Badger Creek is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on the rez in Montana.

Badger Creek is phenomenal. The diversity of topics that are squeezed into a half hour film is impressive: Indigenous language revitalization, the importance of physical and spiritual geographies, education, alcoholism, violence, the importance of youth to the Blackfeet and Indigenous cultures more broadly, and the hope and resilience of this Blackfeet family and community. As Indigenous people we are constantly fighting against a victimization complex, and the film accurately shows how, yes, Indigenous peoples were and continue to be victims of colonization and many forms violence, but also how resilient and prosperous we are as families, clans, and peoples.

—Preston McBride, Comanche, Assistant Professor of Native Studies, UCLA
Synopsis: 

Badger Creek is a half-hour documentary portrait of a Blackfeet (Pikuni) family, the Mombergs, who live on the lower Blackfeet Reservation in Montana near the banks of Badger Creek. In addition to running a prosperous ranching business, they practice a traditional Blackfeet cultural lifestyle that sustains and nourishes them, including sending their children to a Blackfeet language immersion school, participating in Blackfeet spiritual ceremonies and maintaining a Blackfeet worldview. The film takes us through a year in the life of the family, and through four seasons of the magnificent and traditional territory of the Pikuni Nation.

 

Reviews

Director's Commentary: 

Our intention in making this film is to share a positive portrayal of reservation Native Americans with the PBS audience. Many documentaries about reservation life portray poverty, violence and other hardships and depict protagonists fighting to survive in this context. While these are important stories, our film takes an alternative approach of portraying a family that is thriving. The film focuses on key family members and typical life events so that audiences can identify with their way of life and understand why they are successful. While the film touches on some of the challenges of life on the reservation, such as drugs and poverty, the Mombergs’ success is not portrayed in opposition to a dysfunctional reservation environment, but rather as a result of the ongoing choices they have made to stay healthy and to adhere to traditional Blackfeet values.