Better Red Than Dead

A Scene from Jesse Short Bull & Laura Tomaselli’s LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

A Scene from Jesse Short Bull & Laura Tomaselli’s LAKOTA NATION VS. UNITED STATES. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films release.

Whenever I think about the “Manifest Destiny” genocide U.S. rulers wrought against this continent’s original inhabitants – arguably the greatest land theft in human history – the sheer injustice of it all makes me feel like tearing my hair out, gnashing my teeth, slashing my flesh, rending my garments and howling at the moon. At a time when racist reactionaries suppress dissident histories, the new documentary Lakota Nation Vs. United States, co-directed by Oglala Lakota Jesse Short Bull and Laura Tomaselli, bravely and poetically presents a version of America’s story told from the Indigenous point of view. Indeed, Lakota’s parts I and II – “Extermination” and “Assimilation” – could be titled: “How the West was Lost.”

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Ed Rampell was named after legendary CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow because of his TV exposes of Senator Joe McCarthy. Rampell majored in Cinema at Manhattan’s Hunter College and is an L.A.-based film historian/critic who co-organized the 2017 70th anniversary Blacklist remembrance at the Writers Guild theater in Beverly Hills and was a moderator at 2019’s “Blacklist Exiles in Mexico” filmfest and conference at the San Francisco Art Institute. Rampell co-presented “The Hollywood Ten at 75” film series at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and is the author of Progressive Hollywood, A People’s Film History of the United States and co-author of The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.    

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