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Aspen Celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day With Film Festival

Steven Lewis Simpson

Aspen is celebrating Indigenous People’s Day by hosting Shining Mountain Film Festival. This two-day event highlights films by and about Native Americans, including "Neither Wolf Nor Dog."


The film follows a white man road-tripping through the Dakotas while helping a Lakota Elder chronicle his past.

The film was shot on reservations in North and South Dakota, including the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre, which is sacred ground to many. It’s a true story that follows, Dan, a man who conscripts a reluctant writer record his personal story.

David Bald Eagle stars in the film; many of his ancestors were part of the Minocoju of Cheyenne River, who were killed at Wounded Knee.

Before filming, Bald Eagle performed a cleansing ceremony for the cast and crew. For director Steven Louis Simpson, this emphasized how intimate Bald Eagle’s performance was.

Simpson encouraged Bald Eagle to improvise the film’s final scene and channel the land’s troubled history.

"At the end of a deeply powerful scene, he turns to the actor Christopher Sweeney who’s playing opposite and says, “I’ve been holding that in for 95 years," said Simpson.

The film was entirely audience funded and took years to make. Bald Eagle died at the age of 96, shortly before the film was released.

"Neither Wolf Nor Dog" premiers at the Wheeler Opera house on Monday, and will be followed by a discussion with Dan’s family.


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