Daughter of a Lost Bird - Featured image
Daughter of a Lost Bird - Featured image

Daughter of a Lost Bird

by Brooke Pepion Swaney
DAUGHTER OF A LOST BIRD follows Kendra, an adult Native adoptee, as she reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity.
2021  ·  1h6m  ·  United States
About the Film

“Lost birds” – a term for Native children adopted out of their tribal communities. Right after the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 became the law of the land, Kendra Mylnechuk Potter was adopted into a white family and raised with no knowledge of her Native parentage. This beautiful and intimate film follows Kendra on her journey to find her birth mother April, also a Native adoptee, and return to her Lummi homelands in Washington State. With a sensitive yet unflinching lens, director Brooke Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish) documents Kendra and April as they connect with relatives and navigate what it means to be Native, and to belong to a tribe from the outside looking in. Along the way, Kendra uncovers generations of emotional and spiritual beauty and pain and comes to the startling realization that she is a living legacy of U. S. assimilationist policy. By sharing a deeply personal experience of inherited cultural trauma, the film opens the door to broader and more complicated conversations about the erasure of Native culture and questions of identity surrounding adoption.

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
Woodstock Film Festival, Winner – NYWIFT Best Female Documentary Director
Woodstock Film Festival, Honorable – Best emerging filmmaker
Brooke Pepion Swaney
Executive Producer
Gita Saedi Kiely
Executive Producers for Vision Maker Media
Shirley K. Sneve, Francene J. Blythe-Lewis
Kristen Swanbeck
Laura Ortman
Associate Producers
Sky Hopinka, Susan Harness
Director of Photography
Zelmira Gainza
Impact Producer
Colleen Thurston
Kendra Mylenchuk Potter, April Kowalski, Sandy Henderson, Larry Mylnechuk, Tyler Potter, Sukha Potter, Lucian Potter, Scott Mylnechuk, Chadaskadum Witchtalum, Cheyanne Cooper, Lutie Hillaire, Adele Kinley, Lawerence Soloman, Ben Covington, Kristin Kinley, Jackie Jefferson, Julie Finkbonner, Della Finkbonner, Bob Finkbonner, Rita Jefferson, Terry Cross, Penny Hillaire, Leland Cooper, Patrick Jefferson
About the Director

Brooke Pepion Swaney

Brooke Pepion Swaney – Director & Producer
Brooke Pepion Swaney – Director & Producer

This film is Brooke’s first feature documentary. Most recently and notably she made the Blacklist’s Inaugural Indigenous List with TINDER ON THE REZ along with her co-writer Angela Tucker. She also produced BELLA VISTA (Rotterdam), SIXTY FOUR FLOOD (PBS & PBS Digital) and the podcast ALL MY RELATIONS with Matika Wilbur and Dr. Adrienne Keene. In 2019, she was selected to participate as a NATIVe Fellow at the European Film Market/Berlinale. She holds an MFA in Film from NYU. Brooke is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation and a descendent of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.