Warrior Women Project


Warrior Women Movie (2018)

A documentary which details the life of Lakota activist and community organizer Madonna Thunder Hawk, whose career fighting for Indigenous and women’s rights has now spanned over 50 years.

In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation and survival as a community of extended families.

Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who shaped a kindred group of activists’ children – including her daughter Marcy – into the “We Will Remember” Survival School as a Native alternative to government-run education. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for Indigenous cultural values.

Through a circular Indigenous style of storytelling, this film explores what it means to navigate a movement and motherhood and how activist legacies are passed down and transformed from generation to generation in the context of colonizing government that meets Native resistance with violence.


Warrior Women Project – Our Vision

Follow the Matriarchs


Through the course of human history, women have been more than just vessels and caretakers; they are historical agents, makers of change, and turn the wheel of time and tradition. Our vision takes its lead from Indigenous matriarchy, one with a holistic relationship with our shared planet and all its ecosystems, and is rooted in the notion that understanding our past will sow seeds for a greater tomorrow.

We are combining oral history, contemporary media, and transformative scholarship to bridge the divide between frontline communities, the Ivory Tower of academia, and the mainstream media machine. From Alcatraz, to Wounded Knee, to uranium mines, and the fight against pipelines on sovereign Treaty land, these histories are compelling, they are complex, and they are urgent. Our collective liberation cannot be determined by the gatekeeping of history.

The Project – Oral History Archive

The Warrior Women Project is building a comprehensive, community-based archive of oral history interviews with key organizers and activists of the Red Power Movement of the 1970s into modern Indigenous struggles. We’re focused on collecting individual, group, and place-based oral histories centered on Indigenous matriarchy and movement building.

But simply documenting, preserving, and cataloging these histories is not enough. The ultimate goal of the Warrior Women Project Archive is to not only record these histories, but to make them accessible to those who need it most—the frontline communities, organizers on the ground, and educators working toward decolonization and anti-racism in the classroom. We’re putting history back in the hands of its makers.

Water Protector Oral History Project

This community-based oral history project came from out of the long time collaboration between Dr. Beth Castle and Madonna Thunder Hawk. The Grandmothers’ Group of Cheyenne River invited Castle’s college class on Native women’s activism to collaborate in community based scholarship and travel to the reservation to meet with, learn from, and interview Water Protectors who were being honored at the annual labor days wacipi at Cheyenne River. The students determined the goal was to provide a space where anyone who participated in the resistance movement against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock from 2016-2017 could have the agency to share their story on their terms. As an Indigenous-led movement to protect the water of the Missouri River from the oil pipeline, thousands of “Water Protectors” from around the world came in peace and prayer to “Stand with Standing Rock” against the Energy Transfer Partners Company. Visit https://waterprotectorscommunity.org to learn directly from a diversity of Water Protectors.

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