A doc about the Cree and Chippewa people of northern Manitoba. Made in the mid 20th century, it is dated in tone, but provides insight into the vital relationship that existed between First Nations and the caribou herds that sustained them.
In this feature-length documentary, husband and wife team Karsten Heuer (wildlife biologist) and Leanne Allison (environmentalist) follow a herd of 120,000 caribou on foot across 1500 km of Arctic tundra. In following the herd's migration, the couple hopes to raise awareness of the threats to the caribou's survival. Along the way they brave Arctic weather, icy rivers, hordes of mosquitoes and a very hungry grizzly bear. Dramatic footage and video diaries combine to provide an intimate perspective of an epic expedition.
This documentary focuses on the goose hunt, a ritual of central importance to the Cree people of the James Bay coastal areas. Not only a source of food, the hunt is also used to transfer Cree culture, skills, and ethics to future generations. Filmmaker Paul M. Rickard invites us along with his own family on a fall goose hunt, so that we can share in the experience.
This short film, crafted entirely out of NFB archival footage by First Nations filmmaker Caroline Monnet, takes us on an exhilarating journey from the Far North to the urban south, capturing the perpetual negotiation between the traditional and the modern by a people moving ever forward.Part of the Souvenir series, it's one of four films by First Nations filmmakers that address Indigenous identity and representation, reframing Canadian history through a contemporary lens.
For five or six months at a time, Frank Ladouceur lives alone, trapping muskrat in the vast, desolate wilderness of northern Alberta. His family last visited him there some 14 years ago, and Frank’s own visits to the family home in Fort Chipewyan are few and far between. This is the story of an independent Métis man who is remarkably determined and self-sufficient, and who is ceaselessly called to return to the bush. Early experiences at Holy Angels residential school are recounted by his daughter. A Christmas play at the local school is presented in Cree. After a family Christmas meal, the fiddle and guitar are taken out and the Red River Jig begins.
In this feature-length documentary by Alanis Obomsawin, it's the summer of 2000 and the country watches in disbelief as federal fisheries wage war on the Mi'kmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Casting her cinematic and intellectual nets into history to provide context, Obomsawin delineates the complex roots of the conflict with passion and clarity, building a persuasive defence of the Mi'kmaq position.
This short film from 1946 presents an outline of the fur trade's history and the commercial use of fur in Canada. A thirst for fur by the kings and courts of the Old World positioned the fur trade as part of the country's industrial economy. Fur farming and conservation became increasingly important, although the lonely life of the trapper remained the same. This film offers a view of both.
An NFB crew filmed a group of three families, Cree hunters from Mistassini. Since times predating agriculture, this First Nations people have gone to the bush of the James Bay and Ungava Bay area to hunt. We see the building of the winter camp, the hunting and the rhythms of Cree family life.
This short documentary looks at the Indigenous Gitxsan community in central British Columbia’s Skeena River through one of its members, Ben Risdale. Watch as Ben follows the “Grease Trail” from the first snowfall, and follow along as he tends his traplines while living outdoors among the grandeur of the surrounding forest and mountains. His reward? A valuable stock of fur pelts.
The historic post of Moose Factory on James Bay is still a centre of Canada's fur trade. The camera follows Cree trapper George McLoed as he goes out from the post to visit his trap lines. Bivouacing in the open, in bitter cold, he traps mink and beaver, skillfully skinning the animals and drying the rich pelts. Back at the post, he sells his furs to the Hudson's Bay trader.
This short documentary focuses on a man-made island that became the first federal sanctuary for wildlife in Canada. Situated an hour east of Edmonton, it houses one of the world's densest collections of wildlife, maintained by Parks Canada. Elk Island offers a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes activity of the island.