Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child

Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child

                                Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child
| 29 min

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Richard Cardinal died by his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life. Released in 1984—decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission—the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective, and continues to be shown around the world.

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

Taken from his home at the age of 4 due to family problems, Richard Cardinal spent the rest of his 17 short years moving in and out of 28 foster homes, group homes and shelters in Alberta.

Alanis Obomsawin
From the playlist: Tribute to Alanis Obomsawin

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Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • script
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • producer
    Alanis Obomsawin
    Marrin Canell
    Robert Verrall
  • executive producer
    Andy Thomson
  • camera
    Roger Rochat
  • sound
    Raymond Marcoux
  • editing
    Rita Roy
  • sound editing
    Bernard Bordeleau
    Jackie Newell
  • voice
    David Mitchell
  • re-recording
    Hans Peter Strobl
  • music
    Dario Domingues
  • cast
    Pauline Kerik
    Leslie Miller
    Betty Smith
    Cory Swan

  • krash6t9

    Still Haunts me

    krash6t9, 13 Nov 2015
  • sh987

    This takes me back to when the story of Richard Cardinal's suicide made the news, and is as heart rending now as it was then. What is even more sad is the knowledge that the subsequent inquiry into his death changed little, as the recommendations weren't binding, and have mostly been ignored.

    sh987, 23 Sep 2015
  • zahid

    heart touching story.

    zahid, 18 Oct 2011
  • kruscito

    @toneal02 --> I'll pass along your beautiful comment!

    kruscito, 3 Oct 2011
  • toneal02

    I would like to thank Alanis Obomsawin and the NFB for making this film possible. I lost a son to suicide many years ago and for a long time I struggled with the pain of not knowing why such a beautiful part of my life was taken away. Many years later, I realized that the reason for my child's death was to bring awareness to the public regarding the adverse side effects of anti-depressants. Psychiatrists routinely do not inform patients of non-drug treatments, nor do they conduct thorough medical examinations to ensure that a person’s problem does not stem from an untreated medical condition that is manifesting as a “psychiatric” symptom. Also, psychiatrists can’t predict what adverse side effects you might experience because not one of them really knows how their drugs work. Psychotropic drugs are increasingly being exposed as chemical toxins with the power to kill. Psychiatrists claim their drugs save lives, but according to their own studies, psychotropic drugs can double the risk of suicide. Dear Charlie, I am so sorry for your loss. It takes a lot of courage to tell your brother's story and I am very proud of you. Richard's story will change many lives and I am confident that it will open your government's eyes. I know the pain is difficult to live with but please continue your journey of telling Richard's story. Human suffrage need not exist in this world!

    toneal02, 3 Oct 2011
  • WestSide_

    i came across this video in my social study`s class. it kinda hit close to home. i read `` i was a victim of child neglect.`` and watched this video. we then had to answer a series or questions and write him a letter asif we new him befor he passed away giving him advice. this was a hard assignment to do. i wish that these people would have done more to help him, maybe they just should of kept the kids together, im sorry for his family`s loss. & this had a great impact on my life, richard you made me realise a few things that helped me realise. thank you & im sorry this had happened... your`s truly; behcky, grade 10

    WestSide_, 11 Sep 2010
  • krash69

    Very moving indeed. I spent time with Richard in Grande Prarie YDC. I wondered for years what became of him, until I stumbled upon this site. Peace Richard now you are free

    krash69, 30 Jul 2010
  • Gman

    A very moving film. Tragic that it often takes such a sacrifice to bring about change.

    Gman, 29 May 2010

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