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Lakota Nation vs. United States


A provocative, visually stunning testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide – and whose best days are yet to come.


  • Los Angeles Times
    "A re-energized debate about stolen land and inequity, spurred by young people invigorated by the history they were never taught, and gaining traction with non-Natives to boot."
    Robert Abele
  • The Hollywood Reporter
    “Short Bull and Tomaselli have made an affecting and timely chronicle. At its core is a question that could be applied to much of human history, but burns with particular intensity in the story of the United States: Why must the push for ‘progress’ be built on so much fear — a need to exploit, subjugate, silence and remove what isn’t understood — rather than on an openhearted curiosity to understand and connect?”
    Sheri Linden
  • The New York Times
    "This stunning film interleaves interviews of Lakota activists and elders with striking images of the Black Hills and its wildlife, historical documents and news reports, clips from old movies and other archival footage to extraordinary effect, demonstrating not only the physical and cultural violence inflicted on the Lakota but also their deep connection to the Black Hills, the area where Mount Rushmore was erected"
    Concepción de León
  • Variety
    "This is an important moment culturally for America to reckon with this past. The culture is meeting this film with this desire to learn. We are only as good as our understanding of ourselves, and that goes for human beings and that goes for an entire nation.
    This film is a locomotion unto itself."
    Addie Morfoot
  • indieWire
    "Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli’s vital Lakota Nation vs. United States doesn’t waste any of its 121 minutes, but it also boasts a number of moments that effectively squeeze the film’s entire perspective into a single unforgettable image."
    David Ehrlich
  • Vanity Fair
    "The impassioned personal stories of the elders, community organizers, and cultural bearers in the film encourage viewers to bear witness to the resilience and fortitude of these communities"
    Maka Monture Paki
  • Variety
    "Knowledge and understanding are essential elements needed for advocacy and impactful change. The multilayered approach of this project helps accurately represent the Lakota people as we are now to allow healing and redressing."
    Pat Saperstein
    "A powerful documentation about a beautiful struggle. You’ll be astounded. It’s like taking a grad course in Native American studies and loving the professor."
    Dwight Brown

Festival Participation

  • Tribeca Film Festival - 2022
    Nominee Best Documentary Feature
  • SFFILM Doc Stories - 2022
  • Palm Springs International Film Festival - 2023
  • GlobeDocs Film Festival - 2022
    Winner Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature
  • Cleveland International Film Festival - 2023
    Nominee Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Award
  • Milwaukee Film Festival - 2023
    Winner Emerging Documentary Jury Award
  • Provincetown International Film Festival - 2023
    Winner Audience Award Best Documentary Feature
  • Denver International Film Festival - 2022
    Nominee Maysles Brothers Award Best Documentary
  • Washington DC International Film Festival - 2022
  • Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival - 2023

Additional Materials

Distribution Company

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