A Lakota man faces his boarding school history and heals himself and his community.

The Thick Dark Fog should be part of any Native Studies curriculum. The film is about hope, truth, and reconciliation. The truth-telling, honesty, and humor offer a form of justice.

—Sarah Deer (Muscogee), Assistant Professor, William Mitchell College of Law
Synopsis: 

Walter Littlemoon attended a federal Indian boarding school in South Dakota sixty years ago. The mission of many of these schools in 1950, was still to “kill the Indian and save the man.” The children were not allowed to be Indians – to speak their language or express their culture or native identity in any way at the risk of being severely beaten, humiliated or abused. What effects did these actions cause?

Many Native people, like Walter, lived with this unresolved trauma into adulthood, acting it out through alcoholism and domestic violence. At age 58, Walter decided to write and publish his memoirs as a way to explain his past abusive behaviors to his estranged children. But dealing with the memories of his boarding school days nearly put an end to the project.

“The Thick Dark Fog” tells the story of how Walter confronted the “thick dark fog” of his past so that he could heal himself and his community.

 

Reviews

The Thick Dark Fog is the compelling story of one man's journey from the pain of memory to a process of healing. In Walter Littlemoon's voice we hear the stories of untold numbers of children who suffered through an “education” that taught many bitter lessons. The film’s images and narrative speak powerfully to the conscience of our country.

—Nancy Bonvillain, Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics, Bard College at Simon’s Rock