Jill Momaday Explains Two Story Arcs of “Return to Rainy Mountain”

I’m Jill Momaday and together with my father, Pulitzer Prize winning author, N. Scott Momaday, I'm retracing the route of one of his famous books, The Way to Rainy Mountain in this film. 
Scott Momaday is one of America's beloved and extraordinary writers who has given a first hand perspective to being Indian in America via his poems, books, plays and screenplays. He has spent his life absorbing and retelling the stories of his Kiowa ancestors. In our documentary film, The Return to Rainy Mountain, we make a pilgrimage together as a modern day road trip, visiting many sacred places such as Devil's Tower in Wyoming and Rainy Mountain in southwestern Oklahoma. These landmarks inform the ancient Kiowa myths, legends and oral traditions that have been passed from generation to generation. I want to pass along the visual beauty of these places, as well as dig deeper with my father into the reasons we've shared these stories for hundreds of years. 

Scott Momaday carved out an amazing legacy through his storytelling. Through his bestselling books we've learned more about "All our Relations," the expression that asserts the basic philosophy of many Native Americans, that harmony lies in the connection between all beings: plants, stones, two-leggeds, animals, sky, earth, moon, spirit helpers, ancestors and—most significantly—the Great Spirit.

Though this philosophy shaped our lives, we also had real struggles and I share the pain that went along with being the daughter of a literary icon, trying to discover my own identity and creative voice. The story follows two arcs, one through our Kiowa ancestral legends and one through our personal family reconciliation. 

Both of these arcs share universal truths and we believe many people will relate to our personal as well as cultural quest for family  harmony. We ARE all related.



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  • commented 2015-04-24 13:56:51 -0600
    Hi Jill, I remember you as a little girl in Amherst Mass. I’m occasionally in touch with your Mom and Dad. Say “Hello” to both. Best of luck with this wonderful project. Al Kuhn
  • commented 2015-03-18 20:21:53 -0600
    Can’t wait to see this, Jill! Hope you are doing great. You are as radiant as ever! Lori (Boyd) de Ravello
  • commented 2014-12-22 16:03:12 -0700
    I look forward to seeing this film!