with the U.S. federal government, have maintained tribal sovereignty. Their tribal government passed an ordinance legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp on the Reservation. When federal agents raid the White Plumes' fields, the family and the Lakota Nation are swept into a struggle over the interpretation of historic treaties, control over tribal lands and ultimately, the sovereignty of the Lakota Nation. Standing Silent Nation tells the story of Alex White Plume’s efforts to pull his family out of poverty despite the obstacles of an irrational federal policy. The film transports the viewer into a world and a way of being that has nearly been erased from the general American consciousness.

Filmmaker: Suree Towfighnia

Filmmaker Contact:,

Producer's Name: Courtney Hermann

Year of Production: 2007

Distributor Information:

Prairie Dust Films and VisionMaker Video

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