In honor of Native American Heritage Month, I wanted to write about a very special documentary I found on Kanopy called, “Being Thunder.” It follows Sherente Harris, a two-spirited teenage member of the Narragansett tribe in Rhode Island, where they go against the status quo of what it means to be a queer indigenous person. 

“The most controversial act I have ever committed is being my true self.”  If that is not a powerful statement, I don’t know what is.This documentary teaches a powerful lesson: In the face of prejudice, just be you. 

Toward the end of the documentary, Sherente enters an eighteen-year-old female party for a dancing competition at a powwow. However, the judges decide that they will not judge Sherente, even though they have registered. 

“I just can’t be treated normal,” Sherente says, as they break down to their grandmother, which is such a heartbreaking sentiment, especially when they have to wear all this makeup for the powwow in order to be accepted and considered “normal.” 

What is normal? 

Two spirited people have been around since before the colonists came to Rhode Island, and have been revered in their tribes for just as long. 

So –  what is normal? 

At the end of this documentary, we see examples of what is normal. Friends and family of Sherente cheer them up numerous times and encourage them to dance, even without the judges’ approval, and cheer them on as they perform. 

To me, normal is accepting others, and learning through them. 

This documentary does just that. I learned so much about indigenous people, two spirit people, the crimes against the Narragansett people of Rhode Island, and Sherente, who is going to teach us how to better our future. 

I really enjoyed this documentary, and I hope you will too. If you are interested in watching this documentary, click here to check it out.