Without Arrows Documentary

Filmed over the course of thirteen years (2011-2023), WITHOUT ARROWS chronicles the vibrance and struggle of a Lakȟóta family.

Delwin Fiddler Jr., a champion grass dancer from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, left his reservation as a young man to escape a trauma that splintered his family and built a new life in Philadelphia. A decade later he abandons it all and returns home to fulfill his mother’s ambition and carry on the legacy of their thiyóšpaye (extended family).

Contact Us: withoutarrows [[at]] gmail.com


Film Independent: Festival Visions (Virtual/Free), July 15-17, 2024

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia, July 21-30, 2024

Without Arrows poster


Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, February 16-25, 2024

Minnesota Film Festival (opening night film), April 3-7, 2024

Milwaukee Film Festival, April 11-25, 2024

RiverRun International Film Festival, April 18-27, 2024

Dallas International Film Festival, April 25-May 2, 2024

San Francisco Documentary Festival, May 30 - June 3, 2024

• Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia, July 21-30, 2024

Film Independent: Festival Visions, virtual, July 15-17, 2024

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival, Melbourne, Australia, July 21-30, 2024


RiverRun Special Jury Award Laurel


• Variety, Will Tizard, October 28, 2023

Upcoming Doc ‘Without Arrows’ Aims to Break Down Native American Stereotypes

Delwin Fiddler Jr.

Delwin Elk Bear Fiddler, is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Sans Arc band, and a world renowned Native American performing Artist. Delwin's accolades include performing for two American President’s and the Royal Family in England. As a teenager he was a champion Grass and Hoop dancer on the pow-wow circut. His traditional Grass Dance is displayed in a continual loop at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Delwin created the non-profit PAZA Tree of Life to fulfill his mother's dream of returning the people to the roots of their culure. PAZA's goal is to promote cultural awareness with cultural exchange so that all people might learn the medicine ways of his ancestors who have walked the earth for thousands of years. Delwin believes that through empowerment and reconciliation, healing can occur. Like his ancestor, Crazy Horse, he sees the future with all people working together in harmony for the greater good of humankind. You can learn more about Paza here: https://www.pazatree.org/

Film Team

Jonathan Olshefski (Director/Producer)

Jonathan Olshefski is an artist and documentary filmmaker. His debut feature documentary QUEST premiered at Sundance in 2017. He was named as one of 25 New Faces in Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine and mentioned in the New York Times as one of “The 9 New Directors You Need to Watch.” In 2018 he received the “Truer Than Fiction Award” at the Independent Spirit Awards and was selected for a Pew Artist Fellowship. Olshefski strives to tell intimate and nuanced stories that honor his protagonists’ complexity by employing a production process that emphasizes collaboration, dialogue, and relationship seeking to amplify their voices and reflect their points of view in an artful way. He is a Professor at Rowan University and lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

You can view his portfolio here: olshefski.org


Elizabeth Day (Director/Producer)

Elizabeth Day (Ojibwe) is a filmmaker from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Born on the Leech Lake Reservation and raised in the Twin Cities area, Day blends her Native American heritage with her urban upbringing to create films that employ traditional Ojibwe-style storytelling while using contemporary filmmaking techniques. Her work often explores the tension between traditional Native teachings and the life of a modern, urban Indian. A primary motivation for Day is recording and capturing the quickly fading pastimes of Ojibwe culture, an important and integral piece of Minnesota’s history. Through the medium of film, she examines a broad swath of Native history, from the rich Ojibwe tradition of storytelling to the painful history of government-enforced boarding schools to the modern-day identity issues faced by Native families.

Ellen Knechel (Editor)

Ellen is a documentary editor and filmmaker whose work has screened at film festivals in the US and internationally and been broadcast on the Sundance Channel, PBS, the World Channel and AMC+. Ellen produced and edited Border South/ Frontera Sur (Sheffield Doc/Fest 2019), and was an Editor on Building a Bridge (Tribeca 2021).  She was an Assistant Editor on Quest, which premiered at Sundance in 2017.  Ellen has an MFA from Temple University.  She was a 2019 Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellow and she is a member of the Alliance of Documentary Film Editors.  

Leya Hale (Editor)

Leya Hale comes from the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and Diné Nations. She is a multiple regional Emmy award winning documentary producer for Twin Cities PBS. Her work brings visibility to Indigenous lifeways and issues impacting her community. She is best known for her feature films, The People’s Protectors and Bring Her Home, both distributed by PBS. In 2020, Leya was awarded the Sundance Institute Merata Mita Fellowship for Indigenous Artists and Bring Her Home was selected to represent the US at INPUT 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. When not producing features, Leya works on a variety of short form content in efforts to highlight underrepresented stories within the upper Midwest region.

Olivia Komahcheet (Composer)

Olivia Komahcheet (Comanche and Otoe-Missouria) is a multidisciplinary creative whose work spans within spaces of music, visual media and immersive art experiences. Collectively intertwining a multitude of soundscapes in studio and often integrating alternative art pop and experimental indie-tronica live, Olivia has worked with top brands Instagram, Ableton, Walrus Audio, Beatclub, Brooks Running, Square Register, PBS and many more with original music being married to films screened on Netflix, Shudder TV and film festivals worldwide.

Wayne Ducheneaux (Cultural Consultant)

Wayne (Lakota) is the former executive director of the Native Governance Center and a former elected Tribal leader who’s committed to strengthening Tribal sovereignty and Indigenous leadership. He guided Native Governance Center’s work, building relationships across sectors, and envisioning transformative futures for Native nations. Wayne values integrity, humility, and good conversations. He brings a deep and real-life understanding of Native nations’ needs, opportunities, and challenges to his work, thanks to his previous experience serving in a variety of roles for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. Native people know best what they need to thrive, and Wayne dedicates every day to helping Native nations acquire skills, training, and resources to support their citizens. Wayne lives by words of wisdom from community organizer Malcolm Chapman: “No one of us is smarter than all of us.”

Shahin Izadi (Assistant Editor)

Shahin Izadi is a freelance documentary filmmaker residing in Philadelphia, PA. He holds a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University.   shahinizadi.com

Niko Ioannou (Assistant Editor)

Born and raised in Kymi, Evia, Greece, Niko was exposed to a very different cultural upbringing than the one presented to him in the United States where he moved in 2016. Niko has delved into many forms of filmmaking, such as short films, short and feature length documentaries as well as long form YouTube videos. Niko currently works full time as one of the Lead Editors for Family Friendly, a YouTube channel creating videos weekly in the comedy genre. The channel is gaining over 10,000,000 monthly viewers and nearing 1,000,000 subscribers.

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