Sébastien Aubin vit dans un loft à Winnipeg et occupe un emploi de graphiste. C'est aussi un Cri francophone de la nation d'Opaskwayak, au Manitoba. Parallèlement à sa vie professionnelle, il poursuit une quête spirituelle et identitaire. Son désir de transcender le concret l'a amené à apprendre la médecine traditionnelle autochtone.
Mark Thompson est guérisseur. Il a choisi de transmettre ses connaissances à Sébastien. Dans cette transmission du savoir d'une génération à l'autre, on sent le poids du temps qui s'est accéléré, phénomène incarné par Sébastien, qui appartient à la fois à la modernité et à la tradition. Ce parcours de 360 degrés, des valeurs du passé à celles d'aujourd'hui, prend tout son sens dans un contexte de crise environnementale.
Ce film a été produit dans le cadre du concours Tremplin, en collaboration avec Radio-Canada.
This short film introduces us to Sébastien Aubin, a French-speaking member of Manitoba's Opaskwayak Cree Nation. He works as a graphic artist for a living, but he's embarked on a personal spiritual and identity quest on the side. Attempting to transcend the material world, he's apprenticing in traditional Indigenous medicine with healer Mark Thompson. The relationship between the two figures marks the contrast between generations; between modernity and tradition. It makes the 360-degree turn from the values of the past to those of today strikingly apparent.This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.
This feature-length documentary from Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen is an emotional and revealing exploration of addiction among Indigenous people in Canada.After years of struggle and shame, 5 Indigenous Canadians bravely come forward with their stories of substance abuse, presenting the sensitive topic of alcoholism in an honest and forthright manner. Alex, Paula, Desirae, Stephen, and Dennis himself maintain a deep and devoted commitment to their traditional culture to achieve long-term sobriety. Through their voices, this insightful doc offers an inspirational beacon of hope for others.
Released in 1968 and often referred to as Canada’s first music video, The Ballad of Crowfoot was directed by Willie Dunn, a Mi’kmaq/Scottish folk singer and activist who was part of the historic Indian Film Crew, the first all-Indigenous production unit at the NFB. The film is a powerful look at colonial betrayals, told through a striking montage of archival images and a ballad composed by Dunn himself about the legendary 19th-century Siksika (Blackfoot) chief who negotiated Treaty 7 on behalf of the Blackfoot Confederacy. The IFC’s inaugural release, Crowfoot was the first Indigenous-directed film to be made at the NFB.
This feature-length documentary chronicles the Sundance ceremony brought to Eastern Canada by William Nevin of the Elsipogtog First Nation of the Mi'kmaq. Nevin learned from Elder Keith Chiefmoon of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Alberta. Under the July sky, participants in the Sundance ceremony go four days without food or water. Then they will pierce the flesh of their chests in an offering to the Creator. This event marks a transmission of culture and a link to the warrior traditions of the past.
Kamala Todd's short film is a lyrical portrait of Cease Wyss, of the Squamish Nation. Wyss is a woman who understands the remarkable healing powers of the plants growing all over downtown Vancouver. Whether it's the secret curl of a fiddlehead, or the gentleness of comfrey, plants carry ageless wisdom with them, communicated through colour, texture, and form. Wyss has been listening to this unspoken language and is now passing this ancient and intimate connection down to her own daughter, Senaqwila.
This short documentary journeys into the spiritual world of traditional Indigenous medicine, a world inhabited by Dr. Mary Louie (a spiritual leader of the Syilx or Okanagan Nation), and her husband Ed Louie. With a lifetime of experience in the ways of spirituality, they are committed to practices that keep them accountable to the spirit world, their people, and Mother Earth. When one of the crew members get sick while shooting, his subsequent care is recorded for the purposes of this film.
Shoal Lake 40 women talk about their struggles, and those of their parents and grandparents, in trying to raise their families in a hazardous state of enforced isolation. Everyone in the community has a harrowing story of a loved one falling through the ice while trying to get across the lake, with pregnant women and new mothers fearing for their babies and having no choice but to make the trek in dangerous conditions. The film shows the key role of the community’s women in demanding funding for the road from three levels of government, and how their reconnection to culture and ceremony give them the strength to keep going.
Freedom Road Series is a five-part documentary series that tells the inspiring story of one First Nation’s battle to resolve a brutal colonial legacy that uprooted and transformed a self-sustaining community into an isolated island, only a short distance from the Trans-Canada highway.
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.
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Cree community in northern Ontario, were thrust into the national spotlight in 2012 when the impoverished living conditions on their reserve became an issue of national debate. With The People of the Kattawapiskak River, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin quietly attends as community members tell their own story, shedding light on a history of dispossession and official indifference. “Obomsawin’s main objective is to make us see the people of Attawapiskat differently,” said Robert Everett-Green in The Globe & Mail. “The emphasis, ultimately, is not so much on looking as on listening—the first stage in changing the conversation, or in making one possible.” Winner of the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, the film is part of a cycle of films that Obomsawin has made on children’s welfare and rights.
This short documentary follows Gabe Etchinelle as builds a mooseskin boat as a tribute to an earlier way of life, where the Shotah Dene people would use a mooseskin boats and transport their families and cargo down mountain rivers to trading settlements throughout the Northwest Territories.
This short documentary serves as a quiet elegy for a way of life, which exists now only in the memories of those who experienced it. Bonnie Ammaaq and her family remember it vividly. When Bonnie was a little girl, her parents packed up their essentials, bundled her and her younger brother onto a long, fur-lined sled and left the government-manufactured community of Igloolik to live off the land, as had generations of Inuit before them.
Ages 13 to 16
Diversity - Identity
Health/Personal Development - Disease Prevention
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
By drawing parallels between two very different societies living with the same territory, this film provides an ideal way to introduce First Nations values and customs. Introduce the idea of traditional knowledge, and discuss how it is transmitted from generation to generation.