Published April 3, 2016
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION – Just this week, after more than 11 years, the U.S. District Court of South Dakota overturned a DEA injunction against Alex White Plume and his brother (Percy) that prohibited him from growing hemp.
In the film Standing Silent Nation, this Lakota family tries to make a living off the land in a non-traditional way. The White Plume family tests their sovereign rights by tapping into the booming hemp product business.
When the Oglala Sioux Tribe passed an ordinance separating industrial hemp from its illegal cousin, marijuana, Alex and his family glimpsed a brighter future. Having researched hemp as a sustainable crop that would grow in the inhospitable soil of the South Dakota Badlands, the White Plumes envisioned a new economy that would impact the 85 percent unemployment rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation. They never dreamed they would find themselves swept up in a struggle over tribal sovereignty, economic rights and common sense.