Elevate Difference

Mohawk Girls

Mohawk Girls is a beautifully written and directed documentary film by Tracey Deer. Released in 2006, Deer parallels the lives of three teenage girls living on a reservation just outside of Montreal, Canada to her own experiences while struggling to grow up in a world that fails to reach out to those not living within the main steam culture. Tracey Deer says: "I wanted to know what girls today are dealing with, and how they managed to get through it."

Each girl poignantly discusses the difficulties of living within the Kahnawake community, and overcoming obstacles set before them by a society that has preconceived ideas about women, reservation life and native people. Felicia, Lauren and Amy speak to the audience in a very direct and open manner with surprising clarity. The young women all offer stunning honesty on topics such as discrimination oftentimes coming from within their own community, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, cultural differences and their hope for the future.

Mohawk Girls remarkably makes the point to the audience about what it means to be a young woman faced with cultural differences in an unforgiving world. I can't help but feel that each of these girls is already a young warrior in her own right. All are in possession of an inner strength that shines outwardly onto the people around her, and hold a true desire to create change in the world in which they live. It is the strong spirit and consciousness of this group of girls that will certainly help guide other young women move through a world filled with preconceived ideas about our place society as women, and how we arrive there.

This film is a must watch for women of all ages, as we face daily obstacles while we learn of ourselves, find our voices, educate other women around us and learn to shine in our own right. Tracey Deer left me with a single thought that I will always carry with me as it embodies the daily challenges that we as women face. "Being Native isn't only about how you feel, it's calculated by others."

Written by: Diana J. Fitzgerald, July 27th 2007