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Sovereign Nation/Sovereign Neighbor

(7 minutes)

Sovereign Nation/Sovereign Neighbor (7 min. 2006)

looks at the brutal treatment of the Narragansett Indians during the 2003 Smoke Shop Raid in Charlestown, Rhode Island. I was new to Rhode Island, and lived minutes away from the Smoke Shop where members of the Black-Indian Narragansett tribe were raided for allegedly selling cigarettes tax-free. Witnessing the raid, the choice to make a film was both personally and politically motivated. I am of Black-Indian descent (Cherokee), and seeing the brutal attack on the women and men of the tribe, I wanted to give voice to a community that seemed to not have one in the state of Rhode Island. The 7-minute film aired on PBS, is now featured at the Narragansett Tomaquag Indian Museum in Rhode Island, and is used as an educational and organizing tool by the Narragansett Indians. Also, the film, which was funded by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, received the Independence Award at the Media That Matters Festival in 2006.

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