This short film from the late 1960s depicts a rug-making cooperative organized by the Sioux women of the Standing Buffalo Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley of southern Saskatchewan. The members of this band are descended from a tribe that migrated from Minnesota during armed clashes over a hundred years ago. The Sioux, noted for their distinctive, colourful designs, show off their handicraft in great detail.
In this acclaimed 1994 documentary, Loretta Todd, a leading figure in Indigenous cinema in Canada, profiles four contemporary female artists—Doreen Jensen, Rena Point Bolton, Jane Ash Poitras and Joane Cardinal-Schubert—who seek to find a continuum from traditional to contemporary forms of expression. Each artist reveals her practice and journey in her own words. The film is a moving testimony to the vital role Indigenous women play in nurturing Indigenous cultures.
In this short from the Canada Vignettes series, the Earl of Caledon of Tyrone, Ireland, acquires an elegantly tailored deerskin coat. The coat is trimmed with fringe and brightly dyed porcupine quill embroidery, in a fashion popularized by the Métis.
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.
Alexis Ladouceur's life has the tranquility of his surroundings and he belongs to the lake as much as the fish he lifts from the net or the flight of ducks arrowing over the reeds. By contrast, his brother, who farms nearby, seems of a different world. The film reflects the past story of the Métis, people of mixed French and First Nations' heritage, and the life of their communities.
In this feature-length documentary from Alanis Obomsawin, the filmmaker returns to the village where she was raised to craft a lyrical account of her own people. After decades of tirelessly recording others' stories, she focuses this film on her own.
This short documentary is a portrait of Ulayok Kaviok, one of the last of a generation of Inuit, born and bred on the land. Ulayok and her family, like many Inuit today, strive to balance 2 very different worlds. Her skills in making the sealskin boots called kamik may soon be lost in the cultural transformation overtaking her community. Kamik offers a glimpse of those universes and the thread one woman weaves between them.
This short documentary follows Gabe Etchinelle as builds a mooseskin boat as a tribute to an earlier way of life, where the Shotah Dene people would use a mooseskin boats and transport their families and cargo down mountain rivers to trading settlements throughout the Northwest Territories.
A series of still images follows master Stl’atl’imx (Líl̓wat) basket maker Mathilda Jim, from the harvesting of materials to the creation of a functional work of art. Told in the Lil̓wat7úl language, this short documentary evokes the powerful connection between language, knowledge and culture.
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 Stl’atl’imx (Líl̓wat) Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about their culture, histories and knowledge.
This documentary shows how a canoe is built the old way. César Newashish, a 67-year-old Atikamekw of the Manawan Reserve north of Montreal, uses only birchbark, cedar splints, spruce roots and gum. Building a canoe solely from the materials that the forest provides may become a lost art, even among the Indigenous peoples whose traditional craft it is. The film is without commentary but text frames appear on the screen in Cree, French and English.