Grandmother Margaret of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers envisioned a modern horseback ride retracing the historic route of the tragic and heroic Cheyenne Exodus of 1878. On June 1st, six riders of diverse backgrounds and eight wild mustangs rescued from slaughter are embarking on this journey to fulfill the Grandmothers’ vision of mourning, healing, offering and forgiveness.
The Council has now seen that this unique voyage should be witnessed and co-written by as many as possible, as these riders cultivate the wisdom of the Earth, the horse spirit and the Cheyenne ancestors. Our team has been engaged to fulfill this incredible mission. We are going to create a feature-length documentary, THE RIDE HOME, as well as regular series of web-docs from the trail over the entire course of the ride. And we’re going to do it with your help! Because while we’re engaging our resources to pursue grants and funding from a broad spectrum of sources, the (ridiculously) short time line before the ride begins, means we need some generous hearts and not just a little bit of magic to get us started on strong feet and hooves.
Oh good! You’re still with us. This is actually the interesting part, mostly because, this just ain’t business as usual! Who, with four week’s notice, would agree to trail a pack of ponies for two months between Oklahoma and Montana and accept the responsibility of fulfilling the vision of a collective spiritual powerhouse of elders from indigenous traditions around the globe with no seed funding and no guarantee of fame nor fortune? Well, more details about our way-cool crew toward the bottom of the page, but first some serious name-dropping.
We are thrilled that The Ride Home is being given spiritual and tangible encouragement from a host of amazing sources. Colin (yes, that Colin Firth) Firth has endorsed the ride and expressed interest in narrating. And since our whole Kickstarter budget wouldn’t cover Mr. Firth’s day rate, he’s gonna do it for free! Preeminent modern Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, Skinwalkers, The American Experience) is already on board as an adviser and has committed his creative vision through completion. Dennis Banks (American Indian icon and co-founder of the 70’s social justice revolution, AIM) will be participating in the final portion of the ride and will be a featured interviewee. The Producers of Earthworks Films (Broken Rainbow, Big River Man, Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion) are also on board as advisers and mentors.
Name-dropping gets boring quickly, but what’s really important is the commitment our whole crew, these notable participants, and you feel to a wise woman’s vision, and the film and web videos that will illumine it. All of the men and women with ancestors indigenous to the American continents share a common legacy of false promise, unjust persecution, systematic stripping of culture and forcible removal not only from their homes, but their homeland. The Cheyenne Exodus of 1878 was one tribe’s unimaginable gamble in the face of extreme adversity and at the same time, a simple instinct – to return home. Retracing those 1,400 miles and reimagining the challenges, the hopes, and the horrors will be a powerful journey whose reach extends beyond one tribe, one race, or even one species. Every person has been touched by unfairness, whether simple or devastating. Acknowledging, the past, to move toward a clearer future is a universal necessity, that will be played out in grand scale in THE RIDE HOME.
There will be ceremonies, there will be song, there will be the visitation of sites both sacred and heavy with the memory of death. The riders and documentary crew, both, are a blend of Native, European-American and mixed-blood peoples. This alone will foster a multifaceted perspective, where no one tells another person’s story, and many unique stories are woven together in creating a tapestry whose colors and texture have yet to be discovered. All we know for sure is that when The Ride Home culminates with the arrival of the riders in Lame Deer, MT at the annual week-long gathering of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, it’s going to be a homecoming of epic proportions, for horses and riders alike.
Be sure to visit THE RIDE HOME website for detailed and emerging info on the route, the riders, the horses, and the Cheyenne tribe. No matter what level of offering you are able participate at, we want you all along as part of this journey. Stay in touch via our (just created) Facebook page and our (soon to be released) blog with our weekly video web series. Create video responses! Watching this ride unfold live, and joining the riders as they meet up with the 11th annual Grandmother’s Council, will be an amazing experiences from wherever we have the privilege to stand, and behold.
CREW & SUPPORTERS
Director and Producer Kristin Jordan is a producer, director, teacher and intrepid student of world culture. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, she discovered her love of storytelling in the late 1990s as Turner Entertainment’s first high school intern. With a B.S. and B.A. from CU Boulder, in journalism and ethnic studies with an emphasis in Native American people, and a Master's in Journalism from USC, Kristin has been inspiring others with her words, teachings and most recently her lauded documentary Maasai at the Crossroads. This intimate glimpse and powerful exploration of the modern world colliding with the ancient tradition of one of the last remaining tribes in Africa won Best Cinematography and third place for Best Feature Documentary at the Los Angeles International Film Festival and was awarded “Best of Fest” 2011 under “Film for Causes” distinguishing it as part of the five percent of Indie films considered last year.
Producer and Editor Atma Cornelius is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas. His versatile production background ranges from editing inspirational documentaries with profound messages for the SYDA Foundation and AIDS Walk New York to animating titles over hamburgers for MWP Editorial to producing web content and social media for Vonda Shepard and several up and coming artists, to managing a small army of volunteers for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. He can also be seen with pony tail as a library patron unimpressed by Julia Roberts’ research in the deleted scenes of Erin Brockovich.
Executive Producer and ride participant Gregory “Clear” Sklar graduated with honors in Native American studies. He has spent years learning the art of natural healing and massage therapy. His most recent mission in life has led him to become a warrior for the horse. Greg joins this ride as the voice for horses everywhere, to spread their message and to carve out a place for the horse, once again, in modern day society. Greg is the founder and President of Indigo Children Inc.
Co-producer Strawn Martins was born in the film industry and has spent her life both in front and behind the camera. Her experience in pre, onset, post production, and marketing has given her a well rounded understanding of the filmmaking process as a whole. With The Ride Home, she is given her first opportunity to pair her production experience and talents with her passion for causes of social and environmental justice.
2nd Unit Director of Photography Ryan Fisher grew up with a unique visual acuity and a fascination with flight that led him to develop a proprietary flying camera rig and control system which is regularly sought after by clients such as National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel Networks, ESPN, NBC, FOX and MTV.
THE RIDE HOME documentary is kindly endorsed by the Cheyenne Elders' Council and The Center for Sacred Studies. Discover more about the ride, the route and the riders at www.grandmothershorses.org. Read more about the Cheyenne Exodus of 1878.
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