|Photo: Debra White Plume, Oglala Lakota, in the film, “We Love Being Lakota,” which evolved into the film, “Spaces of Exception.”|
MONTREAL — The film Spaces of Exception revealing the atrocities and genocide of Native people — Lakota, Navajo, and Mohawk — and of Palestinians — was shown in Montreal at McGill University. It is here at McGill that Mohawk Mothers have an ongoing court battle to search for graves of Native children at the hospital where the CIA conducted MK-Ultra torture experiments.
Matt Peterson and Malek Rasamny, who co-edited The Mohawk Warrior Society: A Handbook on Sovereignty and Survival, directed the feature-length documentary film Spaces of Exception.
The filmmakers said, “Profiling the American Indian reservation alongside the Palestinian refugee camp, Spaces of Exception was filmed from 2014 to 2017 in Arizona, New Mexico, New York, and South Dakota as well as Lebanon and the West Bank. It is an attempt to understand the significance of the land—its memory and divisions—and the conditions for life, community, and sovereignty.”
|‘Spaces of Exception’ Standing Rock, Oceti Sakowin Camp, water protectors resisting Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.|
Filmmaker Matt Peterson said ‘Spaces of Exception’ includes the Dine’ battling relocation because of Peabody Coal at Black Mesa, the Mohawk Warrior Society and the people of Palestine.
“Spaces of Exception features interviews with members of the American Indian Movement, the Mohawk Warrior Society, and Diné families resisting displacement on Black Mesa, as well as members of Fatah, Palestinian environmental and media activists, autonomous youth committees, and the families of political prisoners and martyrs.”
“Once she heard about our project she was excited to meet and talk with us, and from that first trip we made the short video We Love Being Lakota with Ojibway artist Adam Khalil,” the filmmakers said.
“The video became something of a calling card to introduce and explain our project and approach. As we continued traveling, meeting people, making and showing short films, it became easier and easier.”
We Love Being Lakota is the first in a series of videos and texts from our documentary project The Native and the Refugee, connecting the struggles taking place on Indian reservations in the United States with those in Palestinian refugee camps in the. Middle East.
Olowan says in the film, “For us, as young Tokalas, we don’t wanna be stuck in the waiting process, waiting for a handout, waiting for something to go our way. Waiting, waiting, that’s what Fat Taker did was he trained us to wait, trained us to stand in line.”
“Watch out. Join or get the hell out of the way.”
The filmmakers said, “RIP Olowan Sara Martinez (1974-2022), who was instrumental in inviting us to film at both Pine Ridge and Standing Rock, and who appeared in our films We Love Being Lakota (2015), Indian Winter (2017), and Spaces of Exception (2019). She was a brilliant, eloquent, inspiring, courageous, and incredibly strong woman who will be greatly missed.”
|‘Spaces of Exception’|
The “Spaces of Exception” event at McGill University was sponsored by Stasis- groupe d’enquête sur le contemporain, GRIP UQAM and the Critical Media Lab.
We Love Being Lakota Adam Khalil, Matt Peterson, Malek Rasamny, 2015, 12 min
This video was taken during our December visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Home of the Oglala Lakota, “the fiercest warrior tribe on the continent”, the film takes a meditative look at Lakota identity in the face of US colonialism, and their relationship to the sacred land they have been pushed out of after two centuries of warfare and theft.Men’s Council of the People of the Way of the Longhouse
Adam Khalil, Matt Peterson, Malek Rasamny, 2015, 12 min
Taking place on the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne–on the borders of New York, Ontario and Quebec–this video juxtaposes footage of a special January gathering at their longhouse, featuring elder Paul Delaronde; archival footage of the Mohawk Warrior Society; and shots of the polluted, decaying industrialized remains surrounding their territory.INAATE/SE/ (excerpt)
Adam and Zack Khalil, 2015, 10 min
“Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil (both Ojibwe) provide a raw take on their ancestral community within the Sault Ste. Marie area — documenting the harmony and debauchery of the Indigenous experience today. This experimental film, now in the works, juxtaposes the voice of the romanticizing settler with contemporary Ojibwe perspectives.” — Gloria Bell, First American Art Magazine.
Ry Cooder reminds us everybody has a natural home provided by creation: