On February 12, I have the honor of leading a group discussion after a screening of Breaker Morant at Sisters Movie House. This is part of the Sisters Community Church Creativity, Culture & Faith series, an outreach program that invites members of the broader community to engage on thorny moral and ethical questions accessed through films.
I love this sort of thing, and of course Breaker Morant is right in the wheelhouse.
I have become friends with Pastor Steve Stratos, who is now studying karate with me, and I have a lot of respect for what he’s trying to accomplish here: Bringing his church community out of what can be an insular bubble; seeking engagement with a broader community that often ghettoizes faith; and, most of all, taking on tough topics that don’t have simple, facile answers.
In an environment where we are increasingly silo’d in our media intake, it’s critical we learn — or re-learn — how to discuss, debate and even argue with people of different backgrounds and outlooks. I am most eager to see how people react to the questions of morality in a dirty Frontier Partisan war.
Breaker was a bush poet. Murray Hartin works today in that tradition. Hat tip to the website DieLiving.com for the lead on this poem, which addresses the crisis of farm and ranch suicides. Failure is a bad season away for family-owned outfits, and that failure is not like losing a job — it’s the loss of identity, a way of life, a legacy. My maternal grandfather had to leave the family ranch in North Dakota during the Depression and move to Southern California due to economic conditions — and the fact that his father, who had lost an arm in a combine, had had another accident that broke his back. He long hoped to return to the land, but it never happened.
The fight at the Little Bighorn continues to get docudrama treatment. The trailer for this one dropped last week.
On the morning of June 25th 1876, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer made a fateful decision to attack a large Native American village camped on the banks of the Little Big Horn River. It was a decision that would cost him his life, the lives of 262 of his men, and the lives of over 60 Native Americans defending their right to live free. Myths, mysteries, and legends of this fight have grown for over 142 years, elevating a lonely patch of dirt and grass, dotted with white and brown tombstones, to mythological proportions. How did this apocalyptic clash of cultures happen? What is true, and what is conjecture? What really happened? Experience the entire battle in a way that has never been done before using a combination of narration, narrative filmmaking, and a 3D design of the entire battlefield.
After the critically acclaimed release of Chris Hoffert’s short documentary “Contested Ground” for author Steve Adelson’s “Little Bighorn, Voices From A Distant Wind,” it became apparent to Chris, and his fellow historians, that there was so much more of the story to tell and too much misinformation out there on the battle. Award winning director and Little Big Horn historian Chris Hoffert presents the most comprehensive visual study of the battle that has ever been seen. It will be unbiased, unabashed, and unforgettable.
Season 5 of Outlander premiers on February 16. Events of this season will unfold around the War of the Regulation in North Carolina, which featured a pitched battle at Alamance in 1771 between Regulators and North Carolina militia. The conflict was a popular uprising pitting colonial settlers against what they viewed as a corrupt government. There was an element of class warfare and also a divide between frontier backcountry settlers and the eastern establishment. There is a range of historical opinion on the uprising, with some seeing it as a harbinger of the American Revolution and some finding it a significant but localized conflict with few real implications for the great conflagration to come.
The American Revolution Podcast has an episode on the affair here.
The term “Regulator” in reference to an armed faction in a social would crop up again and again across the frontier, from the Regulator vs. Moderator War in East Texas in the 1830s and ’40s to the Lincoln County War in New Mexico in the 1870s.