Leading Indigenous activists, thinkers and community organizers – including Harold Cardinal, Walter Dieter, Mary Ann Lavallee and Duke Redbird – have a frank conversation about the broken relationship between the Government of Canada and Indigenous people. Taking place in 1967, the discussion remains deeply resonant today, where the same issues persist. The group expertly parse the “unconscionable” treaty agreements, the intricacies of the Indian Act, and the political system as tools designed to prevent Indigenous self-determination and economic independence. They explore what it means to be “Indian”, and offer radical new ideas for Indigenous self-governing policies, some of which were developed by individuals in this group, and others that are still being fought for today. This film was produced as part of Challenge for Change/Société Nouvelle (CFC/SN), a ground-breaking community engaged documentary program run by the NFB from 1967 to 1980. The program pioneered participatory and experimental storytelling in film and video, with a focus on the perspectives of Indigenous and marginalized communities whose voices were rarely represented in the media landscape. In 1968, the Challenge for Change program established the “Indian Film Crew”, marking the beginning of a movement of Indigenous filmmaking at the NFB, and in Canada.
Indian Dialogue, David Hughes, provided by the National Film Board of Canada