Lily Gladstone speaks about how language ties a community together in Apple TV+’s Fancy Dance.

In an interview with Blavity/Shadow and Act Managing Editor Trey Mangum, Gladstone and Isabel Deroy-Olson talked about how the film illustrates how the Cayuga Nation say “mother” and “aunt.” As is said in the film, “aunt” translates to something akin to “small mother” or “other mother,” signifying how closely-knit families are, to the point that a person can have their biological parents as well as other members of the family who can serve as guardians. Gladstone said how this type of language was seen as a threat to colonizers who wanted to break families apart.

“A huge part of the attempted eradication of indigenous peoples hinged around stripping us of our language and our connection to language partly because our language had space for that [family bond],” she said. “…If you strip a language, you strip away a worldview, you strip away those inherent family ties that keep a community so tightly bound that your niece is your daughter. There’s not this nuclear family, there’s not this separation of industrializing [a] workforce. It’s a revolutionary act to put language on screen and have it live in this way between these characters.”

Watch the full interview above.

Fancy Dance follows a woman who is using every moment of her time to find her lost sister. Meanwhile, she’s taking care of her sister’s child and preparing her for an upcoming ceremonial event.

According to the synopsis:

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 Jax losing custody to Roki’s grandfather, 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 while at the mercy of a failed justice system. Gladstone stars alongside Deroy-Olson, Ryan Begay, Crystle Lightning, with Audrey Wasilewski and Whigham.

Also starring Ray Begay, Crystle Lightning, Audrey Wasilewski and Shea Wigham, Fancy Dance is in select theaters now and will be on Apple TV+ on June 28.