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Standing Rock film co-director to be part of KIPCOR presentation

April 16th, 2018

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – In 2016, the Water Protectors of Standing Rock, a small group of Native Americans, began a nonviolent protest that would bring their part of southern North Dakota to international attention.

The protest was against expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), that would transfer oil from oil fields in western North Dakota to a transport point in Illinois, crossing under the Missouri River and a lake near the Standing Rock (Sioux) Reservation, which the tribe believed threatened their drinking water supply and would desecrate ancient burial grounds.

The Kansas Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) at Bethel College, as part of its 2017-18 Film Series, and Mennonite Central Committee-Central States, based in North Newton, are partnering to bring the film Awake: A Dream from Standing Rock and one of its three directors, Myron Dewey, to the Bethel campus.

The 89-minute documentary screens Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus.

The event is free and open to the public, with a freewill offering taken to support the two organizations.

Awake tells the story of #NODAPL, the historic, Native-led, peaceful resistance campaign at the Standing Rock Reservation, which captured the world’s attention as one of the biggest news stories of 2016.

Tens of thousands of activists traveled to North Dakota from all over the world to stand alongside the “water protectors” who opposed construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline to transport fracked oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields.

The pipeline (which began carrying oil in mid-2017) passes directly underneath the Missouri River, the only water source for the Standing Rock reservation and the drinking water source for 17 million Americans downstream.

Myron Dewey’s drone footage made him one of the most important journalistic voices to come out of the Standing Rock movement.

Founder and owner of Digital Smoke Signals, Dewey is Newe-Numah/Paiute-Shoshone from the Walker River Paiute Tribe, Agui Diccutta Band (Trout Eaters) and Temoke Shoshone. He is a professor, a film maker and editor, a digital storyteller, a historical trauma trainer, a drone operator and a journalist.

Digital Smoke Signals’ goal is “to help bridge the digital divide throughout Indian Country and indigenize media through indigenous eyes with cultural core values” (such as reciprocity, respect and family).

It was through Digital Smoke Signals that Erica Littlewolf, director of the Indigenous Visioning Circle for MCC, of the Northern Cheyenne nation, got to know Dewey back in 2004.

“We [at MCC Central States] have been wanting to bring Myron Dewey to this area for a while,” Littlewolf said. “Then someone mentioned KIPCOR’s film series” – and the partnership was born.

The KIPCOR Film Series is funded in part through its Peace Lecture Endowment.

One of Dewey’s co-directors for Awake is Josh Fox, an Academy Award®-nominated, Emmy Award®-winning filmmaker perhaps best known for Gasland, a documentary on fracking in the northeastern United States.

Fox is an internationally recognized spokesperson on fracking and extreme energy development. In 2016, he won his third Environmental Media Association award for Best Documentary for his film How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released on HBO and toured the world theatrically.

The third co-director, James Spione, earned Academy Award® and Emmy® nominations in 2016 for his last film, the whistleblower documentary Silenced, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Previous work includes Incident in New Baghdad, which won Best Documentary Short at Tribeca and received an Oscar® nomination, and American Farm, about the demise of his family’s fifth-generation farm in central New York State.

He has also written and directed several feature films, including the Sundance favorite Garden, starring Oscar® winner Melissa Leo.

A fourth important contributor to Awake is Floris White Bull (Lakota/Pueblo).

She was raised at Standing Rock and is a summa cum laude in energy technology and Native American studies from Sitting Bull College. She is a principal subject and a co-writer of Awake.

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in the analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.