New documentary Young Lakota about lack of abortion access on a reservation

Picture-6Image Credit: Ms. Magazine

In 2006, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Tribal Leader of the Ogala Sioux, threatened to build a women’s health clinic on tribal land in response to a proposed South Dakota no-exceptions abortion ban. This ban meant that the 1 in 3 Native American women who would or had been raped in the state would have to carry any ensuing pregnancies to term. “Young Lakota” follows the story of three young people living on a reservation in South Dakota in the political aftermath of Fire Thunder’s action. Ms. Magazine described the film as, “a story of self-discovery in the midst of political and personal upheaval.”

Within that same post, Ms. ran an interview with the filmmakers of “Young Lakota,” and one of my favorite comments was this:

“It was about these young people. We wanted to do a political story from their point of view, to show the various ways that it affected them. Part of it was to show these horrible laws. It would be hard to find a place in the United States where abortion services are harder to access than on the Pine Ridge reservation. That’s because its rural, but also [because] South Dakota has a history of passing laws that not only restrict access in a real practical way, but create a climate where psychological access is restricted … I think we were around during a real shift that’s been happening in Indian Country and there was a lot of tension. You see that a lot in places where revolutionary leadership came in, and some of it wound up more corrupt and some of it not.”

Keep an eye out for “Young Lakota” on PBS’s Independent Lens on November 25th.

(I haven’t been able to find a transcript for the trailer. If anyone’s able to post one in the comments I’d appreciate it!)



Juliana Britto Schwartz probably dresses up like Frida Kahlo a little too often.

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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