Sherenté, a Two Spirit Genderqueer teenager from Rhode Island's Narragansett tribe performs in dance competitions at annual regional powwows of New England tribes. There is no formal rule which prohibits Two Spirit Genderqueer people from competing in a category different from their birth gender. Wearing female fancy shawl regalia, Sherenté dances with joy and beauty. Behind the scenes, tribal leaders manipulate Sherenté's scores or disqualify them outright because of their belief in traditional binary gender roles. Blindsided by ongoing dishonesty and deception, Sherenté continues to perform in spite of insensitive behavior by tribal leaders and others in their community. Sherenté's enduring courage and self-respect are met with an outpouring of support from family, powwow attendees, and fellow competitors.
"A moving and deeply affecting portrait of an indigenous Two Spirit teenager." - Dana Aliya Levnison, GLAAD
"This film is moving, powerful, and beautifully shot, but the most important thing it has to offer is its lesson for all of us: that our kids, especially kids like Sherenté, can teach us more about empathy and history than we ever hoped to know. Highly Recommended." - The Sound View
- Sherente Harris
Additional interviews with Sherenté and parents Eleanor and Thawn Harris.
Sound: 2.0 Stereo
- "Sherente's story is revelatory and powerful. A must-see."
- "There are still vanishingly few films which touch on Native American issues at all so this has significant value...."
- "Being Thunder is a welcome and insightful portrait of Two-Spiritedness that uses Sherenté’s openness and resilience to explore a facet of both the rainbow and Indigenous culture that remains under-examined in film and media. Sherenté provides a worthy role model for queer youths."
- "While many Native American tribes embrace Two-spirit souls, the indigenous term for people who embody both masculine and feminine qualities, the moving documentary “Being Thunder” shows that gender expansive people face as much discrimination in indigenous communities as they do in other parts of society. "
- "Being Thunder is a meditative, unintrusive documentary about a courageous Indigenous teenager who unapologetically strives for greatness against all types of resistance."
- "It's an impressive depiction of the culture, as well as a powerful exploration of a range of urgent themes."
- " There’s color and diversity and joy in a doc that looks forward into the future."
Awards & Recognition
Inside Out Film Festival
American Indian Film Festival
Jury Award – Honorable Mention Documentary Feature
Durango Film: An Independent Film Festival