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The Ballad of Crowfoot

The Ballad of Crowfoot

| 10 min

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.

  • director
    Willie Dunn
  • script
    Willie Dunn
  • music
    Willie Dunn
  • producer
    Barrie Howells


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Ages 12 to 17

Diversity - Diversity in Communities
Diversity - Identity
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Issues and Contemporary Challenges

Hold a class discussion based on examples in North American history in which colonialists brought an aboriginal nation near extinction. Discuss the role of the railroad and land claims during the late 1800s in Canada. Have students write a poem or a song about Crowfoot and his exploits. Watch Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves for a visual tale of the era.

The Ballad of Crowfoot
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