San Francisco Peaks


A documentary by Mia Boccella Hartle and Marley Shebala

Eric willie

When Your Hands Are Tied

Approximate running time: 56 minutes

"When Your Hands Are Tied" is an educational film that explores the unique ways in which young native people are finding to express themselves in the contemporary world while maintaining strong traditional lives.

Since native youth do not often see reflections of themselves or their communities in mainstream media, we wanted to make a film that features contemporary native kids and role models who are finding exciting and positive ways to direct their lives. We also wanted young people to learn the importance of self-motivation in combination with traditional teachings to help prepare for the challenges of everyday life.

Some of the people we meet are:

Navajo rappers, who rap in English and in Navajo, with a mission to communicate to young people the importance of embracing mainstream culture and education as well as their own native languages, customs and traditions.

Navajo punk rock musicians, whose style is Native American Punk-Rock or “Alter Native” with strong sociopolitical messages about government oppression, relocation of indigenous people, eco-cide, genocide, domestic violence and human rights.

Apache Skate Boarders, who through their travels across the country, have learned about filmmaking, photography, and self worth. They have also learned how to carry the message of who they are and where they come from as they pursue their own individual goals.

The Governor of Nambe Pueblo, an avid dancer started a break-dance team to help kids stay active and healthy. The break-dancers come from many tribes around the southwest and are encouraged to participate in their traditional dances at home.

Special Thanks to

Creator, Grandfather Eagle, Elsie "Eagle Woman" Kahn and
Navajo medicine man Eric Willie for guidance on this project.

Produced by Boccella Productions Sponsored by The Harber Charitable Foundation