Philbert McCleod, an elder of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, has lived on the isolated Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming all his life. He left only once, to fight in Vietnam, where he nearly died in three terrifying helicopter crashes. What helped him survive? Philbert believes an old beaded charm passed down to him by an elder saved his life. He had much taken from him by the war, but the charm has grounded him for more than 40 years. Artifacts like it have largely disappeared as the reservation, like Philbert, has endured a legacy of devastation dating back to Wind River’s inception.
When a movement starts up on Wind River to reclaim what's been lost, Philbert is swept along. Reluctant at first, the experience unleashes not the bad spirits he feared but a reconnection with his past that makes him stronger. He and other elders want youth like high school student Mikala and young journalist Jordan, both members of the Northern Arapaho tribe who also call Wind River home, to know who they are and to be inspired to bring home the artifacts which were taken away long ago. With Mikala and Jordan, Philbert journeys off the reservation for the first time since 1967 to explore Wind River's artifacts and learn how they vanished in the first place.
Weaving past and present, reality and myth, What Was Ours captures the sparks of an awakening as the youth search for ways to recover what's been lost.
- Mat HamesProducer/Director
- Beth HamesExecutive Producer
- Jordan DresserCo-Producer