Photos by Kevin McKiernan

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From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock

Politics, Law and the Penal System, Native American, Government, American History, Civil Rights, Social Justice
Kevin McKiernan
89 minutes


World Premiere
Mill Valley Film Festival

Official Selection
St. Louis Int'l Film Festival


Director of Photography: Haskell Wexler


In 1973 a rookie reporter tries to cover armed members of the American Indian Movement who have taken over the historic village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Along the way he is threatened by vigilantes who oppose the takeover and believe the press is the enemy of law and order. After he defies a government news blackout and embeds with the militants, he is arrested by FBI agents. Forty years later, he meets a Yurok Indian fisherman in California, a man he unwittingly photographed during the 10-week occupation. The two travel back to the Dakotas and later to the pipeline protests on the Standing Rock Reservation, where they witness the legacy of 1970's activism in Indian Country. Meanwhile, the reporter launches a new investigation into the murder of his former roommate, a mysterious Canadian Native who took part in the Wounded Knee uprising. He butts heads with the FBI again, this time over the Bureau's alleged practice of 'snitch-jacketing' the Canadian woman as an informer. The story takes another unsettling turn when the reporter confronts the founders of the Indian movement with alleged ties to her killing, a decision that threatens to undermine his status as a trusted outsider.


Article: Let Leonard Peltier Go Free - The Independent by Kevin McKiernan



Kevin McKiernan has been a foreign correspondent for more than thirty years and he has reported from Central America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. His articles and photographs have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, Time and other publications. He lectures frequently at universities and he has appeared as a guest on a number of television programs, including the CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show. He recently covered the Iraq war, for ABC News, for extended periods in both Kurdish and Arab areas. Prior to that, he co-produced Spirit of Crazy Horse for PBS Frontline and he wrote and directed Good Kurds, Bad Kurds, the award-winning PBS documentary. His book, THE KURDS: A People in Search of Their Homeland was released by St. Martin’s Press in 2006. His film Bringing King to China premiered in 2011.

McKiernan graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a B.A. in English literature. He earned a JD from Northeastern University Law School in Boston and he practiced law in Massachusetts prior to his career in journalism. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.


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