Documentary - Completed 2018

A feature length documentary following one woman's fight for the reproductive rights of a nation.

    • Year of production
    • 2018
    • Genres
    • Documentary
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 73 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Lorna TUCKER
    • Writer(s)
    • Lorna TUCKER
    • Producer(s)
    • Colin FIRTH (Raindog Films), Ged DOHERTY, Nuala O´LEARY
    • Synopsis
    • Reports of forced sterilization of Native American women began to surface in the 1970s.* Of the 100,000 to 150,000 Native American women of childbearing age during this period anywhere between 3,400 to 70,000 of these women were involuntarily sterilized through tubal ligation or hysterectomy.* The numbers cannot be accurately known due to poor record keeping but many believe the number to closer to 70,000. Many women were not given a choice to refuse to undergo the sterilization procedure. Many were manipulated into thinking that they would risk losing their welfare aid or even their lives should they refuse to undergo a sterilization procedure. Recent evidence has suggested that the procedure was often carried out under the pretence of other operations, routine check ups or during emergency surgery relating to pregnancy or abortion when the women were experiencing high stress. Many of the victims didn't know they were sterilized until years afterwards.

      There is further evidence that the sterilizations had an appreciable effect on the fertility rates of Native American women. In the 1970s, the average birth rate of Native American women was 3.79 children, but by 1980 the birth rate had fallen to 1.8 children.*

      These practices have adversely affected many Native communities contributing to high rates of depression, alcoholism, family trauma and personal shame. The time is now for these women to be listened to and for the United States government to recognise and apologise for the pain and suffering caused by these practices.
      Amá is a documentary by Lorna Tucker about the sterilization abuses of Native American women across the United States during the last sixty years.

      In Amá we discover the story of Jean Whitehorse, a Navajo woman from New Mexico. Jean lets us into her life and through single interviews and observational filming Jean leads us through the events that led up to her being sterilized and the disastrous affect it had on her life.

      Amá sheds new light on the Native American story and sets up the context of the twenty-first century obsession with the 'War on Poverty' and the radical and often unregulated medical practices employed against the Native female population. Amá brings the past and the present together in a film that manages to be contemporary and timely.