Hood River has the privilege of being one of 18 Oregon towns this week to feature “Neither Wolf Nor Dog,” an independent movie based on Kent Nerburn’s 1994 book “Neither Wolf Nor Dog: On Forgotten Roads with an Indian Elder,” a best-selling Native American novel. (It’s at Hood River Cinemas).
According to the press release, Nerburn’s book won the Minnesota Book award for creative non-fiction and “has become a standard part of the multi-cultural curriculum in many high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States, Europe, and Australia.”
Of course, if we need to talk about a movie, we can do that. But the people and the reasons and the ties to things that happen because someone reads a book or sees a movie are much more interesting to me.
Kent Nerburn had to wait over 20 years for his book to be made into a movie.
MOVIE PLOT SUMMARY
The story follows a white author, (Kent Nerburn, played by Christopher Sweeny) who gets sucked into the heart of contemporary Native American life in the sparse lands of the Dakota’s by a 95 year old Lakota elder, Dan, and his side-kick, Grover.
Dan was played by Dave Bald Eagle, who was born in a tipi in 1919 and spoke only Lakota until he went to school at 12 years old. Many historians have speculated his grandfather, White Bull, killed General Custer at the Little Bighorn.
During WWII Dave Bald Eagle was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, jumping behind the lines at Anzio and on D-Day they were mistakenly dropped over German lines. Riddled with bullets before he hit the ground, he was found unconscious, but fortunately received medical attention soon after and survived.
The movie follows Nerburn’s journey to create a book from a box of handwritten material given to him by Dan. Nerburn is “stunned by their profound insights about American culture and the Native perspective.”
[Dave Bald Eagle passed away at 97-years-old on the 22nd of July, 2016.]