> Jessica Chastain Stars as Real Life Activist in Woman Walks Ahead | Chapter1-Take1

Jessica Chastain Stars as Real Life Activist in Woman Walks Ahead


I wish I had more time for non-fiction! Take a look at the book behind the upcoming Jessica Chastain film Woman Walks Ahead also starring Sam Rockwell, Cieran Hinds, and Michael Greyeyes as Sitting Bull.



This book restores a little-known advocate of Indian rights to her place in history. In June 1889, a widowed Brooklyn artist named Catherine Weldon traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in Dakota Territory to help Sitting Bull hold onto land that the government was trying to wrest from his people. Since the Sioux chieftain could neither read nor write English, he welcomed the white woman’s offer to act as his secretary and lobbyist. Her efforts were counterproductive; she was ordered to leave the reservation, and the Standing Rock Sioux were bullied into signing away their land. But she returned with her teen-age son, settling at Sitting Bull’s camp on the Grand River. In recognition of her unusual qualities, Sitting Bull’s people called her Toka heya mani win, Woman Walking Ahead.

Predictably, the press vilified Weldon, calling her “Sitting Bull’s white squaw” and accusing her of inciting Sitting Bull to join the Ghost Dance religion then sweeping the West. In fact, Weldon opposed the movement, arguing that the army would use the Ghost dance as an excuse to jail or kill Sitting Bull. Unfortunately she was right.
Up to now, history has distorted and largely overlooked Weldon’s story. In retracing Weldon’s steps, Eileen Pollack recovers her life and compares her world to our own. Weldon’s moving struggle is a classic example of the misunderstandings that can occur when a white woman attempts to build friendships across cultural lines and assist the members of an oppressed minority fighting for their rights.

The logline

Catherine Weldon, a portrait painter from 1890s Brooklyn, travels to Dakota to paint a portrait of Sitting Bull and becomes embroiled in the Lakota peoples' struggle over the rights to their land.

Woman Walks Ahead is due out June 29th. 

2 comments:

  1. Hmmm...I haven’t heard a thing about this one, so I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think I'll want to see this one.

    ReplyDelete

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