ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught)

Filmed on the Qualla Boundary and Cherokee Nation, ᎤᏕᏲᏅ (What They’ve Been Taught) explores expressions of reciprocity in the Cherokee world, brought to life through a story told by an elder and first language speaker. ᎤᏕᏲᏅ circles the intersection of tradition, language, land, and a commitment to maintaining balance. This film was created in collaboration with independent artists from both Cherokee Nation and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

This film is part of a series and multimedia platform, made in partnership with Indigenous storytellers and their communities worldwide, invites learning from time-honored and current Indigenous ways of being. Facing a climate crisis, the Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since the beginning of time. To heal, we must recognize that we are in relationship with Earth, a place that was in balance for millennia. More information at www.reciprocity.org.

  • Brit Hensel
    Director
    Zibi Yajdan
  • Brit Hensel
    Director of Photography
    Zibi Yajdan
  • David Crawler
    Translation
  • Keli Gonzales
    Associate Producer
  • John Henry Gloyne
    Associate Producer
  • Loren Waters
    Field Producer
  • JP Johnson
    Field Producer
  • Beau Carroll
    Field Producer
  • Brit Hensel
    Camera and Sound Operator
    Zibi Yajdan
  • Blake Brown
    Camera and Sound Operator
  • Thomas Belt
    Key Cast
  • John Henry Gloyne
    Key Cast
  • Ernie Tiger
    Key Cast
  • Elwood Gloyne
    Key Cast
  • Waloshi Gloyne
    Key Cast
  • Booger Gloyne
    Key Cast
  • Beau Carroll
    Key Cast
  • Johi Griffin
    Key Cast
  • Bear Allison
    Key Cast
  • Keli Gonzales
    Key Cast
  • Tsinas Johnson
    Key Cast
  • Sanoyi Johnson
    Key Cast
  • Walei Johnson
    Key Cast
  • JP Johnson
    Key Cast
  • Sauli Pillay
    Editor
  • Eleni Ledesma
    COVID-19 Supervisor
  • Loren Waters
    On Set COVID-19 Coordinator
  • Daniel Bachman
    Composer
  • Bear Allison
    Photographer
  • Taylor Hensel
    Photographer
    Zibi Yajdan, Native and American
  • Loren Waters
    Photographer
  • Thomas Belt
    Advisor
  • Johi Griffin
    Advisor
  • Beau Carroll
    Advisor
  • Taylor Hensel
    Producer
    Zibi Yajdan, Native and American
  • Adam Mazo
    Producer
    Dawnland
  • Kavita Pillay
    Producer
  • Tracy Rector
    Producer
  • Tracy Rector
    Executive Producer
  • Sauli Pillay
    Color Correction
  • Dave Howe
    Sound Engineer
  • David Gallander
    Sound Engineer
  • Yen Tan
    Poster Design
  • Cindy Chischilly
    Promotional Design & Graphics
  • Joel Schomberg
    Promotional Design & Graphics
  • Melissa Billows
    Accounting
  • Jonathan Saceda
    Accounting
  • Susi Walsh
    Accounting
  • Jeffrey Cadwell
    Legal
  • Justine Jacob
    Legal
  • Sarah Robertson
    Legal
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.35
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Sundance Film Festival
    Park City, UT
    United States
    January 23, 2022
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Skábmagovat Indigenous Film Festival
    Inari
    Finland
    January 27, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
    Missoula
    United States
    February 25, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Santa Barbara International Film Festival
    Santa Barbara
    United States
    March 2, 2022
    West Coast Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Environmental Film Festival In The Nation's Capital
    Washington D.C.
    United States
    March 17, 2022
    East Coast Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Salem Film Festival
    Salem, Massachusetts
    United States
    March 24, 2022
  • Athens International Film and Video Festival
    Athens, Ohio
    United States
    April 8, 2022
  • Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
    Durham, North Carolina
    United States
    April 7, 2022
  • Aspen Shortsfest
    Aspen, Colorado
    United States
    April 5, 2022
  • RiverRun International Film Festival
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    United States
    April 21, 2022
  • KC FilmFest International
    Kansas City, Missouri
    United States
    April 25, 2022
  • Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
    Toronto, Ontario
    Canada
    April 28, 2022
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Independent Film Festival Boston
    Boston, Massachusetts
    United States
    April 27, 2022
  • Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
    Minneapolis St. Paul
    United States
    May 5, 2022
    Honorable Mention
  • Mountainfilm
    Telluride, Colorado
    United States
    May 26, 2022
  • Atlanta Docufest
    Atlanta, Georgia
    United States
    May 27, 2022
  • Northwest Folklife Festival
    Seattle, Washington
    United States
    May 27, 2022
  • DeadCenter Film Festival
    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    United States
    June 9, 2022
  • BAMCinemaFest
    Brooklyn, New York
    United States
    June 23, 2022
  • Māoriland Film Festival
    Ōtaki, Aotearoa
    United States
    June 29, 2022
  • Bentonville Film Festival
    Bentonville, Arkansas
    United States
    July 30, 2022
  • Indy Shorts International Film Festival
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    United States
    July 20, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Traverse City Film Festival
    Traverse City, Michigan
    United States
    July 27, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Woods Hole Film Festival
    Woods Hole, MA
    United States
    July 30, 2022
    Official Selection
  • LA Shorts International Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    July 30, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Regina International Film Festival and Awards
    Regina, Saskatchewan
    Canada
    August 9, 2022
    Official Selection
  • The International First Peoples Festival Présence Autochtone
    Montréal, Québec
    Canada
    August 16, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Vancouver Queer Film Festival
    Vancouver, BC
    Canada
    August 12, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada
    August 10, 2022
  • Sidewalk Film Festival
    Birmingham, Alabama
    United States
    August 27, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Edmonton International Film Festival
    Edmonton, Alberta
    Canada
    September 22, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Local Sightings Film Festival
    Seattle, WA
    United States
    September 16, 2022
    Official Selection
  • San Diego International Film Festival
    San Diego, California
    United States
    October 19, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Woodstock Film Festival
    Woodstock, NY
    United States
    October 1, 2022
    Official Selection
  • IndieCork
    Cork
    Ireland
    October 2, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
    Hot Springs, Arkansas
    United States
    October 10, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Green Film Festival of San Francisco
    San Francisco, CA
    United States
    October 6, 2022
    Official Selection
  • imagineNATIVE
    Toronto
    United States
    October 18, 2022
    Official Selection
  • World of Film International Festival Glasgow
    Glasgow
    United Kingdom
    November 5, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Cucalorus Film Festival
    Wilmington, NC
    United States
    November 17, 2022
    Official Selection
  • IDA Documentary Awards

    December 10, 2022
    Nominee - Best Short Documentary
  • Boone Docs Film Fest
    Boone, NC
    United States
    February 25, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Providence Children's Film Festival
    Providence, RI
    United States
    February 19, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Birraranga Film Festival
    Melbourne
    Australia
    March 23, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Capital City Film Festival
    Lansing, MI
    United States
    April 5, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Lane Doc Fest
    Jackson, TN
    United States
    October 7, 2023
    Winner: Environment Short Film
Distribution Information
  • Nia Tero
    Distributor
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Brit Hensel

Brit Hensel is an Oklahoma based writer and award-winning filmmaker whose work focuses on Indigenous storytelling and environmental justice. A citizen of Cherokee Nation, she was recently awarded the 4th World Indigenous Media Fellowship and is a 2022 Tulsa Artist Fellow. Previously, Brit directed the documentary films, Zibi Yajdan (2019) and Native and American (2017). Brit’s films have screened both nationally and abroad, including Māoriland Film Festival. She was awarded NeXtGen’s 30 Under 30 and was a NeXt Doc Collective Film Fellow.

In 2019, she worked as a producer for Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People, an Emmy-winning, documentary-style program featuring the people, places, history, and culture of the Cherokee Nation. Brit recently worked on the first season of the FX series, Reservation Dogs.

Brit’s work largely explores traditional Cherokee values, language, and her peoples’ connection to land in Oklahoma (former Indian Territory) and in her ancestral homelands of North Carolina (Qualla Boundary). Brit continues to use her love for storytelling to help amplify the voices and values of her community. Most importantly, she hopes her work honors and makes Cherokee people proud.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

It is important to me that this film included the perspectives of western and eastern Giduwa (Cherokee) people. Although our communities are separated by distance, our collaboration on this film offers a balanced understanding of what reciprocity means to our people and how it’s actualized in our lives. This film was brought to life by a team of all Giduwa people, in front of and behind the camera, and was shot on lands that have shaped us.