AGAINST THE CURRENT
Directed by Daunnette Moniz-Reyome (USA)
Native American teen activist 17-year-old Daunnette Moniz-Reyome shares her family’s journey to retain the sacred rituals and values of their culture in the wake of centuries of loss due to disease, war and government policies.
The effects of this cultural and physical devastation continue to reverberate through the lives of today’s Native Americans, especially young people, who grapple with oppression, poverty and racism.
Daunnette is a member of the Winnebago Ho-Chunk tribe of Nebraska and a senior at Walthill Public School, on the Omaha Reservation where she lives. Daunnette documents life for herself, her family and her friends as they attempt to juggle modern society and Native American values and rituals.
“The message I would like to send in my film is that we are not what the media portrays of us. Yes, we battle alcoholism, addiction, and domestic violence just like any other nationality or poverty-stricken community, but that does not define the whole culture. We are a sacred, resilient, powerful, strong group of people. It’s embedded in us. I want to show people who we truly are, who we once were before the cycle of trauma began. I want people to gain an understanding of not just the culture itself, but also us as a nation. Who and what we represent.
“I need to find a way to shed light on the mental health issues plaguing my community. . . . I want to show some of these talented kids and our culture. I want to do what I can to inspire, encourage, and motivate my peers to take back pride in who we are as Native Americans.”
– Daunnette Moniz-Reyome
“Working with Daunnette was an absolute honor. She is one of the most mature young people I’ve ever met, and her ability to quickly learn and adapt to on-camera situations was equally impressive as experienced filmmakers that I have worked with. Her questions to interviewees were perceptive and revealing, and her thoughtfulness inspires me to be a better storyteller. The power of her words will inspire other youth across the globe, and her message about the importance of understanding the past will help guide us all to a more equitable future.”
— Evan Mascagni