Controversial Video Set on Rez Depicts Drug Use, Violence and Sundance

ICTMN Staff
12/5/13

A music video (below) for the tune "Alive," by UK drum-n-bass artists Chase & Status and directed by Josh Cole is attracting attention in Indian country for its subject matter. The clip depicts young Natives living on a reservation who struggle with crack addiction and commit crimes to fund their habits. After an epiphany, the young man who is the main character of the video is seen in a sweat lodge and participating in a sundance ceremony.

Now, Cole is under fire from critics on Twitter who feel that the video exploits the usual media narrative about reservation life ("poverty porn," as it's sometimes been called) or cheapens the sundance ceremony by depicting it. Cole argues that the video was made with the consent and help of Blackfeet Natives on the rez in Browning, Montana, where it was filmed.

The video's YouTube page includes a note expressing "thanks to the whole Blackfoot Nation and The Crazy Dogs Society for making us feel at home" as well as credits for the cast, which appears to consist largely (if not fully) of Native actors.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page

POST A COMMENT

Comments

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
i want to know who thought this was controversial....and who are the ones think this is porn....of some sort......this is a reality check on what is really going on....around the blackfeet reservation......i live here....and we see the war is very strong with use of drugs.....with the younger generation..and adults......this was a powerful statement.....to many out there in indian country......if the ones thought this was a out of statement video.....then i want to know....are they from browning?......this issue is with many other tribes....and i feel this was a wake up call to many out there......however it takes some from twitter to under fire the real meaning of what this video....was ment to say......seek inside the heart....and u will see what we all see......not jst a drug...video....but a powerful video......people stood up.....and wanted to view a point......not a backstap to negative.....

Diana Melting Tallow's picture
Diana Melting Tallow
Submitted by Diana Melting Tallow on
As a 21 year old Blackfoot woman from both Siksika nation & Browning Montana, I have to say that this video is a beautiful piece of artwork. I believe that, just like the church and other religions and social norms, that now in this day and age its unnecessary to comply by ancient standards that are just impossible to meet. There are white people who want to know and learn and understand, out of Respect for our people, not because they are nosey, or see us as pitiful, or to sabotage us. We have to support the non natives that support us. and keep ourselves open minded aswell, especially in this time and during our fights with Idle no more and all of the surrounding protests and issues. It will Strengthen us enough to gain the motivation to GET our culture back. instead of seeing it as completely lost. because it surely is not, and this video is a BEAUTIFUL example of that.

BLACKFEET REGULATOR's picture
BLACKFEET REGULATOR
Submitted by BLACKFEET REGULATOR on
THIS IS TRASH, IT DOES NOT DEPICT THE TOTAL ABSOLUTE TRUTH ABOUT THE BLACKFEET TRIBAL PROGRAMS PEOPLE HELP THEIR FAMILY UTILIZE THE RESOURCES FOR THEIR ADDICTIONS IN FAVORING THE ONES THAT GO OUT AND SHIT THEIR PANTS MANY TIMES! ALSO, THE TREATMENTS FAMILY OR EVERY OTHER PROGRAMS FAMILY ARE RUNNING AROUND ABUSING PEOPLE, SPONGING OFF OF THE BLACKFEETS KINDNESS!

Marlene Bradshaw's picture
Marlene Bradshaw
Submitted by Marlene Bradshaw on
Its true to life. Its not just music its art. We need to save our children. The drugs they keep pushing are getting worse and worse. And from the few comments I read did no one notice at the end he was shot by his friend. He rode his horse took off his shirt and there was blood from where he was shot ?

patty.grant@yahoo.com's picture
patty.grant@yah...
Submitted by patty.grant@yah... on
What a powerful video that depicts the truth in the life of addiction and poverty. I want to thank those who created this message is it puts truth in its finality in so many aspects. Even beyond that it protrays truth in our spiritual realm and hope for all of who know the depths of despair. It shows no matter what there is hope if we access what God continues to give us daily through our ceremonies. Although we are not promised tomorrow God is with always. I think this message should be seen by all natives as it is the truth for so many Natives and it gives hope to all who see it. Thank you Creator for those who created this message.

ANGELENA CAMPOBASSO's picture
ANGELENA CAMPOBASSO
Submitted by ANGELENA CAMPOBASSO on
The message is clear..............our young beautiful Native people are using these awful drugs on the reservations. It shows them being lost, then through tradgedy and loss, to be found again through traditional healing, healing of the soul. Great way to show the way back, but he tries to make his wrongs right, and still pays for it..............our pasts can always catch up to us. The message of healing through traditional ways was great here. It all boils down to "choices," and know the Creator did not put you here on this earth to do drugs! You are here for a much bigger purpose!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
you know what sometimes the week need someone to help them, i am n8v ojibwe from the turtle mountains and i am speaking for us on a daily basis. our voice hasnt been heard on such a scale in quite some time, or when it is no one wants to admit how hard we really have it. try not to get into the mental or physical sides of what happen its so scary it sounds untrue.

Nosila's picture
Nosila
Submitted by Nosila on
But he dies at the end, right? His old "friend" must have shot him. Or am I seeing it wrong?

NIMKIIKWE's picture
NIMKIIKWE
Submitted by NIMKIIKWE on
Dear Chase and Status , I admire the time it took to work with the people to show the world the truths of what the people are faced with I have read the controversy and I am proud that you have shown the realities of life, I am an Anishnawbe kwe ( FIRST NATIONS WOMAN)from Ontario my nation is Ojibway , life for some is exactly what you have shown and there will always be critics where there is demonstration of ceremony , the teaching I have is, TO KEEP IT SHORT, cermonies, is the path that will heal people from the paths of violence and substance abuse and self destruction, anyone who can not see the true felt intent of why you have created this may not ever understand , but the people of the Anishnawbek nation some will feel honoured you have created this , Miigwetch, Thank You, Merci THERE IS HOPE, IF YOUR INTENTIONS ARE GOOD THAT ALL THAT MATTERS

wilfred Steele 's picture
wilfred Steele
Submitted by wilfred Steele on
awesome

Anita Roman's picture
Anita Roman
Submitted by Anita Roman on
Wow, this really hit home... The Sundance portion was hard to watch, because my grandmother instilled in me the sacredness of this ceremony and sacrifice. But this is not my tribe and so I pass no judgement. The reality of this video was too close to home. I was that guy... Then, after loss and anger, I went to my elders and asked for help. Through prayer, I found that red road... Our young ones watch rich people without sense of culture and are reminded of what they do not have. They should be shown the beauty of our feathers and our prayers and that we are great...

wilfred steele 's picture
wilfred steele
Submitted by wilfred steele on
I was there seen the hate and I see it in there eyes Im a full blooded Apache we are losing our kids I live on the rez all my life it hurts not 2 do nothing

wilfred steele 's picture
wilfred steele
Submitted by wilfred steele on
I was there seen the hate and I see it in there eyes Im a full blooded Apache we are losing our kids I live on the rez all my life it hurts not 2 do nothing

wilfred steele 's picture
wilfred steele
Submitted by wilfred steele on
I was there seen the hate and I see it in there eyes Im a full blooded Apache we are losing our kids I live on the rez all my life it hurts not 2 do nothing

Roy Fabian's picture
Roy Fabian
Submitted by Roy Fabian on
As North American First Nations we are people of the land. By living so closely with the land we the first nations developed our integrity, languages, cultures, and capacities. The is our power. the ceremonies developed from the land is our healing methods. We just need to return to the land to strengthen our integrity which is the integrity of the land.Everything else will fall into place once we strengthen our integrity.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
should be pills instead of crack...so many reservations in canada have an out of control pill problem...up to 80% of the reserve is hooked on pills

Jennifer Buckhout's picture
Jennifer Buckhout
Submitted by Jennifer Buckhout on
I don't think this video is negative at all, it depics real life and an overcoming of the battles we all face everyday.

Jennifer Buckhout's picture
Jennifer Buckhout
Submitted by Jennifer Buckhout on
I don't think this video is negative at all, it depics real life and an overcoming of the battles we all face everyday.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is a sad life for many of our native youth... I only object to sundance scene (as an Arapaho). It took losing a lot of people close to me to scare me into a better way of living my life.

Kristin Gentry's picture
Kristin Gentry
Submitted by Kristin Gentry on
Beautiful and powerful. I am in full support!! Keep standing up for using our traditional ways to heal our people.

Luce Bélanger's picture
Luce Bélanger
Submitted by Luce Bélanger on
So touching, so real, its time to reach out to all the children and work at reconnecting with Mother Earth through ceremonies.

Luce Bélanger's picture
Luce Bélanger
Submitted by Luce Bélanger on
So touching, so real, its time to reach out to all the children and work at reconnecting with Mother Earth through ceremonies.

Glen Douglas's picture
Glen Douglas
Submitted by Glen Douglas on
These are young people reaching out and telling it like it is. Yes they didn't need to film those ceremonies (lack of traditional teachings) but the message is loud and clear "We need help!"

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Of course..had a feeling it would be this tribe of people to show these ceremonies on tv...young dumb kids always wait for something bad to happen to straighten out

Nancy Summers's picture
Nancy Summers
Submitted by Nancy Summers on
Thank You for sharing. I will pass this on in the hopes of saving a life, and to help our younger generations to understand that there is another way.... Our way... The way of the Ancestors.

Missie kay's picture
Missie kay
Submitted by Missie kay on
yea the video is messed up but that fact is that you cant ignore the fact that its truly happening... like that say if you can t take the heat get out of the kitchen to all my native brother and sister.. We need to pray and help our young get past this... God bless my son who has to live in this time of hate and drugs.

Pages

130