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Christmas at Moose Factory

1971 13 min
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Released in 1971, this lyrical short documentary marked the directorial debut of legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin. Filmed at a residential school in northern Ontario, it is composed entirely of drawings by young Cree children and stories told by the children themselves. Listening has been at the core of Obomsawin’s practice since the very beginning. “Documentary film,” she said in a 2017 interview, “is the one place that our people can speak for themselves. I feel that the documentaries that I’ve been working on have been very valuable for the people, for our people to look at ourselves… and through …

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Christmas at Moose Factory

Details

Released in 1971, this lyrical short documentary marked the directorial debut of legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin. Filmed at a residential school in northern Ontario, it is composed entirely of drawings by young Cree children and stories told by the children themselves. Listening has been at the core of Obomsawin’s practice since the very beginning. “Documentary film,” she said in a 2017 interview, “is the one place that our people can speak for themselves. I feel that the documentaries that I’ve been working on have been very valuable for the people, for our people to look at ourselves… and through that be able to make changes that really count for the future of our children to come.”
  • director
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • script
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • producer
    Wolf Koenig
  • executive producer
    Robert Verrall
  • photography
    Ben Low
  • drawings
    Jennifer Alisappi
    Ralph Cewitt
    Barbara Cheechoo
    Marlene Cheechoo
    Steven Cheechoo
    Vern Cheechoo
    Patricia Cousatadi
    Brian Davey
    Leonard Echum
    Sinclair Esiu
    Angus Georgekish
    Elvis Georgekish
    E. Margaret Johnstone
    Daisy Jolly
    Lesley Jolly
    Sarah Jolly
    Dorothy Lahache
    Eva Lahache
    Jody Lahache
    Wilma Lahache
    Christine Lazarus
    Paul Linklater
    Peter Linklater
    Priscilla Linklater
    Rita Linklater
    Sandra Linklater
    Gordon Mills
    Freddy Moore
    Brian Morrison
    Paul Moses
    Bradley Nickoshie
    Joan Rickard
    Ricky Rickard
    Douglas Small
    Juliet Small
    James Sutherland
    Joanne Tobin
    Sandra Tomatuk
    Sheila Tomatuk
    Ida Trapper
    Lillian Trapper
    Vincent Percy
    Greta Visitor
    Winnie Wapachee
    Barbara Wesley
    Brenda Wesley
    Dolores Wesley
    Eva Wesley
    Linda Wesley
    James Wesley
    Johnny Wesley
    Shirley Wesley
    George Isbister
  • animation camera
    Raymond Dumas
  • sound
    Jacques Drouin
  • sound editing
    Bill Graziadei
  • re-recording
    Roger Lamoureux
  • music
    Sinclair Cheechoo
    Jane Cheechoo
    Arthur Cheechoo

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Education

Ages 12 to 18

A short documentary created by Alanis Obomsawin that can be used to inspire methods of recording first-person narratives. Why is it important to include original voices and perspectives of Indigenous people when considering the narratives of Canada? Why is it important to include first-person experiences when considering the shaping of our society?  Research what winter solstice ceremonies were practised within various First Nations groups prior to the tradition of Christmas being taught to Indigenous Peoples. How do winter solstice ceremonies differ or relate to the meaning of Christmas? Would the children attending residential schools have been allowed to draw pictures of their traditional ceremonies, which would have been practised during the same time of year as Christmas celebrations? What may have happened to a child in residential school who refused to celebrate Christmas but rather followed traditional cultural ceremonies that honour nature during the winter solstice?

Christmas at Moose Factory
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