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Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer

| 50 min

This documentary, by filmmaker Carol Geddes, is a unique portrait of George Johnston, a photographer who was himself a creator of portraits and a keeper of his culture. Johnston cared deeply about the traditions of the Tlingit people, and he recorded a critical period in the history of the Tlingit nation. As Geddes says, his legacy was "to help us dream the future as much as to remember the past."

  • director
    Carol Geddes
  • script
    Carol Geddes
  • narrator
    Carol Geddes
  • producer
    Sally Bochner
    George Hargrave
  • executive producer
    Don Haig
  • cinematography
    James Jeffrey
    Joan Hutton
  • animation camera
    Dominique Parizeau
    Daniel Villeneuve
  • sound
    Rick Gustavsen
    Garrell Clark
  • editing
    Annie Ilkow
  • sound editing
    Eric Lemoyne
  • sound mix
    Eric Lemoyne
  • music
    Charles Morrow
  • cast
    Keith Wolf Smarch
    Mark Porter


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Ages 16 to 18

Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
History and Citizenship Education - Economy and Development (1500-present)
History and Citizenship Education - European Expansion (1500s-1700s)
Indigenous Studies - Arts
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society

This documentary can inspire research, discussion, projects and deeper learning about the Tlingit and photography. How have advancements in digital photography and social media brought about by First Nations people contributed to education, truth telling and the dismantling of negative stereotypes? What are traditional laws and how did colonization and policies, such as the Indian Act, disregard First Nations laws that governed lives for tens of thousands of years? What has been the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual impact on First Nations when it came to settler notions of progress? What were the impacts on families who were forcibly removed with no sense of compassion for their way of life and inherent land use? What can be said about the attitudes, beliefs and ethics of the soldiers and wives who desecrated burial houses and hibernating bears? What is self-government and why do First Nations have the right to self-govern? How did illness projected upon First Nations extend beyond the physical to include fractured spiritual, emotional, and mental health and well-being?  

Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer
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