Thank You, Erica Tremblay, For Your Donation


From the Making of Fancy Dance

Lucy Simpson, NIWRC Executive Director with Erica Tremblay
at Sundance 2023. / Photo courtesy of Lucy Simpson.

“On behalf of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center staff and board, we thank our strong-hearted sister, Erica Tremblay, for continuing to bring attention to violence against Indigenous women, including missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said Lucy Simpson (Diné), NIWRC Executive Director. “This gift from Erica will continue to help us expand on our 2S+/LGBTQ+ Toolkit for Family and Friends on Reconnecting with Native Teachings and Creating Spaces with and for 2S+/LGBTQ+ Victim-Survivors of Domestic Violence.”

Erica so humbly donated her salary as director/screenwriter of Fancy Dance to NIWRC.

Since her sister’s disappearance, Jax (Lily Gladstone) has cared for her niece Roki (Isabel Deroy-Olson) by scraping by on the Seneca-Cayuga Reservation in Oklahoma. Every spare minute goes into finding her missing sister while also helping Roki prepare for an upcoming powwow. At the risk of losing custody to Jax’s father, Frank (Shea Whigham), the pair hit the road and scour the backcountry to track down Roki’s mother in time for the powwow. What begins as a search gradually turns into a far deeper investigation into the complexities and contradictions of Indigenous women moving through a colonized world and at the mercy of a failed justice system.

Fancy Dance announces the arrival of a major directorial talent: Erica Tremblay. Her unflinching exploration of marginalization uses a mystery narrative as a springboard for an oblique coming-of-age story, lovingly and luminously enacted by Gladstone and Deroy-Olson. Tremblay’s juxtaposition of settler violence against the strength of Indigenous communities offers a nuanced account of the human costs of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women epidemic and the possibilities of healing for those left behind.1

Erica Tremblay is an award-winning writer and director from the Seneca-Cayuga Nation. Her short film Little Chief premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She is a Sundance Screenwriters and Directors Lab fellow and an SFFilm Rainin Grant recipient. Tremblay was the executive story editor on Dark Winds, an AMC series produced by George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford. She is the executive story editor on season two of Reservation Dogs at FX and also directed an episode. Together with Sterlin Harjo, she will be co-writing and executive producing a series adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Yellow Bird for Paramount+. Tremblay lives on Cayuga Lake in upstate New York, where she studies her Indigenous language.

As importantly, Erica has been a sister to victim-survivors, families of MMIW, NIWRC, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Healing Native Hearts Coalition, Yup’ik Women’s Coalition, and so many others helping to document our truths in video documentaries, and her labors of love, including but not limited to some of the following: (YupikWomen.Org) (YouTube) (YouTube)

NIWRC thanks you, Erica, for your support and for lifting your relatives as humbly as you always have. We are proud of how hard you’ve worked and all your accomplishments as a writer and director.