In the summer of 2000, federal fishery officers appeared to wage war on the Mi'gmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Alanis Obomsawin casts her nets into history to provide a context for the events on Miramichi Bay.
As the confrontation between Mi’gmaq fisherman in Burnt Church, New Brunswick and federal fishery officers comes to a head, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ boats violently ram and run over the much smaller boats of the Mi’gmaq fishers. Watching the footage, I’m reminded of the brutal scene during the Oka Crisis where the Kahnawake Mohawks are stoned as they cross the Mercier bridge [see Alanis Obomsawin’s Rocks at Whiskey Trench].Gil Cardinal
From the playlist: The Aboriginal Voice: the National Film Board and Aboriginal Filmmaking through the Years
I was back in Restigouche because there was another stand taking place concerning logging issues (this led to the film Our Nationhood) when the raids occurred in Burnt Church. When I found out about what was going on there with the Mi'gmaq fishermen, I made this film.
There were three films on the Mi'gmaq people – Incident at Restigouche, Is the Crown at war with us and Our Nationhood.Alanis Obomsawin
From the playlist: Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective