Fifteen-year-old Buckley (Buckley Petawabano) attends residential school, where he longs for his home and dreams of fishing and hunting. Yet when he returns to the reserve for the summer he feels like a stranger, unable to speak his Cree language or live off the land like his father and brothers. Johnny (Johnny Yesno), an Indigenous caretaker at the school, takes Buckley under his wing, introducing him to Indigenous history, culture, and knowledge. After finding Buckley’s frozen body in the snow, Johnny pieces together the events of the boy’s short life and tragic death, which left him unable to find a place for himself between the white and Indigenous worlds.Featuring the soulful music of Willie Dunn, Cold Journey's narrative is similar to the true story of Charlie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who froze to death running away from residential school in 1966. The film was made with members of the Indian Film Crew and features Chief Dan George.
Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this dramatic film set in 1929 depicts how Canada's West, home to generations of Métis, was taken over by the railroads and new settlers. As a result, the Métis became a forgotten people, forced to eke out a living as best they could. At the forefront is Rose, a woman determined to provide her children with a normal life and an education despite the odds. But due to their harsh circumstances, a devastating and traumatic event transpires instead.
This short film from 1958 compiles 3 short reportages on different ways kids are schooled in remote areas. To School by Boat follows children of isolated fishing hamlets along a stretch of British Columbia coastline as they travel to school by sea-going bus. In Classroom on Rails, we hop along a railway coach that brings school to children in a logging area of northern Ontario. Northern Schooldays introduces us to First Nations children educated in a residential school in Moose Factory.
Please note that this film was produced in 1958 and reflects the attitudes and thinking of its era. To modern audiences, parts of the film may be perceived as offensive, but it must be seen as a cultural product of the era in which it was produced. The perspectives of Canadians (and the NFB) have evolved and become more conscious of Indigenous rights, realities and points of view since the making of the film. Through its rich collection of Indigenous-made films, available at Indigenous Cinema, the NFB continues to strive to challenge stereotypes about Indigenous people and accurately depict the diverse experiences of Indigenous communities.
Renowned Métis author and screenwriter Maria Campbell explores themes of cultural identity, sexual assault and the familial impact of colonialism in The Red Dress, echoing the themes of her seminal memoir, Halfbreed.Kelly is a Métis man without treaty or hunting rights, struggling to sustain his traditional life. His daughter Theresa longs for a red dress from France that she believes will give her power and strength, as the bear claw once did for her great-grandfather Muskwa. When Theresa escapes an assault and Kelly turns his back on his daughter, he realizes that he must reconnect with his culture in order to make things right. Today, the red dress is a powerful symbol recognizing over 1000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
This short film portrays the experiences of Rhonda Gordon and her daughter, Angela, when a simple bus ride changes their lives in an unforeseeable way. When they are harassed by three boys, Rhonda finds the courage to take a unique and powerful stance against ignorance and prejudice. What ensues is a dramatic story of racism and empowerment.
This installment of the Eye Witness series focuses on Indigenous children at Fort Simpson; a miniature naval battle between radio-operated vessels attended by the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets in Montreal; a drive-in theatre near Ottawa used to provide church services to passing motorists; and how Toronto's subway system is starting to take shape.
This powerful short documentary showing Indigenous youth resistance and emerging voices that will continue to define the landscape of Indigenous cultural and political activism for the next generation. Members of the National Youth Council, including Duke Redbird and Harold Cardinal, have a powerful exchange with a hostile white priest about the failures of the education system in relation to Indigenous people. The group tackles issues including segregated residential schools, the denial of citizenship rights, loss of language, and mass incarceration, many of which persist or continue to be stumbling blocks in the relationship between Indigenous people and the Government of Canada today.
In this feature film, an engineer from Paris flies to Montreal (on Air Canada Flight YUL 871), partly on business, partly in search of parents displaced by World War II, and partly because of the prevailing restlessness of the age. He achieves little that is conclusive, but in the short time between his arrival and departure he has a love affair, enjoys a flight over Montreal and the Expo pavillions, and is adopted by a little girl.
For more background info on this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.This film is part of Souvenir, a series of four films addressing Indigenous identity and representation by reworking material in the NFB's archives.
This fictional feature follows a twenty-something man who is struggling to define his position in the world in early adulthood. He has left their parents' home but still has not made an home of his own. Our protagonist’s alienation is palpable; for him life is a game, not because he chooses to make it so, but because he is unable to make anything more of it. But for those who befriend him and eventually turn him loose again, his game is not enough. Filmed in Montreal, this classic by Don Owen (Nobody Waved Good-bye) explores the time-worn rite of passage of finding oneself in a world not built for rakish playfulness.
In this feature film, 7 elderly women find themselves stranded when their bus breaks down in the wilderness. With only their wits, memories and some roasted frogs' legs to sustain them, this remarkable group of strangers share their life stories and turn a potential crisis into a magical time of humour, spirit and camaraderie. Featuring non-professional actors and unscripted dialogue, this film dissolves the barrier between fiction and reality, weaving a heart-warming tale of friendship and courage.