As Americans come off a historic day at the polls, American Documentary (the producer of POV) presents a film about America’s national identity. Boomtown, by Bryan Gunnar Cole, portrays the selling of fireworks by the Suquamish Nation–exploring life, liberty and the politics of Indian sovereignty in America.
November is Native American Heritage Month. Celebrate by watching Boomtown in its entirety on the POV website.
Originally broadcast on POV in 2002, Boomtown will be streaming as part of American Documentary’s True Lives series from November 5, 2008 to January 5, 2009.
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Boomtown is a lively visit to the Suquamish Nation, near Seattle, where selling fireworks has become a tradition for some Suquamish tribal members. For 30 years, this part of Indian country has sold fireworks that are officially banned off the reservation, attracting non-Indian buyers from near and far.
On July 4th, the Suquamish tribe plays host to one of the most enjoyable and unpredictable fireworks shows around. In a place where federal, state and local policies routinely collide with Native sovereignty, Boomtown focuses on this animated enterprise, offering a special glimpse into contemporary Indian life. The irony of celebrating Independence Day is not lost on tribal members — but while one history reads as a litany of displacement, broken treaties and cultural destruction, another holds the memories and deeds of Indian contributions to the strength and development of the country as a whole. For Bennie Armstrong, tribal chairman of the Suquamish nation, the reality is that he and other Indians are dual citizens. Celebrating success as both American business people and as Indians with an outlook unique to their experiences and traditions, Boomtown reveals the most difficult job of all: walking in two worlds.