At the root of the new Twin Cities PBS film, Bring Her Home, is a startling fact: Native women make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, yet face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average.
Premiering as part of Women’s History programming in March, the documentary explores this little-discussed human rights issue by following the stories of three Native women as they seek justice and honor for their murdered and missing relatives. Artist Angela Two Stars, activist Mysti Babineau, and Representative Ruth Buffalo have all experienced and coped with the enduring trauma of colonization in their Indigenous communities. Within the framework of participating in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Rally and March, an annual community event honoring missing Native women, the film tells the stories of how these women have brought attention to the crisis while also providing encouragement to their communities.
According to the film’s award-winning director, Leya Hale, Indigenous people continue to suffer from the effects of colonization, systemic oppression, and trauma—and the epidemic of murdered and missing Native women is a direct result of U.S. Federal Indian Policies.
As the fight for social justice continues to accelerate in this country, it is important for Indigenous people and allies to encourage and support Indigenous women like Angela Two Stars, Mysti Babineau, and Representative Ruth Buffalo, who are fighting to bring awareness to this ongoing epidemic while reclaiming Indigenous women’s strength and status. Although the film is punctuated by stories of pain and loss, Hale, who is from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and Diné Nations, strives to offer stories of hope, resilience and healing that suggest a path forward for Indigenous communities roiled in this epidemic.
Many prayers and traditional practices went into the making of Bring Her Home. “I have made it my top priority to incorporate traditional medicines into our overall production to protect the wellbeing of participants and to encourage our production team to remain committed to telling these stories with compassion and respect,” Hale says.
Watch the premiere of Bring Her Home locally on TPT2 on March 21, as well as on PBS stations across the country.