In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian
Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation as a community of extended families. Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who cultivated a rag-tag gang of activist children-including her daughter Marcy-into the "We Will Remember" Survival Group as a Native alternative to government-run boarding schools. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both women are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for indigenous cultural values. Through their story, the film explores what it means to balance a movement with motherhood and how activist legacies are passed down from generation to generation in the face of a government that has continually met Native resistance with mass violence.
Elizabeth A. Castle (Director / Producer) Dr. Castle brings almost 20 years of experience as a scholar, activist, and media maker working in collaboration with Native Nations and underrepresented communities. Warrior Women is based on the research done for her book Women were the Backbone, Men were the Jawbone: Native Women’s Activism in the Red Power Movement. While completing her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, she worked as a policy associate for President Clinton’s Initiative on Race and in 2001 she served as a delegate for the Indigenous World Association at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. While working as an academic specialist for UC Berkeley’s Oral History Office, she received the University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Santa Cruz under the supervision of Professors Angela Davis and Bettina Aptheker. Dr. Castle was a professor in the Native Studies Department at the University of South Dakota and is the founder and Executive Director of The Warrior Women Oral History Project. Elizabeth Castle has numerous publications including “The Original Gangster: The Life and Times of Red Power Activist Madonna Thunder Hawk.” Warrior Women is Castle’s directorial debut.