Non Western review – heartfelt reflection on marriage and Native American identity

The past grapples uneasily with present as director Laura Plancarte examines the tests facing a couple as they plan their wedding in the rural west

Thaddeus and Nanci, the subjects of Laura Plancarte’s intimate documentary, make for an idiosyncratic couple. While the bubbly Nanci has a natural, charismatic openness, Thaddeus is much more elusive and reserved. Still, their differences run deeper than a matter of contrasting personalities. Thaddeus, born into the Northern Cheyenne tribe, was removed from his Native American community at a young age. Meanwhile, Nanci, who is white, grew up on a Lakota reservation.

Despite the differences in their backgrounds, what Nanci and Thaddeus do share – apart from their love for each other – is a difficult childhood, marred by domestic abuse and financial precariousness – the same stories of disenfranchisement that ripple through generations of Native Americans living in Montana. Conversations that Thaddeus and Nanci have with their friends and neighbours make free mention of suicide and addiction, spoken with a tragic matter-of-factness.

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