This short film from 1949 introduces us to the Gitxsan and Tsimshian First Nations of northern British Columbia. These peoples of the Skeena River exist in two worlds. Ancient totem poles tower against the mountains and the forests, old graveyards reveal fragments of shared history, and traditional crafts are still practiced on the reserves. But in the school games, in a wedding complete with white veil and white rice, and in the sawmill, we see how other ways of life are being adopted.
This documentary short is an introduction to the Bella Bella (Heiltsuk) of Campbell Island, 500 km North of Vancouver on the Pacific Coast. Since the coming of settlers, these fishing people have watched their ancient Heiltsuk culture and their independence all but disappear. Today, in an energetic attempt to become self-sufficient, they are regaining both - successfully combining economic development with cultural revival.
We hear the Heiltsuk language spoken in the film (Haíɫzaqvḷa).
This short documentary takes a fascinating look at the meaning behind some Indigenous masks from the North Pacific coast. Our guide is professor Claude Levi-Strauss of Paris, a world-renowned anthropologist and authority on the structural analysis of myth. He explains the significant features of 3 masks, and the stories behind them, while also visiting an Indigenous carver on Vancouver Island.
This feature-length documentary traces the journey of the Haisla people to reclaim the G'psgolox totem pole that went missing from their British Columbia village in 1929. The fate of the 19th century traditional mortuary pole remained unknown for over 60 years until it was discovered in a Stockholm museum where it is considered state property by the Swedish government.Director Gil Cardinal combines interviews, striking imagery and rare footage of master carvers to raise questions about ownership and the meaning of Indigenous objects held in museums.
This documentary follows Haida artist Bill Reid, from British Columbia. A jeweller and wood carver, he works on a traditional Haida totem pole. We watch the gradual transformation of a bare cedar trunk into a richly carved pole to stand on the shores of the town of Skidegate, in the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C.
This short documentary by Colin Low is an invitation to a gathering of the Káínaa of Alberta - as the Sun Dance is captured on film for the first time. The film shows how the theme of the circle reflects the bands' connection to wildlife and also addresses the predicament of the young generation, those who have relinquished their ties with their own culture but have not yet found a firm place in a changing world.
This short documentary offers an intimate portrait of Augusta Evans, an 88-year-old Secwépmec woman who has spent her life in the hills of the Williams Lake area of British Columbia, where she lives alone in a log cabin without running water or electricity. Born the daughter of a Chief, Augusta was forced to attend residential school and lost her treaty status when she wed her non-Indigenous husband. After seeing a woman lose her life in childbirth, Augusta taught herself midwifery from a book and delivered many babies, including her own daughter, whom she birthed alone in her cabin. Having lived through many losses and now surviving on a $250 monthly pension that barely covers wood and groceries, Augusta is a cherished member of her community, where she shares her knowledge and songs, and laments that the young people are not learning their language.
Traditional Northwestern Indigenous spiritual images combine with cutting-edge computer animation in this surreal short film about the power of tradition. Three urban Indigenous teens are whisked away to an imaginary land by a magical raven, and there they encounter a totem pole. The totem pole's characters—a raven, a frog and a bear—come to life, becoming their teachers, guides and friends.Features a special interview with J. Bradley Hunt, the celebrated Heiltsuk artist on whose work the characters in Totem Talk are based.
Featuring archival images and compelling interviews, this documentary captures Rhonda Larrabee's quest to unearth the Indigenous heritage her mother felt forced to hide from her. Now, as proud Chief of the New Westminster Band, she works tirelessly to revitalize the Qayqayt First Nations. Tribe of One was produced as part of Reel Diversity, an initiative organized in partnership with CBC Newsworld.
Contrasting ancient myth and modern reality, this short documentary examines the legendary relationship between West Coast Indigenous people and salmon, once their staple food. In the mythical realm, we learn how Raven finds riches in the harvest of the salmon, only to lose everything through a thoughtless act against the Spirit of the Salmon. So too does modern man jeopardize his living from the sea by heedless action. Images of ancient spear-fishing and smoke-houses contrast with images of today's Indigenous people operating a seiner and working in a cooperative cannery.
In this follow-up to his 2003 film, Totem: the Return of the G'psgolox Pole, filmmaker Gil Cardinal documents the events of the final journey of the G'psgolox Pole as it returns home to Kitamaat and the Haisla people, from where it went missing in 1929.