This documentary takes you on a reflective journey into the extended family of Nova Scotia’s Mi'kmaq community. Revisiting her own roots, Mi'kmaq filmmaker and mother Catherine Anne Martin explores how the community is recovering its First Nations values, particularly through the teachings of elders and a collective approach to children-rearing. Mi'kmaq Family is an inspiring resource for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences who are looking for ways to strengthen and explore their own families and traditions.
We hear the Mi'kmaq language spoken and a lullaby is sung by a Mi'kmaq grandmother featured in the film.
This feature-length documentary chronicles the Sundance ceremony brought to Eastern Canada by William Nevin of the Elsipogtog First Nation of the Mi'kmaq. Nevin learned from Elder Keith Chiefmoon of the Blackfoot Confederacy in Alberta. Under the July sky, participants in the Sundance ceremony go four days without food or water. Then they will pierce the flesh of their chests in an offering to the Creator. This event marks a transmission of culture and a link to the warrior traditions of the past.
This film profiles a number of Mi’kmaq and Maliseet artists from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, showing their similarities and differences, samples of their work and the sources of their inspiration. It offers a remarkable look at Indigenous art and spirituality in Atlantic Canada.
Combining archival photos with new and found footage, this short film presents a personal, impressionistic rendering of what it's like growing up Mi'kmaq in Newfoundland, while living in a culture of denial.Vistas is a series of 13 short films on nationhood from 13 Indigenous filmmakers from Halifax to Vancouver. It was a collaborative project between the NFB and APTN to bring Indigenous perspectives and stories to an international audience.
This animated short tells the story of Maq, a Mi'kmaq boy who realizes his potential with the help of inconspicuous mentors. When an elder in the community offers him a small piece of pipestone, Maq carves a little person out of it. Proud of his work, the boy wants to impress his grandfather and journeys through the woods to find him. Along the path Maq meets a curious traveller named Mi'gmwesu. Together they share stories, medicine, laughter, and song. Maq begins to care less about making a good impression and more about sharing the knowledge and spirit he's found through his creation. Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children's stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.
This short animation tells the tale of the great spirit Glooscap and how he battled with the giant Winter in order to bring Summer to the North and the Mi'kmaq people. Silas T. Rand, a Canadian Baptist clergyman and ethnographer, and Charles Leland, an American humorist and folklorist, first recorded the legend of Glooscap at the end of the 19th century. Since then, the legend has been retold many times, but never more beautifully than in this colourful animated interpretation.
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.
Covering a vast swath of northern Ontario, Treaty No. 9 reflects the often contradictory interpretations of treaties between First Nations and the Crown. To the Canadian government, this treaty represents a surrendering of Indigenous sovereignty, while the descendants of the Cree signatories contend its original purpose to share the land and its resources has been misunderstood and not upheld. Enlightening as it is entertaining, Trick or Treaty? succinctly and powerfully portrays one community’s attempts to enforce their treaty rights and protect their lands, while also revealing the complexities of contemporary treaty agreements. Trick or Treaty? made history as the first film by an Indigenous filmmaker to be part of the Masters section at TIFF when it screened there in 2014.
Also available on the Alanis Obomsawin, A Legacy DVD box set
Waseteg is the story of a young Mi'kmaq girl whose name means “the light from the dawn.” Sadly, her mother dies while giving birth and, though her father works very hard to provide for his family, Waseteg is surrounded by the bitterness and loneliness felt by her sisters.
As a young girl, Waseteg looks for solace in nature, and dreams of the stories she’s heard in the village – including one about Walqwan, the mysterious boy living across the river. Eventually, with the gentle care of the boy's grandmother, Waseteg succeeds in finding Walqwan, discovering the Spirit Path, and restoring love to her family.
A short story about dreams, courage, identity, creation and embracing our Elders, Waseteg showcases Phyllis Grant's signature style of bold lines, bright colours and simple movements. The film is beautifully narrated by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin.
On August 9, 2016, a young Cree man named Colten Boushie died from a gunshot to the back of his head after entering Gerald Stanley’s rural property with his friends. The jury’s subsequent acquittal of Stanley captured international attention, raising questions about racism embedded within Canada’s legal system and propelling Colten’s family to national and international stages in their pursuit of justice. Sensitively directed by Tasha Hubbard, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up weaves a profound narrative encompassing the filmmaker’s own adoption, the stark history of colonialism on the Prairies, and a vision of a future where Indigenous children can live safely on their homelands.
“When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69-year-old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.
Sigwan tells the touching story of a young girl who is comforted and counselled by the animals of the forest. Written and directed by distinguished filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, the film addresses issues of exclusion and prejudice that exist within many communities worldwide. Visually breathtaking and in High-Definition, Sigwan is a simple, transformative parable of acceptance.