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// Films // First Daughter and the Black Snake

First Daughter and the Black Snake

Keri Pickett / United States / 2017 / 94 ' / English - Ojibwe


Daniel Geiger
Keri Pickett & Fernanda Rossi
Keri Pickett
Nahko and Medicine for the People
Keri Pickett
Pickett Pictures

Awards & Festivals

Official Selection, Native Women in Film 2017
Winner, Best of Fest, Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Minnesota American Indian Stories & Storytellers Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Arizona International Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Duluth Superior Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Madeline Island Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Marfa Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Jacksonville Documentary Film Festival 2017
Official Selection, Red Nation Film Festival, On the Road 2018
Official Selection, Frozen River Film Festival 2018

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

This intimate portrait offers a window into the life and work of Winona LaDuke, a formidable economist, writer, agriculturalist, and fierce Indigenous politico.


The “Prophecy of the 7th Fire” says a “black snake” will bring destruction to the earth. We will have a choice of two paths. One is scorched, and one is green. For Winona (Ojibwe for “first daughter”), the “black snake” is oil trains and pipelines. When she learns that Canadian-owned Enbridge plans to route a new pipeline through her tribe’s 1855 Treaty land, she and her community spring into action to save the sacred wild rice lakes and preserve their traditional indigenous way of life.

Following her decision to fight Enbridge, Winona dreams that she is riding her horse against the current of the oil. Launching an annual spiritual horse ride along the proposed pipeline route, speaking at community meetings and regulatory hearings. Winona testifies that the pipeline route follows one of historical and present-day trauma. The tribe participates in the pipeline permitting process, asserting their treaty rights to protect their natural resources.

Winona is a daughter, mother, granny, and Executive Director of Honor the Earth, a native-led environmental justice organization. Winona’s mother, Betty, explains about she met Winona’s father, Sun Bear, and his traditional life of hunting, fishing, and gathering on Minnesota’s White Earth reservation. Tapping trees for syrup, harvesting the wild rice, sewing a jingle dress, defending the treaties, and tending her horses—Winona is living by her father’s values.

Winona and her son travel to Michigan on a tar sands resistance tour to an area “downwind” of Marathon’s tar sands oil refinery. Emma Lockridge and other activists reveal the health impact of living next to Marathon Petroleum in an area known as the “Sacrifice Zone.”

Winona joins with her tribe and others to demand that the pipelines’ impact on tribal people’s resources be considered in the permitting process. Winona, her community, and Emma bring their climate change concerns to Marathon Petroleum headquarters in Ohio, demonstrating with spotlights, bullhorn, drums, and song.

The colorful corn harvest provides food for the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Winona’s passion for sustainable food and energy sources follow the green path as she, her family, and community work for sustainable food and energy in order to keep the black snake in the ground. Following the competition of the 4th annual ride against the current of oil, Enbridge announces the cancellation of the Sandpiper pipeline, investing in the Dakota Access pipeline instead. Enbridge still plans to put a new Line 3 through the same wild rice tribal territory.


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