We are on an amazing exploration – a journey to finally give credit to a brave woman. Like the Lewis and Clark Expedition, it is a literal Journey of Discovery…
But it can also be described metaphorically with its harrowing ups and downs. The snow-capped mountain peaks and deep, narrow valleys – the dangerous and unpredictable waterways and thunderous, life-threatening weather. It is a tenuous trek as we make our way.
But, we are undaunted, connecting to the right “guides,” the right timing and taking the leaps of “Faith” that send our sunbeams over the highest mountaintops.
This is a journey of intense determination as we have set our compass on a cinematic course – a path to share this story through film with the world.
Sometimes it is hard, but we have never lost sight of the prize. And, those of you who encourage us, support us and keep us going are vital to our success. We thank you!
So, what about this Windcatcher, Sacajawea? Who would have ever believed, or predicted, that a girl of 16 years old would be so loved today by people around the globe?
Yes, the backdrop is Lewis and Clark, but have you ever thought about what would possess two young captains to actually agree to bring a baby and his mother into unknown territory? (“Unknown” to them, but not to her.) And, if they had not brought them, would the soldiers have been killed along the way? Would they have convinced the Shoshoni to give them horses for the trek over the mountains? Would they have had the same joyful morale without that “little dancing boy” to delight them? I think not.
This is an important story for us all. We are hopeful that in this new year, 2022, we will rise above the wind and finally reach the Great Water.
Scene from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher After a harrowing trek, near-starvation and dangerous conditions, the explorers finally make it across the treacherous mountains led by Old Toby, the Shoshoni guide. Their clothes are rotting off their backs – their moccasins worn through, and the lack of food and water has made them weak and vulnerable. But then, their guide sees the crooked tree trunk, affirming the trail. He points ahead… and they continue to trudge onward on a worn path through the trees until they arrive at an abandoned Indian village.
Sacajawea and the men are exhausted, the baby is hungry and crying. A large pack of wild dogs yelp and run around them, pulling at their clothes, sniffing the packs…
Then, without warning, a band of Nez Perce warriors with spears raised, rush the group, threatening to kill them, grabbing for their guns – intensity rises. But, an elder woman of the tribe, Watkuweis, a shaman, comes forward, wielding authority…. She protects the explorers, rattling the animal sculls on her staff and singing a high-pitched trill.
In that moment, not only does the woman see Sacajawea with her eyes – she also sees her heart through a greater vision. Watkuweis touches Sacajawea’s chest and says, “Your spirit is weak…”
We know something about Sacajawea and her people, through her respect for her elders – both for her chief, Cameahwait, and the shaman. As the story goes, Sacajawea had just faced a devastating disappointment and loss that forced her to arrive at this place.
But the shaman already knew Sacajawea was coming, and she had a prophesy for her that would change her life. Though it was cryptic and seemed filled with the unknown in this moment – by the end of the story, the one thing Sacajawea cherished the most, would be protected by it.
Being shown the vision of her own hurting spirit gave Sacajawea determination, as Watkuweis told her, “Your hurt will lead you to another.” The elder woman saw far beyond where Sacajawea was in that moment – and Sacajawea honored the elder by trusting her wisdom without hesitation, despite the darkness of her circumstances.
What would life be like without the darkness? The darkness gives us depth perception, choice and opportunity. Without darkness, we could not, nor would not, appreciate the light. Be thankful and grateful in all things.
And keep walking…*
These words came from our journey to tell the story of Sacajawea. The depth of her sorrow, the sadness and disappointment formed a great lesson for each of us. She saw through transparent vision, because of her respect for her elders, to carry-on, to be more than what she felt, to look past what her immediate situation was showing her. Therefore, we remember this young Shoshoni girl, and it is one reason we believe, and know, her story WILL be shared, in the perfect timing, with the entire world.
*From the book, “Awakening” the lessons learned from Sacajawea and our journey.
When Sacajawea was a little girl, she was kidnapped, abused and heartsick. She had to live with people she didn’t know. Yet the Great Spirit was showing her something, for her heart was known…
What Sacajawea felt and saw, and what she chose to do helped her become the person she needed to be. For she was given a unique and magnificent purpose that transcended her lifetime.
What we do on this earth is only part of what we bring to generations. The body is merely temporal – our energy, our spirit, our vibration lasts an eternity.
Sacajawea has continued her journey for over 200 years. She still walks toward her purpose through the hearts of those who are open to learn and to listen. The days we breathe are the days we learn, and the revelations we awaken to, are what we bring to eternity. That is what ignites love in the world.
It is Sacajawea’s destiny to stoke the fire through her story and her light. It is our destiny, too.
Captain William Clark wrote this to Sacajawea’s husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, in 1806:
“[Y]our woman who accompanied you that long dangerousand fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserveda greater reward for her attention and services onthat rout than we had in our power to give her…”
People of America, we have in our power today to give Sacajawea the acknowledgement and reward she deserves.
I am so very proud and humbled to welcome Leo T. Ariwite, to the Sacajawea production team as Associate Producer. Leo has been on the production for many years as an adviser. He has given us a powerful endorsement that we have cherished for over seven years. Up until now, his quote has only been shared confidentially, but as our Shoshoni liaison, Leo has given us permission to now share it with the world (read it below).
With the telling of her story,Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, we wish to illuminate her quest, and the quest of her People, the Agai’dika Shoshoni.
The “heart” of this production is the spirit of Sacajawea and her love for her People. This journey transcends time and space. It is mesmerizing and astonishing how this incredible path has unfolded, intersecting lives from 200 years ago, with lives from today.
In 2004, while researching for the script, I came across a petition by Leo. This was during the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition. In the document, the Agai’dika Shoshoni People were petitioning the Federal government to acknowledge their People and return to them their sacred mountains and the Salmon River and Lemhi River areas in Idaho. Their requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Over these many years, since our initial contact in 2004, we have met with Leo four times (twice at Fort Hall, Idaho, once at Sacajawea’s birthplace in Salmon, Idaho and in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2019). Leo is a valuable adviser, establishing authenticity, and he’s a credible advocate for the project. As a direct descendant of Sacajawea, he is the inspiration we’ve needed through some difficult times, always encouraging us to keep going.
On July 13, 2013, I received this email from Leo. It is his response to the unyielding force that has driven this Sacajawea project now for 17 years.
“Jane, Your endeavors have brought you to our doorstep and now that the door has opened we must take this journey together as did our people, when ‘they’ came into our country back in 1804/05.
Your quest is still before us as is our journey to return home, and it is with open hearts that we take this walk forward together and re-tell this epic journey in the truthfulness of both our histories. I am proud to say there is now a light at the end of that long dark tunnel, a future and a place we can call home. I am grateful for all the work you have done as I have been on this road and now it seems that I have company (you) to educate this great country of our rich heritage.
Perhaps this is a journey we can all complete as friends and as a people and as a country to learn about how my people opened this country to what it is today, the United States of America. People of all races and nationalities can look at ‘Sacajawea’ and say we came and established ourselves such as she did, and are proud to be Americans.
Please let me know what it is you would want of me and how I may be able to help in this great cause.
Friends always, Leo T. Ariwite, Agai’dika Shoshoni”
As a country, this is the least we can do for this woman who gave of herself in so many meaningful ways. We must come together, we must rise to a higher place and do the right thing for Indigenous People. This is the “greater reward” Captain Clark could not give.
You can join this quest of “two centuries.” You can be a part of history and changing our world. You can help to share the truth about this part of our journey and shine a light on the discrimination of the past toward Native Americans and toward women – discrimination that is still with us today. We must stand together! Sacajawea, The Windcatcher is OUR story, an American story, it is only fitting that WE tell it together! And, it is a story for the world!
Thank you, Leo, for your Indigenous wisdom and dynamic support. Thank you for your calm determination. We formally welcome you to our team!
A great vision is needed and the one who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. ~Ta Shunke Witko
In an eagle there is all the wisdom of the world. ~Lame Deer
I am in awe and wonder at Indigenous wisdom and I am so very grateful… During the four years of writing the screenplay, Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, I noticed a bald eagle flying back and forth, nearly every day, across the field outside my office window. He was there in the morning and the evening, always landing on the very top branch of the same evergreen tree. He would slowly turn to survey his domain, so regal, so empowered by his surroundings. It was a mystical wonder, though at the time I did not fully understand why…
But, my research began to show the way. I learned that many Indigenous cultures give names, or take their names, from something they have accomplished or something that has meaning to their personal or spiritual lives. Historical records show that SacaGawea’s name was originally given to her by the Hidatsa people who captured her. The meaning of her name was, “Bird Woman.” So, I knew the birds, the raptors, the flying beings were significant somehow in her life. The Hidatsa saw it and honored it, so her story must honor it, too. I came to understand and believe the eagle was showing me.
This energy within the Sacajawea story grew and evolved as the words came to life, as her character and person began to come forth, and as more magnificent wonders were shown to us as we continued to walk. Symbolically, in the story, the eagle became Sacajawea’s Spiritual guide. He waited at the top of the trees above her… he came to her when she called. And her spirit was embraced, in her heartache, by his tender care.
MYSTICAL WONDERS: While writing this post, I wanted to find a picture of the tree the eagle landed on, near my home. I had to search through the photos from years and years ago… suddenly I was taken aback, in awe. I remembered snapping the picture and at the time not thinking about the tree. It was the rainbow that attracted me then. But this is how Spirit works, it gets our attention… and if we listen and act on our intuition (even though we don’t know everything), later – even years later – the reasons are revealed. You see, in this photo, it is not the rainbow that is the true meaning for us today as I write about the eagle. It is the eagle’s tree and how creation’s rainbow shines upon it. It is an affirmation that we can claim, at this moment, that we are on the right path.
We are truly humbled and blessed by these intricate, Spiritual messages that continue to shine a brilliant light on Indigenous beliefs, cultures and traditions that benefit us all. Through these revelations, I believe Sacajawea is showing us something remarkable, a healing power that will lift up people of the world. It is not about the color of our skin, our ethnicity or anything else – it is about our Universal Spirituality and remembering our Oneness with each other, and respect for the Earth.
Let us soar together on eagle’s wings…
Here are some of the many eagles that have personally led us on this powerful path:
Sacajawea, TheWindcatcher, an International feature film project about the life of Sacajawea, is proud to welcome Kaären F. Ochoa to the production team, as Director.
Kaären is an award-winning filmmaker, with three DGA Award nominations, the New Mexico Women in Film Sage Award for dedication and leadership in the film industry, and induction into the New Mexico Film & Television Hall of Fame this year. Two documentaries she wrote and field directed, as part of the La Raza Series for ABC/McGraw-Hill, were nominated for the Peabody Award.
With over 30 years in the film industry, Kaären has the knowledge and expertise to bring the character of Sacajawea to life – her history, power, perseverance and passion – all seen from Sacajawea’s perspective – on one of the most significant journeys in United States history.
“Jane Fitzpatrick has written a compelling and suspenseful script that allows us a window into the life and world of Sacajawea as she might have experienced it. A natural world that was wild and beautiful, capricious and often terrifying. A world that was known by the Native people who lived and died, summered and wintered, hunted and birthed within it, but was ‘unknown’ by late-arriving white men who had not yet travelled and trampled it. In this portrayal, Sacajawea is not defined by Lewis and Clark’s expedition, their expedition is defined by Sacajawea.”
~ Kaären F. Ochoa
A member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) since 1986, Kaären has worked as Assistant Director on such films as Milagro Beanfield War and A River RunsThrough It, both with Robert Redford directing; Crazy Heart, directed by Scott Cooper, with Jeff Bridges; Appaloosa, directed by Ed Harris; Selena, directed by Gregory Nava with Jennifer Lopez; Georgia O’Keeffe, directed by Bob Balaban, with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons and most recently, the Disney film Stargirl. Her television work includes the mini-series Return to Lonesome Dove, Crazy Horse and Into the West. She AD’d the pilots for Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight and Season 2 of The Girlfriend Experience. As Unit Production Manager for Proof of Life, directed by Taylor Hackford, with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, she spent a year in Ecuador in 2000. In 2011, she was the U.S. Line Producer/UPM on the feature Gambit, starring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz.
Kaären’s career began in Los Angeles as a writer, co-producer and director on documentaries and children’s films for ABC and PBS. She became a member of the newly formed Women in Film in Los Angeles and later a founder of New Mexico Women in Film, a board member for many years and past president. Since directing three short films, her current writing projects include the rewrite of a feature film in development, which would be her next directing project after Sacajawea, The Windcatcher.
Kaären has enjoyed mentoring other women and men, including many who are now active, long-time filmmakers. She is most proud of her daughter, 1st AD Chemen Ochoa, and her son, David Ochoa, who are both professionals in the film industry.
A mesa top, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, is home to Kaären and her husband, artist Doug Coffin (Potowatomi/Creek), where they enjoy good wine from their cellar and the beautiful views of Georgia O’Keeffe country. The entire Sacajawea production team welcomes Kaären F. Ochoa to the project, as they continue onward to produce this worldwide, epic film.
Darkness revealing light is what Sacajawea’s life shows us… She was a Native American woman from 1805. She was a stolen child, an orphan, a slave – abused and forced in so many ways.
Sacajawea had no voice and she saw hardship throughout her young days. She was sometimes sick and mostly sad, and her husband tried at every turn to control her fate based on his own selfish Will.
Throughout Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, we sense that this young woman’s greater self is at work. Yes, she uses her knowledge of tradition, ceremony and Mother Earth to be an important and valuable member of the expedition. But, we also sense something deeper – she claims a great wisdom in her spirit, even before she knows it. She walks this dark, harrowing quest, until she awakens to the sun and finds it is her own brilliant light.
We are going through the darkness right now in our own lives. But, it is different than usual, because we are all, collectively, walking together with the same pain, sadness, worry and fear with COVID-19… It is a wonder how we can be so at odds, when we could choose to awaken and love each other, no matter what. If we claimed our wisdom, we would find a light to guide us out of this place together.
History tells us, life was not easy or perfect for Sacajawea. And, though she may not have understood it in words, her Elders had taught her from a young age about the darkness and the light on EVERY path. It didn’t matter what was happening around her, she came to believe she was walking where she was called to go. I wonder if she ever imagined that her illuminating light would be seen for generations – that her spirit would be felt, for all time!
Through the darkest spaces, Sacajawea continues to see the sun…and so can we. Come with us, let us walk toward that sun, let us learn through our darkest times that we are all One, and we can get through this together. Let us become aware of our own magnificent and transparent Light. ~ Spirit Wind
Sacajawea The Movie, LLC, and the production team, are proud to welcome Mr. Martin Nuza as Senior Producer, for the production of Sacajawea, The Windcatcher.
Martin brings a powerful leadership background to this epic project, having worked in the film industry since 2005. He is an International, award-winning screenwriter, producer and director of documentary and feature film productions. In addition, Martin is also a published author having two novels published in the United Kingdom. Promises: The Mason Ordeal ISBN 075411-371-X (Minerva Press) UK in 2002, and Promises: Emily’s Harrowing story ISBN 978 1 84693 0379 (Best Publishing) UK in 2007.
In February 2020, Martin won “Best Original Story” & “Best Screenplay” awards at the “Vegas Movie Awards” film festival for his screenplay A Cannibal Mind. Many of Martin’s films are based on historical events, including Historical WWII documentaries such as Operation Felix in 2007 and Operation Tracer in 2012, which he produced and directed. In 2019, he wrote and produced The Woods Encounters, directed by Pedro Sanchez Roman. The film won many International top awards, and on two occasions, Martin won the top “Best Producer” award from the “Oniros Film Awards,” in Italy, and again at the “Vegas Movie Awards” in the States, in July 2020. In 2019, Martin was Executive Producer for the award-winning feature film, The Shepherd, by Laszlo Illes, which won many top International awards. He was also Executive Producer for the award-winning feature film Scotland, by Manish Vatssalaya, which also won many top International awards, and it was selected for the first round of the “92nd Academy Awards” in 2020, for best picture, along with 331 other feature films. These are just a few award-winning productions from Martin’s incredible background. He is currently producing the feature film, Capture the Flag, directed by Massimiliano Cerchi and written by Earl Tom Devere & Nikki Durbin, as senior producer for Dragonslayer Entertainment LLC.
After over ten years, striving to bring this story to fruition, the Sacajawea production team is truly humbled and grateful that Martin Nuza, a visionary and film professional, has joined the project. When they first communicated, Martin saw the innate, spiritual message in Sacajawea’s story. His passion for the project will ignite the team and guide them as they continue their quest to bring this young explorer’s life to film. Martin’s words say it best:
“Let us make an epic movie and inspire the world. God Bless.” ~Martin Nuza
Sacajawea’s life has never been portrayed in a feature film and it deserves a worthy International team. The producers believe Martin will take this production to the highest epic level, shining a bright light on a message of hope, Oneness, peace and respect for the earth.
ONWARD! We soar on eagle’s wings!
For more about Martin and his magnificent career, please visit the Internet Movie Database: IMDB
Boinair (Sacajawea) faced many hardships in her life. Though we have spoken of them before in this blog, we want to look at her life in a different way. It is 1800, in the early morning hours of a dark, sad day. Boinair has been stolen away from those she loves.
When she awakens, she finds her wrists and ankles are bound, and she is tied to a tree. Young women and children sob and cry around her, they are hungry and hurting both inside and out. Through yesterday’s chaos, Boinair remembers catching sight of her mother and grandmother, and wonders if she will ever see them again… Her world has turned dark, and she can only think of one thing – how to escape!
Thoughts for today…
“If Sacajawea’s life had been easy, we may never have seen her spirit revealed to us in our time. She may never have become the icon she is today, to the children’s children of the world.”
If she had grown up on the prairie and the mountains, married her betrothed, had children and lived happily-ever-after, we most likely would never have heard her name – and her existence would have been lost in time.
Ironically, it is the darkness around her that made us aware of her light. She was stolen away – and in that terrible moment, our story began…
Sacajawea’s trials and tribulations opened doors that she never imaged existed. She knew her Spirit was unstoppable because she was able to recognize a powerful path through the darkness by Being the light, and that is a divine trait.
She was strong to stand her ground, and even though she was a Native American woman in 1805, with all the injustice and prejudice around her, she refused to succumb to it. Sacajawea was “awake and aware.” Her ego did not guide her, for she knew she had a higher calling, from a higher Being, and there was a higher ground to walk.
It is a choice we make when we see something greater in ourselves and in humanity. Though, like Sacajawea’s life, our world seems chaotic at the moment. But, nothing is more powerful than our own choice to change it.
We are so happy and grateful to be sharing this wonderful news about Sacajawea, The Windcatcher. We welcome to our team, Randy Hillman, Vice President of Financial Development at Dragonslayer Entertainment LLC. He is also a consultant and independent contractor for films unrelated to Dragonslayer.
Randy has some amazing connections and he’s made dynamic steps for the Sacajawea production! In fact, we believe great news is just around the corner with exciting times ahead.
I want to thank Randy for his truly sincere character and knowledge. He has been wonderful to work with and we’ve enjoyed hearing stories from his long career in film. He’s walking a spiritual journey and that touches me, personally, and our entire team.
Watch for things to be happening! Watch for doors to be opening! Watch for the miracles that are already here! Thank you, Randy Hillman, you are a miracle!