Mary Two-Axe Earley: Skonkwehón:we Á:re kaká:raton ne Mary Two-Axe Earley akoká:ra, ísi’ nón: ne teiohseráhsen iakohskehnhà:’on taié:tahste’ tsi shakotikenhrón:nis konnonkwehón:we né:ne í:kare’ Kakoráhsera’ aoianerénhsera’ Indian Act nok tsi wa’ehsennowáhnha’ né: Canada’s women’s rights movement.
Né:ne iah nonwén:ton ónhka teiakotkáhthon kí:ken wateweièn:ton karahstánion nok kawennarahstánion wátston, Ienien’kehá:ka iekararáhstha’ Courtney Mountor teiotíhthare’ ne Ienien’kehá:ka iakonkwe’kénha né:ne iakohskehnhà’:on taié:tahste’ tsi shakotikenhrón:nis tsonathonwí:sen nok Kakoráhsera’ tsi nihotiianerenhserò:ten’ tsi ronte’niéntha’ ahonwanáhton’te’ nonkwehón:we. Nè:’e arihón:ni wahónhton’te’ ne onkwehón:we ahontatena’tónhkhwake’ ne konnonkwehón:we nok ronwatiien’okòn:’a tsi wahotíniake’ ne iah tehonnonkwehón:we.
Montour teiotíhthare’ Iehrhakón:ha iakorihwahskéhnhen Nellie Carlson, ne Mary akwáh ákta tsi ionátshi tánon’ iakotahsnié:nen tsi tionatáhsawe’ ne Indian Rights for Indian Women, nok áhsen nikahwatsiratátie’ tehonatátken ne Mary tsi iekhonnià:tha’ ne Kahnawà:ke, né: ká:ti’ ahshakotihsennakará:tate’ ní:kon iakoterihwakanonnì:’on tsi tiakotenenhratáhsawe’ aontahontén:rohwe’ akaia’takehnhahtsherénhawe’ aonsonteríhsi’ tsi rotirihón:ni ne tóhsa ahontatena’tónhkhwake’ onkwehón:we ne ioshentsheró:ton nihá:ti konnonkwehón:we nok ronwatiien’okòn:’a.
Mary Two-Axe Earley: I Am Indian Again shares the powerful story of Mary Two-Axe Earley, who fought for more than two decades to challenge sex discrimination against First Nations women embedded in Canada’s Indian Act and became a key figure in Canada’s women’s rights movement.
Using never-before-seen archival footage and audio recordings, Mohawk filmmaker Courtney Montour engages in a deeply personal conversation with the late Mohawk woman who challenged sexist and genocidal government policies that stripped First Nations women and children of their Indian status when they married non-Indian men.
Montour speaks with Cree activist Nellie Carlson, Mary’s lifelong friend and co-founder of Indian Rights for Indian Women, and meets with three generations in Mary’s kitchen in Kahnawà:ke to honour the legacy of a woman who galvanized a national network of allies to help restore Indian status to thousands of First Nations women and children.
This short documentary offers a portrait of a group of women who led their community, the largest reserve in Canada, Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve, in an historic blockade to protect their land.On February 28, 2006, members of the Iroquois Confederacy blockaded a highway near Caledonia, Ontario to prevent a housing development on land that falls within their traditional territories. The ensuing confrontation made national headlines for months. Less well-known is the crucial role of the clan mothers of the community who set the rules for conduct. When the community's chiefs ask people to abandon the barricades, it is the clan mothers who overrule them, leading a cultural reawakening in their traditionally matriarchal community.
A tribute to Indigenous women everywhere, this short documentary focuses on 5 women from across Canada. Of varied ages and backgrounds, they have achieved success in a variety of careers: as the Yukon legislature's first Indigenous woman minister (Margaret Joe), as a deck hand on a fishing boat (Corinne Hunt), as a teacher (Sophie MacLeod), as a lawyer (Roberta Jamieson), and as a band council chief (Sophie May Pierre - St. Mary’s Indian Band of the Ktunaxa Nation off the Ktunaxa Nation).Each of these women talks about how she got to where she is today while emphasizing the importance of Indigenous culture - its values, art, and spiritual beliefs - in helping her to develop a sense of self and seeing through rough times, including residential school experiences.
Released in 1969, These Are My People… was the first NFB film made entirely by an Indigenous crew. It was co-directed by Roy Daniels, Willie Dunn, Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell and Barbara Wilson—members of the Indian Film Crew (IFC), an all-Indigenous unit established in 1968 as part of Challenge for Change, a broader organizational initiative to use media to effect social change. One of the first Canadian documentaries to foreground an Indigenous perspective on the history of Indigenous–settler relations, it features Standing Arrow and Tom Porter, from the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk) community of Akwesasne, who discuss longhouse religion, culture, government and the impacts of settler arrival on their way of life.
In this feature-length documentary, Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign to provide equitable access to education in safe and suitable schools for First Nations children. Strong participation in this initiative eventually brings Shannen's Dream all the way to the United Nations in Geneva.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin, A Legacy DVD box set
This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
Stories of resistance, strength and perseverance are laid bare in this examination of a dark day in Canadian history. At the height of tensions at Oka, Quebec, in 1990, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) women, children and Elders fled their community of Kahnawake out of fear for their safety. Once past the Canadian Army that surrounded their home, they were assaulted by angry non-Indigenous protesters who pelted their convoy with rocks. This visceral display of hatred and violence – rarely seen so publicly in Canada – shocked the nation and revealed the severity of the dangers that faced the Kanien’kehá:ka in their struggle to defend a sacred site.
This film is the fourth in Alanis Obomsawin’s landmark series on the Mohawk resistance at Oka that would become a pivot point in contemporary relationships between Indigenous nations and Canada.
The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. A rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.
An intimate portrait of Marie Leo, a Sto:lo woman who was adopted into a Líl̓wat family as a baby. Marie’s gentle narrative of her remarkable early childhood demonstrates a deep connection to culture, land and family that continues to endure.
This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.
This short documentary by Alanis Obomsawin tells the story of Kahentiiosta, a young Kahnawake Mohawk woman arrested after the Oka Crisis' 78-day armed standoff in 1990. She was detained 4 days longer than the other women. Her crime? The prosecutor representing the Quebec government did not accept her Indigenous name.
In this feature-length documentary by Alanis Obomsawin, it's the summer of 2000 and the country watches in disbelief as federal fisheries wage war on the Mi'kmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Casting her cinematic and intellectual nets into history to provide context, Obomsawin delineates the complex roots of the conflict with passion and clarity, building a persuasive defence of the Mi'kmaq position.
Ages 14 to 18
Civics/Citizenship - Human Rights
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
This study guide will guide students in discussing and reflecting on the injustices and discrimination that the Indian Act has created for First Nations women. Students will also begin to consider how the injustices have a long-term impact on the lives of Indigenous women and girls. What it means to be an Indigenous person will also be reflected on. After watching this film, students should be able to identify and define Mary Two-Axe Earley as a leader of the Canadian women’s rights movement who challenged Canadian laws that discriminated against First Nations women. A follow-up action includes an activity that describes, illustrates, appreciates and honours Mary Two-Axe Earley’s contribution and legacy.