TRIBE is the story of a First Peoples' love for horses, which is a
feeling I understand and share. It is what
drew me to the subject and, I am quite sure, why the Nez Perce are
allowing me to tell it. I've been riding horses since I was 5 yeas old.
upon the fulcrum of heritage and destiny, the 21st
century Nez Perce of Lapwai, Idaho, concluded that timeworn notions of
Native American nobility and loss are unproductive. Recognized for
centuries as one of America's greatest horse tribes, they chose to
implement a cultural
renaissance by bringing horses back to their land and lives. HORSE
TRIBE documents their struggle to do so with the help of a charismatic
Navajo horseman. His exceptional gifts bring legendary Nez Perce equine
expertise to modern renown, and his mentorship of at-risk teenagers
guides them toward the 'strong medicine' of horses. But his personal
demons imperil both accomplishments.
It is an
epic story about the connection of human to animal, history to life,
individuals to community, despair to resolve, and values to action.
Aristotle defines happiness as "the exercise of vital powers along lines
of excellence, in a life affording them scope." The Nez Perce Tribe and a Navajo horseman engaged in such a quest. Our goal is a work of art worthy of its subject.
funding of $99,952 from Native American Public Telecommunications,
grants from the Idaho and Oregon Humanities, private donors and kind
friends in the NY film industry who have provided in-kind services and
technology worth well in excess of $40,000 made our work to date
possible. We are nearing editorial completion,
and must finish the picture by the end of the year.
anticipated completion costs increased when we decided that it was
absolutely necessary to use our original 16mm footage from the negative,
rather than from the tape transfers done when we shot that material in
1998-2001. The images are just so beautiful that we have to
do them justice. We'll only be able to finish this film once, and the
end product is forever. Creative editing of this complex and nuanced
story also required additional time. We were, ironically, lucky that
delays in raising money for completion
allowed time to continue shooting (heading West with a camera didn't cost a whole lot), and
we were therefore present when events on the rez took an unexpected
dramatic turn that radically altered the trajectory of the story.
we need to raise about
$30,000 for everything we need to do (the narration in the trailer says
$50G, but we've raised some money since then), I set a goal of $12,500
for our Kickstarter threshold to minimize the scary possibility of
falling short, but it sure would be great if we can raise more than
that. Donations to HORSE TRIBE are TAX DEDUCTIBLE through the 501.c.3 non-profit Gunk
Foundation, which Kickstarter approves for this project.
a personal note, the inexplicably generous instincts of a people who
have experienced unfathomable loss are a lesson, a mystery, and a gift
to me. Although I have received no financial compensation for fourteen
years of work on HORSE TRIBE, my life has been enriched beyond measure
in the company of the Nez Perce. On a hardscrabble reservation where
daily life is a fugue of grief and gumption and grace, foals are being