Wednesday, July 04, 2007

POV: Standing Silent Nation

Gotta love PBS... I was flipping through the channels last night and as usual there wasn't much on. I then paused a second on PBS and something about the show caught my attention... Turns out it was a really good documentary by POV (more on that later) called "Standing Silent Nation". I'm not sure how much of the beginning I missed, but I think I caught most all of it. The movie tackled several subjects, most of all I guess was the subject of hemp, but it also talked about the mistreatment of Native Americans (back then, and today), it also spoke of the issue of the "reservations" being "sovereign land".
Back to POV for a second... POV stands for "Point of View" and basically they produce documentaries. I didn't realize that it seems to be a PBS run company only. I feel like I've seen a lot of POV films, but I found their archive and don't recognize many. All, I know is that I remember that name, and I remember enjoying POV movies.
In a nutshell of this movie "Standing Silent Nation", it's about a man "Alex White Plume" and his Lakota family trying to make a profitable living by planting Hemp. Then it shows what their family has gone through at the hands of the American Government, coming in for the past 4-5 years just prior to harvest time, and raiding the farm and cutting down and taking all of the White Plume Family's crop.
There are several issues here, and this was my first introduction to them, so If I get my facts wrong, please correct me... Hemp... I had always heard of hemp, but never quite knew what it was. I thought it was what the "hippies" buy in the headshops like bracelets and T-shirts. I had heard that George Washington was a grower of hemp too. I thought it was just another word for Marijuana too. Which in a sense it is... Ok, here's what I understand so far...
Hemp is a type of plant very similar to the plant we all know as Marijuana, but with a big difference. The chemical compound inside of the Marijuana plant called THC is the "psychoactive" drug that gets people high (for medicinal and recreational use). The amount of THC in a Marijuana plant is about 20% (20% of what, I'm not sure). BUT... Hemp is different in that it contains only 1% or less of the THC drug. So little that if you smoked it nothing would happen (except you'd be damaging your lungs). So, here's the rub... our Government who used to promote American Farmers to grow hemp (see this youtube video called Hemp for Victory, produced by our Gov. in WW2), has now outlawed all growing of hemp (I think in 1937).
SO... the White Plume family thinks they found a "loop hole"... Since it is not a drug, and since they are on Sovereign land, they should be able to grow hemp on their land, without concern for the US laws. Well, the US Gov feels differently.
Man, I may have really butchered this story... you know what... Check your PBS station and look for this movie. I'm sure they will be re-playing it, and it's a great movie. Forget all I just said and just watch it :)
Here's the link to the PBS website for "Standing Silent Nation". (I'm not sure how long they keep their links active).

I support Alex White Plume's family in their attempt to grow this plant. I'm going to try and learn a little more about this too so I am not so ignorant when it comes to hemp... It really sounds like a great product.

Here's a link to wikipedia about "hemp".
FYI> A tie into today's 4th of July's celebration... Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.

1 comment:

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