September 29, 2009 – “Standing Silent Nation” won the award for best Native documentary at the Cherokee Film Festival. The films shows a Lakota family’s attempt to grow industrial hemp as a viable economic development project on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota only to have it repeatedly destroyed by federal officials because of laws applying to marijuana production.

What does a family have to endure to create a future for itself? “Standing Silent Nation,”, features Alex White Plume and his Lakota family, who planted industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota after other crops had failed. They put their hopes for a sustainable economy in hemp’s hardiness and a booming worldwide demand for its many products, from clothing to food. Although growing hemp, a relative of marijuana, was banned in the U.S., Alex believed that tribal sovereignty, along with hemp’s non-psychoactive properties, would protect him. But when federal agents raided the White Plumes’ fields, the Lakota Nation was swept into a Byzantine struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights and common sense.

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