Reports of forced sterilization of Native American women began to surface in the 1970s.* Of the 100,000 to 150,000 Native American women of childbearing age during this period anywhere between 3,400 to 70,000 of these women were involuntarily sterilized through tubal ligation or hysterectomy.* The numbers cannot be accurately known due to poor record keeping but many believe the number to closer to 70,000. Many women were not given a choice to refuse to undergo the sterilization procedure. Many were manipulated into thinking that they would risk losing their welfare aid or even their lives should they refuse to undergo a sterilization procedure. Recent evidence has suggested that the procedure was often carried out under the pretence of other operations, routine check ups or during emergency surgery relating to pregnancy or abortion when the women were experiencing high stress. Many of the victims didn't know they were sterilized until years afterwards.
There is further evidence that the sterilizations had an appreciable effect on the fertility rates of Native American women. In the 1970s, the average birth rate of Native American women was 3.79 children, but by 1980 the birth rate had fallen to 1.8 children.*
These practices have adversely affected many Native communities contributing to high rates of depression, alcoholism, family trauma and personal shame. The time is now for these women to be listened to and for the United States government to recognise and apologise for the pain and suffering caused by these practices.
* "Investigation of Allegations Concerning Indian Health Service". Government Accountability Office. November 4, 1976. Addressed to the Honourable Senator James Abourezk.
* Sally Torpy, “Endangered Species: Native American Women’s Struggle for Their Reproductive Rights and Racial Identity, 1970 to 1980s” (Master’s Thesis, University of Nebraska, Omaha, 1998.)
* Lawrence, Jane (2000). "The Sterilization of Native American Women". American Indian Quarterly.
Amá is a documentary by Lorna Tucker about the sterilization abuses of Native American women across the United States during the last sixty years.
In Amá we discover the story of Jean Whitehorse, a Navajo woman from New Mexico. Jean lets us into her life and through single interviews and observational filming Jean leads us through the events that led up to her being sterilized and the disastrous affect it had on her life.
Amá sheds new light on the Native American story and sets up the context of the twenty-first century obsession with the 'War on Poverty' and the radical and often unregulated medical practices employed against the Native female population. Amá brings the past and the present together in a film that manages to be contemporary and timely.
It is estimated over a twenty year period between 1960 and 1980 that tens of thousands of Native American women were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Due to poor record keeping during this era the number may in fact be much higher. Many of these women went to their graves having suffered this incredible abuse of power. We will petition the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to introduce a bill calling for a public apology to the individuals and their Tribal Nations.
We ask individuals around the world to stand by the victims of this horrific abuse by signing our petition.
Please sign the petition at CHANGE.ORG - link below.
Lorna Tucker (Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist) explores this dark chapter in History, piecing together a tragic story of the destruction of Native American families where children were removed from their families and thousands of women sterilised without their consent. Along the way she finds a growing number of women ready to confront the pain of the past.
A classically trained British theatre actor, Academy Award winner Colin Firth is a veteran of film, television and theatre, with an impressive body of work spanning over three decades. He has appeared in three films that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture: THE KING’S SPEECH, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, and THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Colin’s performance as King George VI in THE KING’S SPEECH garnered him an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, British Independent Film Award, Critics’ Choice Award and his second consecutive BAFTA Award in 2011. Colin also won the BAFTA Award in 2010 and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 2009 Venice Film Festival for his performance in Tom Ford’s A SINGLE MAN. In 2008, Colin starred in Universal Pictures’ global smash hit MAMMA MIA!, in the Universal/Working Title hit film series BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY, and in the Universal hit LOVE ACTUALLY. In 2012 Colin was seen in Tomas Alfredson’s TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY opposite Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy. The film garnered three Academy Award nominations including ‘Best Writing’ and won the 2012 BAFTA Film Award for ‘Outstanding British Film’ and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay.’ In 2013 Colin was seen in THE RAILWAY MAN, and in 2014 in Woody Allen’s MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, opposite Emma Stone. The same year he starred in KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE, directed by Matthew Vaughn. Colin can be seen seen in GENIUS, which premiered at last year’s Berlin International Film Festival and stars Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, and Vanessa Kirby.
On the small screen, Colin is best known for his breakout role in as Mr. Darcy in the BBC adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor and the National Television Award for Most Popular Actor. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2001 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the critically acclaimed HBO film CONSPIRACY and also received the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award and a BAFTA nomination for his performance in TUMBLEDOWN. His London stage debut was in the West End production of ANOTHER COUNTRY playing Guy Bennett.
Colin also starred as Mark Darcy in the much-anticipated film BRIDGET JONES’S BABY which was released in September 2016 and received rave reviews.
Colin returned as Harry Hart in the action hit film KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE last year, starring alongside Halle Berry and Channing Tatum.
EYE IN THE SKY was released on April 15th 2016 and is Colin’s first film produced and distributed by his production company, Raindog Films, with partner Ged Doherty. Most recently Raindog Films produced the British-American feature LOVING, a true-life drama about interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving, which was inspired by Nancy Buirski’s Emmy Award-winning documentary, The Loving Story. The film was released in November 2016 and was nominated in both Best Actress and Best Actor categories at the 74th Golden Globe Awards. The film was also selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
This year has seen Colin star alongside Rachel Weisz and David Thewlis in THE MERCY, a film about the yachtsman, Donald Crowhurst who attempts to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race. Colin has most recently been seen in THE HAPPY PRINCE opposite Rupert Everett. The film follows the untold story of the last days in the tragic times of the famed writer.
Colin has recently reprised the role of Harry in the iconic musical sequel MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN! The film was released on 20th July in the UK. In December, Colin will play William Weatherall Wilkins in MARY POPPINS RETURNS alongside Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw, Angela Lansbury and Dick Van Dyke.
Also on the slate is KURSK, which follows the 2000 K-141 Kursk submarine disaster. Colin will be seen alongside Léa Seydoux.
It has recently been announced that Colin will star alongside Julie Walters in THE SECRET GARDEN. Jack Thorne’s screenplay adaptation will be directed by BAFTA-winning Marc Munden.
Colin is an active supporter of Oxfam International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world.
Founding Partner of Raindog Films; Ged Doherty established the British film production company alongside BAFTA and Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth in 2012. Based in London, the company’s debut feature Eye in the Sky, starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Alan Rickman, was theatrically released in the spring of 2016 to critical acclaim and commercial success, making the U.S. box office Top 10. It also reached number 2 in the UK Box office and was a big hit.
Their second film Loving, an interracial love story written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter), starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, was released theatrically in the US in November 2016 where it reached the Top 10. Loving has garnered critical acclaim since its release, winning the prestigious Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, and earning Ruth Negga an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her role as Mildred Loving.
Most recently, Doherty has just completed his third feature film; Official Secrets, based on the true story of British Intelligence whistle-blower Katharine Gun, and her leak of an NSA memo during the run up to the Iraq War. The film stars Keira Knightly, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, and Matthew Goode. It is scheduled for release in 2019.
As a Production Supervisor at Embargo Films Nuala O'Leary worked on British independent feature films I, ANNA, PUSHER and THE SWEENEY, and in an associate producer role on Catherine Hardwicke’s MISS YOU ALREADY starring Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette. In 2014 Nuala joined Raindog Films in a Creative Executive capacity, helping to oversee final delivery on the critically acclaimed feature film EYE IN THE SKY and work alongside Ged Doherty to develop a TV Series pitch based on the film. While with Raindog Films Nuala was introduced to Lorna Tucker’s documentary AMA, then still in the process of being shot. Nuala took on a producing role, helping to shape the film into post-production. Before leaving Raindog Films, Nuala was across preparations for the feature film project OFFICIAL SECRETS, a taut thriller based on real-world events. It is set for a cinema release in 2019 and stars Keira Knightly.
Nuala joined the explosive TV action show STRIKE BACK in early 2017 made by Leftbank Pictures for Sky and HBO Cinemax, producing twelve episodes of the show across two seasons. Nuala now steps up into a Series Producer role, overseeing season eight of the show that shoots May 2019.
Claire Ferguson is known for her work on Nick Broomfield's Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (Amnesty International Doen award and Tribeca winner), Concert for George (Grammy winner), The End Of the Line (Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee, Puma Social Impact Award winner) and Growing Up Down's (International Emmy nominee) among others. She has extensive experience in music-based documentaries including directing The Concert for Bangladesh Revisited with George Harrison and Friends and The Beatles in Help! for Apple Corps. Recently she directed the internationally critically-acclaimed, Grierson nominated documentary feature Destination Unknown.
If you can't see a screening of Amá near you, then we can help you organise your own!
Please contact us if you would like to organise a screening or if you have any questions, at firstname.lastname@example.org with Amá in the subject line.
By booking your screening after our official release date (December 2018), we can assist with helping promote your screening by advertising it on our website, Facebook and in our newsletters.
We can also help to arrange a Q&A with the filmmakers. This will incur extra costs however, which may include travel expenses.
Following the film’s premiere in London and at the Global Health Film Festival we want to take the film to as big and as influential audience in the USA as possible. We are raising money to do this. If you are an American tax payer you can make a 501 (c) donation through the International Documentary Association. Click on the link below. If you are in the UK, and could like to support the outreach campaign, please contact Christo@dartmouthfilms.com
Amá is picked up by Dartmouth Films for distribution.
We are pleased to announce that Dartmouth Films will be distributing Amá. More information soon. www.dartmouthfilms.com