Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child
1986 | 29 min
Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.
Awards and distinctions
Special Award - Category: Educational Visual Anthropology to Children and Youth
Visual Anthropology Festival, Parnu
Crystal Apple Award - Category: Human Relations / Teen Suicide
National Educational Film and Video Festival, Oakland
Red Ribbon Award - Category: Current Concerns
Itinerant - American Film and Video Festival, New York
Prize for Best Documentary
Annual American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco
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