Sidney Has No Horses is a Medicine Man, carpenter, hunter, artist . . . Chief. His ceremonies are authentic and his spiritual lineage is legendary; including Frank Fools Crow and Crazy Horse.
The Sun Dance ceremony is an ancient, 4-day ritual involving hunger, thirst, and intense suffering. In comparison, modern religions ask very little of their devotees.
There are over a hundred Sun Dance Ceremonies on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation each year; the one at Wakpamni Lake includes multiple rounds of traditional piercing. The participants, called warriors, carve their own cherry wood pegs. These are shoved through incisions in the back and chest. They are tethered to the Ceremonial Cottonwood and the pegs are inevitably torn from their bodies either by pulling against them, being hoisted off the ground from a branch, or assisted by others if the pegs are too thick or incisions too deep.
What begins as a character study of a complicated, anachronistic man; and his mystical ceremonies; becomes an uncomfortable cultural immersion. Intense doubts arise as modern people, steeped equally in the scientific method and metaphysics, are invited to participate in the most painful ceremonies. Augmented by visual metaphors, creative audio effects, and animation the viewer may cringe at the thought of their own skin stretching until it breaks but eventually the film becomes a slow motion collision between modern and ancient minds.
In this way the documentary addresses many questions still relevant to modern understanding of reality. By exploring suffering as prayer and the dark humor of one Lakota Medicine Man, surviving the corporate age, we see that something of great human value was saved for all humanity by a strange lineage of Medicine Men. And the lessons of that lineage, and many like it, remain in danger being swallowed and lost in the morass of modernity.
Please join us on this rare journey through the spiritual practices that help maintain a holistic world-view connecting one indigenous community to its ancestors and the Great Mystery.
View the Trailer
Production for this Documentary has spanned four years and will end after a fourth Sun Dance in the summer of 2013. Nine extended visits to the family and Pine Ridge Reservation have been recorded, and 2 more are planned for this year. Final editing of the feature length documentary (90-minutes) is planned to begin in the fall of 2014.
The formal and casual interviews, the vérité-style footage of daily life, and the landscape will lay the foundation for a modern interpretation of a Medicine Man, his ceremonies, and the current state of Lakota religion. However the experience for most viewers will not end there as conclusions are drawn regarding the current state of the indigenous-modern relationship as experienced within the greater American cultural continuum.