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Incident at Restigouche

Incident at Restigouche

| 45 min

On June 11 and 20, 1981, the Quebec Provincial Police (QPP) raided Restigouche Reserve, Quebec. At issue were the salmon-fishing rights of the Mi’kmaq. Because salmon has traditionally been a source of food and income for the Mi’kmaq, the Quebec government’s decision to restrict fishing aroused consternation and anger. Released in 1984, this groundbreaking and impassioned account of the police raids brought Alanis Obomsawin to international attention. The film features a remarkable on-camera exchange between Obomsawin herself and provincial Minister of Fisheries Lucien Lessard, the man who’d ordered the raid. Decades later, Jeff Barnaby, director of Rhymes for Young Ghouls, cited the film as an inspiration. “That documentary encapsulated the idea of films being a form of social protest for me... It started right there with that film.”

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

  • director
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • script
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • narrator
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • producer
    Andy Thomson
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • executive producer
    Robert Verrall
    Adam Symansky
  • camera
    Roger Rochat
    Savas Kalogeras
  • sound
    Yves Gendron
    Bev Davidson
  • editing
    Alan Collins
    Wolf Koenig
  • sound editing
    Bill Graziadei
  • animation
    Raymond Dumas


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Ages 10 to 17

Geography - Territory: Indigenous
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Issues and Contemporary Challenges
Social Studies - Law

In class discussion, consider why the Quebec government decided to restrict salmon fishing on the Restigouche River by the Mi’kmaq. Was this decision lawful? Was this decision justified? Have students comment on the treatment of the reserve members by the QPP. Discuss the aftermath of the raids, in terms of vindication.

Incident at Restigouche
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