"Education is your most powerful weapon. With it, you are the whiteman's equal, without it, you are his victim." Chief Plentycoups, last Crow Chief

Spirit of the Dawn explores the dramatic changes in Indian education from the boarding schools of the past, where children were beaten for speaking their language in school, to the more culturally-sensitive classrooms of today.

"This video challenges racist stereotypes prevalent in mainstream U.S. culture. It is a valuable resource for teaching race/ethnic relations, education as a social institution, and sociology of culture."

Marcia Hood-Brown, Brandeis University, Teaching Sociology
Synopsis: 

On the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana, we meet two sixth graders, Bruce Big Hail and Heywood Big Day III, as they participate in an innovative poetry class that encourages them to create beautiful poems celebrating Crow culture and history. Through the children, their parents and their teachers we see the strength and resiliency of a community fighting the constraints of the past to secure a future for its children.

Reviews

"Brief, sweet, and affirming...this film's quiet message, reversing the notion that Native Americans need to be 'made over' to be accepted in a white world, is of value to students of both education and cultural diversity."

Video Librarian

"A sensitive depiction of the struggle of Native American youth...invaluable and helpful to all Indian and non-lndian people."

Simon Ortiz Acoma, Poet and Storyteller

"The great love of the Crow people for their cultural heritage shows brightly in this film. The emergence of this video is especially important now...our country needs to find its way to appreciation of cultural diversity, an attitude that is vital to our future."

Leanne Hinton, Chair, Department of Linguistics, University of California at Berkeley