Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this dramatic film features a young Ojibwa girl from 1770 who marries a Scottish fur trader and leaves home for the shores of Georgian Bay. Although the union is beneficial for her tribe, it results in hardship and isolation for Ikwe. Values and customs clash until, finally, the events of a dream Ikwe once had unfold with tragic clarity.
Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this film, set in the 1850s, unfolds against the backdrop of the Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly of the fur trade. In protest, some Métis engage in trade with the Americans. Madeleine, the Métis common-law wife of a Hudson's Bay Company clerk, is torn between loyalty to her husband and loyalty to her brother, a freetrader. Even more shattering, a change in company policy destroys Madeleine's happy and secure life, forcing her to re-evaluate her identity.
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.
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.
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
Shoal Lake 40 women talk about their struggles, and those of their parents and grandparents, in trying to raise their families in a hazardous state of enforced isolation. Everyone in the community has a harrowing story of a loved one falling through the ice while trying to get across the lake, with pregnant women and new mothers fearing for their babies and having no choice but to make the trek in dangerous conditions. The film shows the key role of the community’s women in demanding funding for the road from three levels of government, and how their reconnection to culture and ceremony give them the strength to keep going.
Freedom Road Series is a five-part documentary series that tells the inspiring story of one First Nation’s battle to resolve a brutal colonial legacy that uprooted and transformed a self-sustaining community into an isolated island, only a short distance from the Trans-Canada highway.
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 from director Gerald Potterton (Heavy Metal) stars Buster Keaton in one of the last films of his long career. As "the railrodder", Keaton crosses Canada from east to west on a railway track speeder. True to Keaton's genre, the film is full of sight gags as our protagonist putt-putts his way to British Columbia. Not a word is spoken throughout, and Keaton is as spry and ingenious at fetching laughs as he was in the old days of the silent slapsticks.
For more background information about this film, visit the NFB.ca blog.
This epic drama looks at the opening of the Canadian West and the drought that led to the Depression in the Thirties. It is the saga of a family who left Eastern Canada to stake their future in the Prairies. Principle roles are played by Frances Hyland and James Douglas.
For more background information about this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.
Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.
Ages 14 to 17
Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
History - Early Canadian Exploration (1600s-1800s)
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Discuss fur trading in Canada between the Europeans and Native peoples and consider the mutual benefits of such trading. Explain why Ikwe’s father gave her to the Scotsman, Angus. Comment on their life together, especially explaining why Ikwe left Angus and went back to her tribe. Was Ikwe justified in sending her daughter away? Research the worldwide history of smallpox and the development of a successful vaccine to control it.