The people of Unamenshipu (La Romaine), an Innu community in the Cote-Nord region of Quebec, are seen but not heard in this richly detailed documentary about the rituals surrounding an Innu caribou hunt. Released in 1960, it’s one of 13 titles in Au Pays de Neufve-France, a series of poetic documentary shorts about life along the St-Lawrence River. Off-camera narration, written by Perrault, frames the Innu participants through an ethnographic lens. Co-directed by René Bonnière and Pierre Perrault, a founding figure of Quebec’s cinéma direct movement.
Viewer Advisory (2018)
Alexis Joveneau, a Catholic priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, worked in the Innu community of Unamenshipu (La Romaine) between 1960 and 1985, and appears in five NFB productions: Attiuk (1960), Ka Ke Ki Ku (1960), Le goût de la farine (1977), Le pays de la terre sans arbre ou le Mouchouânipi (1980) and La grande allure II (1985). Joveneau is seen in several scenes of Ka Ke Ki Ku, teaching Innu children and providing Innu-aimun/French translation.
In November 2017, during Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a number of Innu women from Unamenshipu testified that they had been sexually and physically abused by Joveneau, who died in 1992. Many other women subsequently came forward with similar allegations, and on March 29, 2018, a request for a class action was filed in Quebec Superior Court on behalf of the women against the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. The class action was authorized on November 16, 2021. The Oblates named in the suit include Alexis Joveneau, Omer Provencher, Edmond Brouillard, Raynald Couture and Édouard Meilleur.”
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Attiuk, René Bonnière & Pierre Perrault, provided by the National Film Board of Canada