In this acclaimed 1994 documentary, Loretta Todd, a leading figure in Indigenous cinema in Canada, profiles four contemporary female artists—Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras and Joane Cardinal-Schubert—who seek to find a continuum from traditional to contemporary forms of expression. Each artist reveals her practice and journey in her own words. The film is a moving testimony to the vital role Indigenous women play in nurturing Indigenous cultures.
This feature-length documentary traces the journey of the Haisla people to reclaim the G'psgolox totem pole that went missing from their British Columbia village in 1929. The fate of the 19th century traditional mortuary pole remained unknown for over 60 years until it was discovered in a Stockholm museum where it is considered state property by the Swedish government.Director Gil Cardinal combines interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers to raise questions about ownership and the meaning of Indigenous objects held in museums.
In this follow-up to his 2003 film, Totem: the Return of the G'psgolox Pole, filmmaker Gil Cardinal documents the events of the final journey of the G'psgolox Pole as it returns home to Kitamaat and the Haisla people, from where it went missing in 1929.
This short documentary follows Gabe Etchinelle as builds a mooseskin boat as a tribute to an earlier way of life, where the Shotah Dene people would use a mooseskin boats and transport their families and cargo down mountain rivers to trading settlements throughout the Northwest Territories.
This documentary follows Haida artist Bill Reid, from British Columbia. A jeweller and wood carver, he works on a traditional Haida totem pole. We watch the gradual transformation of a bare cedar trunk into a richly carved pole to stand on the shores of the town of Skidegate, in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.
In this revealing study of Norval Morrisseau, filmed as he works among the lakes and woodlands of his ancestors, we see a remarkable Indigenous artist who emerged from a life of obscurity in the North American bush to become one of Canada's most renowned painters. Morrisseau the man is much like his paintings: vital and passionate, torn between his Ojibway heritage and the influences of the white man's world. Jack Pollock, the Toronto art gallery owner who discovered Morrisseau's paintings in the early 1960s, comments on what makes them so unique.
This short documentary from the Canadian Artists series presents the art of Emily Carr, the Canadian painter who found exciting subject matter on British Columbia's Pacific Coast, with its giant trees and its Indigenous villages, totems and carvings. When Carr visited the Ucluelet Indian Reserve on Vancouver Island in 1898, the Nuu-chah-nulth people gave her the name Klee Wyck, meaning “Laughing One.” Her canvases are shown here amidst the landscapes and places where they were painted. At the end of the film Tse-shaht painter George Clutesi is pictured as Carr left her paintbrushes and other materials to him.
This short documentary tells the story of Tony Chachai, a young Indigenous man in search of his identity. Moved by the desire to reconnect with his Atikamekw roots, he delivers a touching testimony on the journey that brought him closer to his family and community. On the verge of becoming a father himself, he becomes increasingly aware of the richness of his heritage and celebrates it by dancing in a powwow.This film was produced as part of Tremplin NIKANIK, a competition for francophone First Nations filmmakers in Quebec.
This documentary shows how a canoe is built the old way. César Newashish, a 67-year-old Atikamekw of the Manawan Reserve north of Montreal, uses only birchbark, cedar splints, spruce roots and gum. Building a canoe solely from the materials that the forest provides may become a lost art, even among the Indigenous peoples whose traditional craft it is. The film is without commentary but text frames appear on the screen in Cree, French and English.
When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.
The men of Shoal Lake 40 tell the story of life in the community from their perspective, in the lead-up to their annual powwow. Lorne Redsky works the outdated pump house; there is no money to fix basic systems and bottled water is required for everyday use. As Lorne focuses his energy on the monumental task of getting clean water to the powwow, community member Kavin Redsky prepares his regalia for dancing, a deeply personal process connected to his healing journey. The two men embody the powerful gifts of community, traditional culture, and medicines, which have given the people of Shoal Lake 40 the resilience to continue the fight for Freedom Road