Up until the early ’70’s, people on the native reservation at Alkali Lake were 100% alcoholic. This drama/documentary explores the alcoholic poisoning of a once proud people, followed by a story of hope, how that condition can be changed and by those who are the victims themselves.
Choctaw filmmaker Phil Lucas created this film with Peter von Puttkamer, Gryphon Productions. Executive Producers were Phil Laine of Four Worlds and Leonard George, son of famed Hollywood actor Chief Dan George. Hollywood actor Will Sampson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) did an intro for this film.
It’s perhaps the most important production produced for aboriginal peoples on drug and alcohol prevention– and the Alkali Lake Band traveled far and wide- Andy, Freddy, Charlene, Phyllis all took part in presenting the film to communities across North America and around the world. It was widely used by the Betty Ford Clinic- and Alkali Lake members were invited back for an anniversary celebration there. It’s legacy has been phenomenal – all due to the amazingly courageous and loving Alkali Lake Band members- many of them survivors of abuse at Missionary Schools.
I love her actions at 17 minutes in when she throws the boozing men off her porch then it’s heartbreaking to hear that “it’s pretty damn lonely” not to be drinking anymore. Then she goes to the store and tells him “to get your hand out of there, I’m not buying your thumb” – and she starts her own store : ) Reminds me of my mum and granny and how they called the “weights and measures” department to investigate a store in our town that was cheating people in the same way : )