Directed by Lorna Tucker • Documentary • 2019 • 74 minutes
Ama tells an important and untold story: the abuses committed against Native American women by the US Government during the 1960s and 70s. The women were removed from their families and sent to boarding schools. They were subjected to forced relocation away from their traditional lands and, perhaps worst of all, they were subjected to involuntary sterilization.
The result of nine years painstaking and sensitive work by filmmaker Lorna Tucker, the film features the testimony of many Native Americans, including three remarkable women who tell their stories - Jean Whitehorse, Yvonne Swan and Charon Asetoyer - as well as a revealing and rare interview with Dr. Reimert Ravenholt whose population control ideas were the framework for some of the government policies directed at Native American women.
It is estimated over a twenty-year period between 1960 and 1980 that tens of thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Due to poor record keeping during this era the number may in fact be much higher. Many of these women went to their graves having suffered this incredible abuse of power.
The film ends with a call to action - to back a campaign to get a formal apology from the US government, which would then open the door for the women to bring a lawsuit.