‘Neither Wolf Nor Dog’


Dave Bald Eagle plays Dan in “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” Courtesy of Roaring Fire Films press kit.

Jessica Carvajal Castillo

The film “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” follows main character Dan (Dave Bald Eagle), the elder of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Dan calls Kent Nerburn (Christopher Sweeny) to come to the reservation to write a story about his life because Nerburn had previously written a children’s book with stories from a different Indian Reservation. Initially, Nerburn hesitates to say yes to Dan, but remembers a promise he made to his deceased dad to be a helpful person.

A big part of the film that stood out was the cultural aspect. The Native Americans in the film were passionate about their beliefs, and we could see this from the way they interacted with one another. For example, Nerburn gets offered a cigarette and turns it down, but then Dan says “you never turn down a gift.” Even though Nerburn doesn’t smoke, it’s disrespectful to turn down a gift in Native American culture.

A big problem for me in the film was that they kept touching on racism. They kept blaming the “white people” for doing things to them and their land. I think they could have phrased it differently. I see why they talked about it, as it was necessary for Nerburn to understand what Dan was trying to show him. Dan was trying to show Nerburn what the first people did to his people so that he would understand their way of life.

I think they could have used a different approach when talking about other races, for example, instead of saying “your people,” they could have said “the first settlers” or “ancestors.”

In a phone interview, Director and Producer Steven Lewis Simpson said that the film was shot with only two crew members. For having such a small crew, the film turned out really well. I also really enjoyed the acting, especially from Dan’s character. Seeing how much he was tied into the character made the film that much stronger.

“Neither Wolf Nor Dog” is an inspirational film from which you take away a better understanding of Native American culture.

[4 out of 5 stars]

Jessica Castillo can be reached at [email protected] or @_itzjess on Twitter.