Kendra Mylnechuk Potter, a Native woman adopted into a white family, reconnects with her Native identity and begins to view herself as a living legacy of U.S. assimilationist policy.
US | 2021 | 66 minutes | Color | DVD | English | Order No. W211281 |
“Lost birds” – a term for Native children adopted out of their tribal communities. Right after the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 became the law of the land, Kendra Mylnechuk Potter was adopted into a white family and raised with no knowledge of her Native parentage. This beautiful and intimate film follows Kendra on her journey to find her birth mother April, also a Native adoptee, and return to her Lummi homelands in Washington State. With a sensitive yet unflinching lens, director Brooke Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish) documents Kendra and April as they connect with relatives and navigate what it means to be Native, and to belong to a tribe from the outside looking in. Along the way, Kendra uncovers generations of emotional and spiritual beauty and pain and comes to the startling realization that she is a living legacy of U. S. assimilationist policy. By sharing a deeply personal experience of inherited cultural trauma, the film opens the door to broader and more complicated conversations about the erasure of Native culture and questions of identity surrounding adoption.
"…Real, thoughtful, kind and provocative…"
"Captures an intense, personal search filled with kindness and love."
"This poignant story provides living proof that history is not only the past, but the present too."
"A courageous endeavor to understand oneself while allowing the camera to follow each trial and tribulation. The film is an exploration of sorrow and joy, and all of those confusing emotions in between."
“A portrait of two courageous women -- mother and daughter - - who are willing to allow us into their remarkable journey to find each other and their heritage.”
“There’s a real sense of collaboration between Kendra and Swaney, and accountability on Swaney’s part to tell this story truthfully, which is refreshing to see in nonfiction filmmaking."
"When Kendra Mylnechuk cold calls her birth mother...she is drawn, almost reluctantly, into an exploration of this history and of her own complex feelings of guilt, belonging, and loss. For the intimacy and depth of her portrayal of Kendra’s journey, the Emerging Filmmaker Award goes to Brooke Pepion Swaney."
"An example of how intergenerational trauma continues."
"An unsettling insight into the history of cultural genocide and it has caused the ‘lost generation’ and their children."
"An impactful and intimate journey in discovering one’s identity...an important viewing."
"An extraordinary documentary."
SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS
- Best Female Director, Woodstock Film Festival
- Special Mention, Best Emerging Filmmaker, Woodstock Film Festival
- Jim Ewing Award for First Feature, Port Townsend Film Festival
- Human Rights Watch Film Festival, NY
- Hot Docs Canadian Documentary Film Festival
- AFI Film Festival
- Maoriland Film Festival
- Gimli Film Festival
- Ashland Independent Film Festival
- Vancouver Film Festival
- Heartland Film Festival
- Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival
- Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival
- GlobeDocs Film Festival
- Glimmerglass Film Days
- Seattle International Film Festival
- Cine Las Americas Film Festival
Brooke Pepion Swaney
Brooke Pepion Swaney (Blackfeet/Salish) works to tell Native stories. Most recently, she made the Blacklist’s Inaugural Indigenous List with TINDER ON THE REZ along with her co-writer, and WMM filmmaker, Angela Tucker. She also produced BELLA VISTA, SIXTY FOUR FLOOD and the podcast ALL MY RELATIONS with Matika Wilbur and Dr. Adrienne Keene. In 2021, she became an inaugural fellow as part of a filmmaker residency/incubator with the Woodstock Film Festival and White Feather Arts. She holds an MFA in Film from NYU. (07/21)
Esther Newton Made Me Gay
Behind the Rage
Abortion and Women's Rights 1970
A Woman on the Outside
Storming Caesars Palace
What About China?
Dying to Divorce
Maestra and Maestras Voluntarias
Annah la Javanaise
Call Me Human
America's War on Abortion
Running with My Girls
Fannie Lou Hamer's America
Muslim in America
In the Rumbling Belly of Motherland
Fly So Far
Ways of Being Home
Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power
Daughter of a Lost Bird
Breach of Trust
The Celine Archive
Nice Chinese Girls Don’t: Kitty Tsui
Belly of the Beast
Without a Whisper
Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa
A Normal Girl
The Gold Diggers
The Cancer Journals Revisited
All We've Got
There Goes the Neighborhood
Feminista: A Journey to the Heart of Feminism in Europe
I Am the Revolution
The Feeling of Being Watched
Birth on the Border
Exit: Leaving Extremism Behind
A Thousand Girls Like Me
White Right: Meeting the Enemy
The Rest I Make Up
Yours in Sisterhood
Dinner with the President
Azmaish: A Journey Through the Subcontinent
Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End AIDS
Love the Sinner
What Doesn't Kill Me
A Better Man
Black Girl in Suburbia
Birthright: A War Story
Read Civia Tamarkin's director's statement here.