Frozen II & the Ho-Chunk: Fall Week #6 – Dec. 4, 2019
Frozen II & the Ho-Chunk Nation
****Spoiler Alert*** This newsletter contains references to the new Disney Frozen II film. Don’t read on if you wouldn’t like general plot references to the film. ***
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, we took the girls to see a movie, Frozen II, at the theaters. This is always a big deal, as we only do it twice a year.
All three girls were excited to see the movie, our youngest especially. I wasn’t holding my breath for anything magical; sequels rarely hold up to the originals.
I was not prepared to be blown away.
I wasn’t taken by the new songs or storyline. But what really impressed me about this movie was it’s underlying theme of reparations. This movie was simultaneously a soul-searching epic for the main character, Elsa, AND a film about the importance of understanding the sometimes awful truths of our own history and people so that we can repair damage that was done.
The heroes of the film discover that their very own ancestors made a promise to a people that they saw as more primitive, and then broke that promise. The heroes learn that their ancestors built a dam under the guise of assistance, but really the dam destroyed others’ lands and only served the ancestors’ purposes.
The heroes of the film realize they need to destroy the dam to repair the harm their ancestors caused. In a very Disney sort of way, because they do the right thing, the reparations occur without any loss to the heroes’ peoples.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if reparations were that easy?
Still, I applaud Disney for bringing this theme to light on such a major stage.
While my 4 year old is delighting in the aftermath of a land of queens, ice, and magic, I find myself grappling with the question of reparations.
It’s not a new issue I’ve struggled with. But this movie has brought it front and center for me again.
There is no doubt that the privileges afforded me by my ancestors play a huge part in why I am a successful, land-owning farmer. My white privilege has given me opportunity, confidence, and resources that aren’t available to everyone.
And what does that mean for me to be a successful farmer on land that was stolen from the Ho-Chunk nation?
I don’t exactly know what reparations would look like from me to the Ho-Chunk. But I know, thanks to the helpful reminder from Frozen II, it is something I want to figure out. It’s not enough to just know and hold our terrible history – something more can always be done.