Trading Stories: A Native American Movie Festival Getting Underway


Nancy Gillis

    The Trading Stories Native American Movie Festival returns to the Chadron Public Library this week after a COVID-19 hiatus last yea.

This is the 6th year for the Festival, which runs tonight through Saturday night. This year’s focus is on famed Oglala Lakota  leader Black Elk – Hehaka Sapa.

        Although Black Elk filled many roles in his life including medicine man, he’s best known as the subject of author-poet John Neihardt’s 1932 book “Black Elk Speaks

        Black Elk spoke in Lakota, his son Ben Black Elk translated his father’s words into English, and Neihardt used them and his notes as the basis for the book. 

        Trading Stories is put on by the library and the Library Foundation to showcase and acknowledge the contribution of the Lakota people and culture to the history of Northwest Nebraska and highlight contemporary Native issues. 

        The Festival’s formal kickoff is at 5:30 in the Library with an opening reception and welcome from Library Foundation President Roger Mays. 

       The first session begins at 6:30 with Dr Nancy Gillis, a former college professor who served 22 years as Executive Director of the John Neihardt State Historic Site. 

       A Native American herself of Cherokee and Choctaw heritage, Gillis has titled her talk The Legacy of Neihardt and Black Elk. The talk and reception are both free and open to the public. 

      The Festival schedule for tomorrow includes the documentary The Good Red Road, while Saturday has, among other programs, a talk on medicinal plants of the high plains, and a showing of the film Little Big Man, based in part on Black Elk’s teachings.

       All Trading Stories activities are free and open to the public at the Chadron Public Library on the corner of 4th and Bordeaux.