UPDATE (8/24/15): Fans of Kind Hearted Woman, which aired on Independent Lens, always ask us how Robin Poor Bear and her family are holding up, and thus will be pleased to see we have another update straight from Robin herself (and you can scroll down below for her original update, from 11/13):
Darian will soon be starting college classes again at Cankdeska Cikana Community College, where she has a 3.5 GPA and will be finishing up her two year social work degree this year. She is still deciding as to whether she wants to be a social worker or not. Whatever she decides, she is off to a good start in helping people in need. She has 3 jobs: working in daycare at the college, a waitressing job in town, and she is a Mary Kay consultant. Darian is a fierce independent Native American woman and I am so proud of her.
I am also extremely proud of my son Anthony. Recently he got his driver’s license, and all summer he has been working on his truck that his sister gave him. He redid the motor. He is going to be a senior in high school this year. I just can’t believe it’s here already. He has grown into a very amazing Native American man. In preparation for his independence, I will be taking him to Wyoming to visit the Wyoming Tech campus. Darian and her boyfriend’ are also coming along, as Darian may decide on going to the University of Wyoming to finish her Bachelor’s Degree.
Darian and I still conduct speaking presentations, so if there are people or organizations in need of speakers, they can contact me via email at robinpoorbear at gmail dot com. Darian does presentations on the warning signs of child abuse, where she’ll share part of her story and what to watch out for if you suspect child abuse in your family; then I’ll go into my story on how I rebuilt my family after sobering up. I do presentations on prevention of suicide, chemical dependency, tribal injustice, custody battles, building community support systems, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
As a mother, all I can do now is to show them the options available to them … I hope they will always know I have always done the best I could with what I was given at the time.
[Also] I just received notice that I was chosen for an advocate position for Spirit Lake Victim Assistance, and am quite excited about that.
Update 11/7/13: As we kick off our celebration of Native American Heritage Month, we’ll be writing about two new Native American-themed films airing this month on Independent Lens (Indian Relay; Young Lakota), as well as looking at other Native American projects past and future. First, an update on the subject of a film that The New York Times called “a detailed portrait of the kind of lives rarely given a media spotlight.”
Kind Hearted Woman is a pillar program of Women and Girls Lead, an innovative public media campaign spearheaded by the Independent Television Service [ITVS] that uses the power of documentary film to celebrate, educate, and activate women, girls, and their allies across the globe to address the challenges of the 21st century. Now from the producer/director behind Kind Hearted Woman (which premiered on PBS on both Independent Lens and Frontline in April), we have an update on Robin Poor Bear, the film’s star. [Note: If you missed it the first time around, you can check out both parts for free online here.]
David Sutherland writes: “Since the broadcast of Kind Hearted Woman in April, Robin has received several invitations to speak and share her story, criss-crossing the country this summer to meet with different communities and organizations. Darian and Anthony traveled with her and increasingly participate in some of their mom’s presentations. Darian also took the opportunity to look at some colleges, but is still undecided where she wants to attend. Robin took some time to send us a quick update to share with viewers:”
I was hired by Indian Health Services and a Tribal Police Department to do a presentation in May. We honored the officers there for the amazing work they do to take a stand against violence by listening. They also had a basketball tournament with the community, where the losers had to dye their hair red or blue. Afterwards, there was a youth pow wow where hundreds of community members showed up to support our sacred ones. It was made even more special when you would see a police officer walking around with that red or blue hair.
My trip to Miles City, Montana was amazing because they hosted an outdoor community meeting and concert. I did a talking circle for my presentation at the conference, and some boys from a nearby youth correctional facility were able to attend. The next day I visited the correctional facility for boys and spoke with them. I got to talk to a young man who shared his story with me and allowed me to share it with the staff. We talked and he shed some tears for the first time in 18 months, and after he said he hadn’t felt that calm in a long time.
I also went to Wyoming to visit a friend, and she asked me to speak with local middle school and high school students. There were over 500 all together, and it was so powerful to be able to talk to them and the staff. I will be doing a follow up with that community in October, and then again in April next year.
A tribe in Scottsdale, Arizona asked me to be a part of their gathering, and the first night we watched the first part of Kind Hearted Woman and discussed issue present in the film. The next day I did my presentation and it was just amazing to say the least.
Thank you to each and every one of the communities that have hired me to come and share my journey with them. It is hard to discuss the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, chemical recovery and systematic letdowns. People have reached out and continue to reach out to listen, discuss and open the doors of healing for others.
Robin is also participating in a Kind Hearted Woman workshop at the National Women’s Studies Association conference this Saturday morning (November 9) in Cincinnati, Ohio, along with Women and Girls Lead staff. The workshop, entitled “Using Film to Confront Domestic Violence Crisis in Indian Country,” will examine the intersection of sovereignty, colonization, and violence against women on Native American lands. [Brochure]
Note: The filmmaker established a fund for Robin and her family; if you’re interested in donating, you may do so here:
Robin Poor Bear Fund
c/o Bremer Bank
345 4th Avenue
International Falls, MN 56649