Praise for the film

Judy Irving (‘The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hilll’) says of this film: From the rugged sandstone of the Badlands to the broad blue expanse of San Francisco Bay, the film documents a seemingly impossible journey for young Lakota Sioux, encompassing geographic, cultural, physical, and spiritual challenges. “From the Badlands to Alcatraz” is a beautifully crafted, awe-inspiring journey, spreading hope and enthusiasm from its unlikely Alcatraz swimmers to its viewers who are sure to fall under its spell.

Peter Coyote (Author and Actor) writes: “This lovely film chronicles the heroic effort of Oglala Lakota people to reclaim health and spiritual power by swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco. As daunting as it is for anyone, for land-locked people who had only six days to train, it is an enormous undertaking. The film chronicles not only the event but also the struggle for those living on Pine Ridge Reservation to change their diet and overall health in the face of staggering poverty. Nancy Iverson is to be applauded for her work on the reservation as a pediatrician and for this must-see film.”

What an inspiring and deeply symbolic story of triumph for the Pine Ridge community. This film invites us all to reconsider our limitations as we watch youth and elders make the impossible journey possible. Lewis Mehl-Medrona (‘Coyote Medicine‘)

A powerful documentary with Zen-like scenes and haunting tribal music, takes us on a journey of 5 young Lakota, who with astonishing bravery similar, I am sure, to that of their ancestors, immerse themselves in the chilly waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay, as they prepare for the big, metaphorical swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco. From a bluff in the Badlands where Richard Iron Cloud shares Lakota wisdom with song and story to the week’s events leading up to the Alcatraz swim, the film presents us with the excitement and joy of collective wisdom and self-discovery that envelops each of these charming youth and leaves the viewer with the conviction that this cadre of young people, the Lakota swimmers, may very well be enough of a nidus to begin working toward restoring health in their homeland.” Erica Goode, MD, MPH

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