Sherente, a Two Spirit Genderqueer teenager from Rhode Island's Narragansett tribe performs traditional dance in competitions at annual pow wows in New England. There is no formal rule which prohibits Two Spirit Genderqueer people from performing in a category different from their birth gender. Wearing female fancy shawl regalia, Sherente dances with joy and beauty. Behind the scenes tribal leaders manipulate Sherente's scores or disqualify them outright because of their belief in traditional binary gender roles. Blindsided by ongoing dishonesty and deception, Sherente continues to perform in spite of insensitive behavior by tribal leaders and others in their community. Sherente's enduring courage and self-respect are met with an outpouring of support from family, pow wow attendees, and fellow dancers.
- "There are still vanishingly few films which touch on Native American issues at all so this has significant value...."
- "Being Thunder is a welcome and insightful portrait of Two-Spiritedness that uses Sherenté’s openness and resilience to explore a facet of both the rainbow and Indigenous culture that remains under-examined in film and media. Sherenté provides a worthy role model for queer youths."
- "Being Thunder is a meditative, unintrusive documentary about a courageous Indigenous teenager who unapologetically strives for greatness against all types of resistance."
- "It's an impressive depiction of the culture, as well as a powerful exploration of a range of urgent themes."
- " There’s color and diversity and joy in a doc that looks forward into the future."
Awards & Recognition
Inside Out Film Festival
American Indian Film Festival
Jury Award – Honorable Mention Documentary Feature
Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival