Young Lakota

Cecelia Fire Thunder has just been elected the first female president of the Oglala Lakota Nation on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. For Sunny Clifford, who works at the grocery store on the reservation, Cecelia’s forceful articulation of women’s rights speaks directly to Sunny’s inchoate dream of helping to change the harsh world around her. Through Cecelia’s leadership, Sunny, her twin sister Serena, and their neighbor Brandon discover the principles of women’s rights. Their political awakening deepens when the state passes a law criminalizing abortion with no exception for rape or incest and Fire Thunder retaliates by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation. Fire Thunder’s political enemies, with outside support from pro-life groups, play ‘the abortion card’ and immediately impeach her, setting off a chain reaction that divides the three young Lakotas. While Brandon takes a job with Cecelia’s opponent, Alex White Plume, Sunny and Serena continue to support Cecelia as she runs to re-gain her seat. As the tribal election and state vote on the abortion ban gain momentum, Sunny watches Brandon gradually abandon his ideals; in contrast, she grows in conviction and emotional strength. Finally, when the tribal election results in a complete debacle, Brandon is left jobless and lost, while Sunny and Serena’s decision to hew to principle leads to their first political victory–the defeat of the abortion ban