In 1973, a rookie reporter, Kevin McKiernan, tried to cover members of the American Indian Movement who took over Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Forty years later, he meets up with a man that he unwillingly photographed during the violent and deadly ordeal, and the two go back to Dakota and to the pipeline protest of Standing Rock. Meanwhile, McKiernan launched a new investigation into the murder of a former roommate who was also a Canadian Native who took part in the Wounded Knee uprising. What McKiernan uncovers will put him up against the FBI and the AIM, the same members that once trusted him.
In an attempt to impeach the chairman of the Oglala Lakota tribe, the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied a reservation in South Dakota known as Wounded Knee. Tensions escalated when the armed tribes broke off into camps. Other tribes, as well as the FBI, were involved as things would then turn violent and deadly. Kevin McKiernan gives us firsthand accounts of these events with archival footage and photos that capture the intense battle.
From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock: A Reporter’s Journey comes at a time where social justice is the focal point of the news media. This documentary shows just another view of how injustices have been done to another community, and it’s something that our textbooks fail to tell us about. The footage and videos used are straight from the 70’s so you get the 70’s grainy feel, which puts you into a time capsule. There are updated interviews from tribal members and former FBI agents involved in the siege.
“Tensions escalated when the armed tribes broke off into camps.”
The FBI interviews are most intense when agents are questioned about Wounded Knee and the possible murder of a former member of AIM. Kevin McKiernan questions former FBI special agent David Price about false testimonies. David Price clearly gets defensive and agitated. It is especially interesting to see Price’s demeanor change and makes you wonder what he and the FBI could be hiding.
What I think this doc falls short on is covering the protest of the pipeline on Standing Rock. With Standing Rock being in the title, you think that it would have at least an equal focus of the documentary as the battle on Wounded Knee, but it does not. It seems that it is just barely mentioned to tie things together at the end of the film. Standing Rock is something that could have had so much more coverage in this documentary, considering how much media coverage it received.
Regardless, I think that From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock: A Reporter’s Journey is one that can open ears, eyes, and minds to things going on within the world, and that has been going on for years. It shows things from the eyes of Kevin McKiernan. Yet, it is with the perspective of the Native Americans that lived through the 71-day siege.
"…can open ears, eyes, and minds to things going on within the world..."
A simply superb film and significant educational opportunity for students of American history..