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Foster Child

Foster Child

| 43 min

An important figure in the history of Canadian Indigenous filmmaking, Gil Cardinal was born to a Métis mother but raised by a non-Indigenous foster family, and with this auto-biographical documentary he charts his efforts to find his biological mother and to understand why he was removed from her. Considered a milestone in documentary cinema, it addressed the country’s internal colonialism in a profoundly personal manner, winning a Special Jury Prize at Banff and multiple international awards. “Foster Child is one of the great docs to come out of Canada, and nobody but Gil could have made it,” says Jesse Wente, director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office. “Gil made it possible for us to think about putting our own stories on the screen, and that was something new and important.”

  • director
    Gil Cardinal
  • producer
    Jerry Krepakevich
  • executive producer
    Tom Radford
    Graydon McCrea
  • cinematography
    James Jeffrey
  • sound
    Alan Bibby
  • editing
    Alan Bibby
  • sound editing
    Gerald K. Wilson
  • re-recording
    Barry P. Jones


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Ages 14 to 17

Family Studies/Home Economics - Family Diversity and Challenges
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society

Get students' opinions about whether they think that Gil's mother gave him up for the right reasons. Do you agree she was being unselfish in doing so? In the student's community, find out where a woman could go to give up her child. See if there are places that could help a single mother financially and with shelter if she wanted to keep her child. Ask students to imagine if they were a foster or an adoptive parent. If the child were from another culture living with them, would they educate the child so that it knew about its culture? Use the following link to see moments of people reacting to finding a lost family member.

Foster Child
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