DER Documentary

Seeking the Spirit: Plains Indians in Russia


by Bea Medicine & Liucija Baskauskas
color, 27 min, 1999




Non-profit and K-12 pricing also available
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What qualities are necessary for a ritual to be ethnically "authentic"?

Dr. Bea Medicine, a Native American anthropologist and her Lithuanian colleague, Dr. Liucija Baskauskas explore this issue as they visit a group of Russians who have met for their annual two week Pow Wow in an isolated wooded area outside of St. Petersburg.

The Russians, predominantly couples with young children, tell us they initially became interested in Native American culture via Hollywood films. Back on a reservation in South Dakota, upon viewing a video of the dances and elaborate costumes of the Russians, a Lacota woman good-naturedly jokes, "they must've seen A Man Called Horse".

We see at close range the careful attention to detail the Russians have invested in the recreation of the look and the feel of Native America ritual and life. When asked why they are doing this they tell us it is for their children. They are seeking the "right way to live", in order to impart authentic Native American values to their offspring and to escape the cycle of consumerism and the negative aspects that they see in their own culture.


Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Society of Visual Anthropology Honorable Mention



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