In Incident at Restigouche, filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin delves into the history behind the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) raids on the Restigouche Reserve on June 11 and 20, 1981. The Quebec government had decided to restrict fishing, resulting in anger among the Mi'kmaq Indians as salmon was traditionally an important source of food and income. Using a combination of documents, news clips, photographs and interviews, this powerful film provides an in-depth investigation into the history-making raids that put justice on trial.
Making this film was special for me, mainly because these people are very close to my nation. There were very good relations and it was, in a way, like coming home. I think it’s because the language, traditions and cultures are the same. For this film, I interviewed the Quebec Minister of Fisheries, Lucien Lessard. I invited him to Montreal for the interview and he knew I had a lot of problems with him. Many people told him not to come, that I would make mincemeat out of him. But he came, and I admired him for that. We fought all the time, but in the end I came to understand why people voted for him. He stood his ground, and if he made a promise to his constituents, you could be sure he would do his best to keep it.Alanis Obomsawin
From the playlist: Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective