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Department's Psychology Section to screen 'The Thick Dark Fog'

April 10, 2019

The Yale Department of Psychiatry’s Psychology Section will sponsor a screening of the documentary “The Thick Dark Fog” at 3:00 pm May 15, 2019, at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St., New Haven.

A panel discussion featuring Randy Vasquez, the documentary’s director, and Jonathan Skurnik, the producer, will follow the screening. Other panelists will include Walter Littlemoon and Jane Ridgway, who are featured in the film; Yale School of Medicine faculty and trainees; representatives from the Native American Cultural Center; and members of the Native American community at Yale and throughout Connecticut.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception with the panelists will follow, and food will be served. Please click here to RSVP.

“The Thick Dark Fog” tells the story of Walter Littlemoon, a Native person who attended a federal Indian boarding school in South Dakota 60 years ago. The mission of many of these schools in 1950 was still to “kill the Indian and save the man.” The children were not allowed to be Indians – to speak their language or express their culture or native identity in any way at the risk of being severely beaten, humiliated, or abused.

Many Native people, like Walter, lived with this unresolved trauma into adulthood, acting it out through alcoholism and domestic violence. At age 58, Walter wrote and published his memoirs to explain his past abusive behaviors to his estranged children. The documentary tells the story of how Walter confronted the “thick dark fog” of his past so he could heal himself and his community.

“Badger Creek,” a Native American film produced and directed by Vasquez and Skurnik, will be shown at 11 am May 16 at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Kroon Hall, 195 Prospect St., New Haven. The 30-minute film is a portrait of Native resilience as seen through a year in the life of three generations of a Blackfeet family living on a reservation in Montana. The screening is free and a reception with lunch will follow. Please click here to RSVP.

The two-day event is organized by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Psychology Section, Yale Department of Psychiatry, as part of the commitment to diversity in training and education. The organizers want to increase awareness of Native American heritage and the experiences of the Native people, and to explore the implications of these experiences – including psychological and historical trauma - on behavioral and physical health; resilience, social, economic, and health disparities; and underrepresentation in institutions of higher learning and professional disciplines.

Funding is provided by the Yale School of Medicine Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Community Engagement and Equity; The Consultation Center; Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health; Connecticut Mental Health Center and the Connecticut Mental Health Center Foundation; The Poynter Fellowship; Yale Department of Psychiatry; Yale Department of Internal Medicine; Yale University Women Faculty Forum; Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration; and the Native American Cultural Center.

For information, email Dr. Cindy Crusto at; Dr. Rebecca Miller at; or Janis Celone at

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on April 10, 2019