Film: Chiefs (2002)
Every November for the last eighteen years, Al Redman has unlocked the cage for Wyoming Indian High School's first day of boys' basketball practice. The silver-haired Redman has chalked up an impressive record as head coach of the powerhouse Chiefs, including five state championships and a record 50-game winning streak. But it has been eight years since the Chiefs have won a state title, a long time for a team that is the focal point for the community of Wind River, Wyoming.
For senior Beaver C'Bearing, who grew up dreaming of state victory, this year is his last chance. In time, Beaver and his teammates will be part of the audience, and will have to reconsider their priorities, but for the moment, the question is, what will happen during his senior year?
Wind River Indian Reservation (where the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone were confined by the U.S. government on 3,500 square miles of central Wyoming) is hardly an environment conducive to success. Poverty, alcoholism, racism and youth suicide are just a few of the challenges the cultures face. But despite all of this - or perhaps because of it - basketball is played on the rez and played very well.
Directed by Daniel Junge.
About the American Indian Film Series
The American Indian Film Series is presented by Appalachian State University’s Gadugi Program and the Native American Student Association.
Gadugi is a partnership between Appalachian State University and Cherokee Central Schools designed to serve Cherokee students and the Eastern Band of Cherokee community. The film series began in 2015 with a screening of The Cherokee Word for Water. Our goal for 2016 was to expand from one film to a series, and thanks to the incredible support of Belk Library and Information Commons, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance and the Office of Student Programs, we have done so.
The Gadugi program made a conscious decision that the films would highlight American Indian issues, biographies and stories from the late twentieth century until today. For too much of American society the American Indian remains as little more than a romanticized stereotype, a relic of a bygone era. The film series seeks to show the vibrant, living modern communities of Indian Country and to proudly proclaim, as did the American Indian Movement, “We Remain.”