Four Keeps: Iichiile is based on the Apsaalooke Amerinative cosmology in which the four cardinal points are represented by air, fire, water, and earth. The horse an animal sacred to the Crow, represents air and speaks of powerful blessings for the people. For several centuries the horse has pervaded traditional Crow life and it remains today a revered companion, guide, and symbol of wealth to the community. Stories of how the Crow acquired the horse are varied. In this film tribal elder, Sonny Reed Jr. (with my father, Charlie Real Bird) tells a mythic version of this story wherein the horse was given to the people by a maiden whose father instructs her to bring it forth from a river. For Crow the river is also a sacred entity – an incitement of healing and renewal. As an aporetic film, ‘Four Keeps’ characterizes the measure of identity the Crow sustain from our relationship with the horse and infers the hardships the people have endured.
Starbuck is a NYC based filmmaker and an adopted daughter of the Crow Tribe. Her work in experimental film, installation art and projections for theater has been exhibited globally. Her studio orientation is in experimental ethnographic film and inter-media installation.