Synopsis by Mark Deming
The Lakota Native American tribe has a long tradition of ceremonial horseback rides, which are used to celebrate within the community or bring positive spiritual energies toward matters of concern. In 1990, members of the Lakota Nation felt it was time the tribe addressed the growing need for peace around the world, and with this in mind they began a series of rides dedicated to ending war and bringing greater understanding to the peoples of the Earth. Documentary filmmaker James Kleinert examines the growing Native American peace movement in Spirit Riders, which looks back to Lakota traditions and takes them into the present with the continuing phenomenon of the Spirit Rides for Peace. The film includes interviews with activists and ride participants, including Charlotte Black Elk, Chris Leith, Ron His Horse Is Thunder, and actor Viggo Mortensen; Peter Coyote narrates.