I have an idea for a new verb: “Rundle.” It means to perfectly complete a project through diligent work.
For example: “It took her two years, but she rundled that basement. It’s a showcase now!”
Maybe I’ll give Webster’s a call. In the meantime, you can see what I mean for yourself when you watch “Lost Nation: The Ioway” because Quad-Citians Tammy and Kelly Rundle just can’t seem to do anything wrong. They created the marvelous “Villisca: Living with a Mystery,” about the 1912 ax murders of eight people in a small southwestern Iowa town. (Small wonder that it competed for the 2005 Academy Awards.)
Now here the filmmakers are again with another fantastic documentary that was written, produced and directed by Kelly Rundle and written and produced by his wife, Tammy Rundle.
What the hour-long documentary reveals truly is a lost nation: The Ioway are American Indians who lost their land, their culture and almost their language after the federal government moved them. In the film, you’ll see and hear many members of the Ioway bemoan the loss of so much of their tradition.
The Rundles show the state of Iowa at its finest with its grassy plains and blue skies. We see the land as the Ioway, who controlled about 60,000 square miles of the Midwest, must have viewed it hundreds of years ago. We even get a close-up look at buffalo roaming the grassy lands. We also see the bark huts in which these people lived.
In addition, we hear historians, Ioway elders and archaeologists discuss how the people lived then and how they observe their traditions now. The audience becomes acquainted with Ioway tribe members, including Kansas pottery maker Robert Kent, who discusses the way his ancestors made pottery hundreds of years ago.
The film moves back and forth in time to include the story of White Cloud, an Ioway leader, and the dilemma he faced in dealing with the U.S. government. Through treaties that were made with U.S. officials, the Ioway were removed from their lands.
This is going to look awfully familiar to most local viewers because much of “Lost Nation” was shot in and near Iowa, including locations such as the Living History Farms 1700 Ioway Village in Des Moines, Luther College in Decorah, the Blood Run Historic Site in Lyon County, White Cloud Statue in Mahaska County, Hayden Prairie State Preserve in Howard County and Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch in Fredericksburg.
The most compelling moments are reflective, quiet scenes in which contemporary Ioway tribe members mourn their ancestral past and contemplate the future.
You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy this film. And you don’t have to be a movie buff to anticipate what these fine filmmakers will “rundle” next.
Director: Kelly Rundle
Screenwriter: Tammy Rundle
Running time: 60 minutes
Rated: G for general audiences