Private Project

First Daughter and the Black Snake

Winona LaDuke wants to grow corn and put up solar panels, but when a proposed oil pipeline threatens her sacred wild rice territory she must spring into action and defend clean water with treaties, slow food and spiritual horse rides.

  • Keri Pickett
    The Fabulous Ice Age, Steel // Spirit
  • Keri Pickett
    The Fabulous Ice Age
  • Fernanda Rossi
  • Keri Pickett
    The Fabulous Ice Age, Steel // Spirit
  • Winona LaDuke
    Key Cast
  • Daniel J. Geiger
    First Daughter and the Black Snake (2017), The Dinkytown Uprising (2015,Pete & Toshi Get a Camera (2015), Rediscovering John Berryman (2014), The Jingle Dress (2014), Holiday Beach (2011), Forgotten (2008/I) (co-editor), Gigi 12x5 (2005) A Specialist in His Field (2002)Herman U.S.A. (2001)aka "Taking a Chance on Love" - USA, Snow (1998/II)
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Native American, environmental
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 33 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    300,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Native Women in Film
    Los Angeles
    United States
    February 23, 2017
    special screening
  • Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
    United States
    April 15, 2017
    North American Premiere
    Best MN Made Documentary Feature Award
  • Arizona International Film Festival
    United States
    April 24, 2017
    Arizona Premiere
  • Duluth Superior Film Festival
    United States
    June 1, 2017
  • Red Nation Film Festival
    Santa Fe
    United States
    August 18, 2017
    New Mexico Premiere
  • Red Nation Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    November 17, 2017
  • Marfa Film Festival
    Marfa, TX
    United States
    July 15, 2017
    Texas Premiere
  • Madeline Island Film Series
    Madeline Island
    United States
    July 6, 2017
    Wisconsin Premiere
  • The Great Northern Festival
    Minneapolis, MN
    United States
    January 28, 2021
  • American Indian Film Festival
    San Francisco, CA
    United States
    November 3, 2017
Distribution Information
  • Virgil Films & Entertainment
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Keri Pickett

Keri Pickett is a producer, director and photographer. She is the recipient of a 2017 McKnight Foundation Fellowship in Media Arts. Her first documentary feature film The Fabulous Ice Age, winner of an audience award at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and best non-feature film and best non-feature director awards from both the Women’s Indie Film Festival and the Gwinnett International Film Festival. Her second documentary feature, First Daughter and the Black Snake, is an official selection of the Marfa Film Festival, Native Women in Film and Red Nation Film Festival. The film is the winner of the Best MN_Made Documentary Feature from the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival where it received standing ovations in multiple sold-out screenings including a Best of Fest screening. It will be distributed by Virgil Films & Entertainment.

Pickett is the author of several photography books—Love in the 90s, BB & Jo: The Story of a Lifelong Love, A Granddaughter’s Portrait (Warner Books, 1995), Faeries (Aperture, 2000), and a third about Mary Jo Copeland’s work with the poor and homeless called Saving Body & Soul, The Mission of Mary Jo Copeland. Pickett has been awarded fellowships from the Bush Foundation, McKnight, Jerome and Target Foundations as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Her photos have appeared in Life, Time and People magazines as well as Stern and Geo.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I believe people reveal their value systems through their daily rituals of family life, work, faith or cultural practice. I seek out amazing people who are making the world a better place, but I am also focused on marginalized communities who inspire me with their struggle. As a story-teller, I look for intimacy, emotion and revelation in my subjects.

I studied filmmaking at Moorhead State University with Eric Larsen and screenwriting with Thomas McGrath, but chose photography as my primary artistic language. I got my start as a professional photojournalist working for the Village Voice, People, Time and Geo magazines and I have photographed Paul Wellstone, The Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi, Vaclav Havel and Rigaberto Menchu.

In 1980, I traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for the Black Hills Survival Gathering where I worked for AIM leadership running their ancient switchboard. In 1984 I met Anishinaabe activist Winona LaDuke, who gave me a tour of the White Earth Indian Reservation. Years later, Winona and I met again on the Turtle Mountain Reservation and a healing ceremony was performed for me at a Sun Dance. Those meetings and experiences cemented my life-long interest in Indigenous communities.

My current feature documentary film is rooted deep in Indian Country traditions in conflict with the Alberta Tar Sands, No KXL, No Sandpiper and the birth of the LoveWaterNotOil movement. Native American wisdom predicts the Black Snake will bring destruction to the Land, so Winona LaDuke’s quest is to stop the oil and gas mega-corporations from driving pipelines through sacred wild rice territories of Northern Minnesota. Climate change, pipelines and bomb trains are opposed with musicians, Slow Food and Indian horses as former Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate LaDuke fights to protect one-fifth of the world’s fresh water with Midwestern hard work, humor and thousands of years of Indigenous wisdom.