New Film Follows Quest To Bring Home Native American Artifacts

Sep 13, 2016

A new documentary that premiered in Wyoming on September 9 and 10, tells the stories of three Native Americans from the Wind River Indian Reservation and their quest to find and reclaim tribal artifacts locked away in museums and other storage facilities.

Mat Hames is the director of the new film, What Was Ours, which was commissioned by Wyoming PBS. Hames says the film follows an Eastern Shoshone elder and two Northern Arapaho youths, a journalist and a powwow princess, as they track down artifacts that belonged to Native Americans at the turn of the last century.

“Things like parfleche bags, headdresses, bustles, and things of that nature,” Hames said. “And these objects, you know, all of them have a story behind them. All of them have the story that the creator of the object was trying to tell in trying to communicate through that object.”

The documentary will air nationally on the PBS’s Independent Lens Series in January, 2017, but the premiere will be in Wyoming this weekend. Hames says, that’s appropriate.

“It was important to show the film to the tribes of Wind River before the PBS airing. So we’re going to do the Wyoming premiere this weekend. And this will be the first time that we’ve showed it actually at the reservation.”

The free screenings will be held at Central Wyoming College’s Peck Theater in Riverton Friday at 7 p.m. and at the Grand Theater in Lander on Saturday at 2 p.m. Another showing of the film is schedule for October 1 in Lander.