The people of Unamenshipu (La Romaine), an Innu community in the Côte-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 Pierre Perrault, frames the Innu participants through an ethnographic lens. Co-directed by René Bonnière and Perrault, a founding figure of Quebec’s direct cinema movement.
Alexis Joveneau, a Belgian Catholic missionary of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was the priest for the Montagnais community of La Romaine (Innu of Ulamen Shipit) from 1953 to 1992. From 1960 to 1985, he participated in the following five NFB films: 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). Since November 2017, assault allegations have been brought against Mr. Joveneau by members of the La Romaine community during hearings conducted by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. A recent journalistic investigation reported other allegations of sexual assault and physical, psychological or financial abuse involving dozens of victims. On March 29, 2018, a class action request was filed against the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.