Event: Stories I Didn’t Know: Facing a Family History
Screening & Discussion
Saturday, January 14th
6 – 8 pm
FREE Event | Free Popcorn | Cash bar
Rita Davern – Director / Producer
Ramona Stately Kitto – Film Subject / Dakota Educator
Rueben Stately Kitto – Film Subject / Musician
Description of Film and Event:
In ‘Stories I Didn’t Know’ Rita Davern begins a journey into her family history when she exposes an ugly reality at the heart of a family legend. Rita attempts to understand what happened and why to lead her on a journey that requires facing the complicated legacy of westward expansion in the U.S. Along the way she meets Ramona, a Dakota educator, and her son, Rueben, a Dakota musician and language learner. What Ramona and Reuben’s ancestors experienced because of U.S. government policies puts faces and names on this story. Rita listens and learns. She wants to find a way to put something right. We learn the value of finding and facing her past by watching her journey – one that is relatable for many Minnesotans.
Join Rita, Ramona, and Rueben as they share their experiences. Afterward, there will be a facilitated Q & A that will allow you the opportunity to ask questions in an open and safe atmosphere.
>> Please consider staying home if you feel unwell or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Dakhóta Nation. She has a BA in Dakota Art and Culture a minor in Business, and a Masters of Education with an emphasis on Teacher Leadership from Augsburg University. After 15 years directing Indian Education in Minnesota, she is now Project Director for the We Are Still Here Minnesota, creating action for narrative change. Ramona is the mother of two children, an accomplished beadwork artist with moccasins on display in the Science Museum of Minnesota, and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2016. She is a part of the scholars’ team with of the Minnesota Humanities Center’s for Learning from Place: Bdote, and the author of Pazahiyayewin’s Story (pah-Zah-hee-yah-yay-ween’s) of the Bdote as a reflection of inspiration from her Great-Great Grandmother who survived the genocidal tactics during the US Dakota War. In December 2021, she was the Recipient of the Ron McKinley Award from Minnesota Education Equity Partnership whose focus is to build equitable education spaces that uplift and empower Minnesota’s POCI students and advance racial equity and excellence in education.
Reuben Kitto Stately is a Native artist, composer and rapper who performs under the name Kitto. He is a graduate of Augsburg University with a BA in American Indian Studies. a lifelong Dakhota Language learner and Beginning language teacher at Bdote Learning Center, and member of Minnesota Indian Education Board of Directors since 2019.Reuben has been one of the leads on Learning From Place: Bdote since 2018 and is passionate about the connections of language and place. Find Reuben’s Music on Soundcloud.
Rita Davern is a 4th generation Minnesotan with cultural roots in the Burren area of County Clare, Ireland. She knows first-hand that, for U.S. people with European heritage, reconnecting to our homeland and our cultural history adds huge richness to our lives. Rita worked as a communication and leadership trainer for twenty years. When her son, Chris, became ill, she learned, and now teaches, Parenting-by-Connection, an approach that helps parents build close parent/child relationships through play. Stories I Didn’t Know is Rita’s first film. She recently completed a second film, Burren Girl, which focuses on the Ireland part of her family story, and the people who stayed behind. Both films won awards at their premieres in 2020.
This community conversation is supported in part by a grant from Southwest Initiative Foundation. Activities at Little Theatre Auditorium are funded in part by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council.