This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
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.
This short documentary follows Montreal filmmaker Eylem Kaftan as she travels to Turkey in an attempt to unravel the 30-year-old mystery of her aunt Guzide's murder. As she searches for clues and closure, she encounters antiquated customs in a Kurdish culture she's never known. She knows that her aunt was the victim of a senseless vendetta killing and as she ventures from village to village she pieces together the woman’s final days and closes in on the identity of her killer. Vendetta Song is produced by DLI Productions in co-production with the NFB.
In a pounding critique of Canada's colonial history, this short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.This film is part of Souvenir, a series of four films addressing Indigenous identity and representation by reworking material in the NFB's archives.
A tribute to Indigenous women everywhere, this short documentary focuses on 5 women from across Canada. Of varied ages and backgrounds, they have achieved success in a variety of careers: as the Yukon legislature's first Indigenous woman minister (Margaret Joe), as a deck hand on a fishing boat (Corinne Hunt), as a teacher (Sophie MacLeod), as a lawyer (Roberta Jamieson), and as a band council chief (Sophie May Pierre - St. Mary’s Indian Band of the Ktunaxa Nation off the Ktunaxa Nation).Each of these women talks about how she got to where she is today while emphasizing the importance of Indigenous culture - its values, art, and spiritual beliefs - in helping her to develop a sense of self and seeing through rough times, including residential school experiences.
In Crown Prince, Frank Robinson abuses his wife verbally and batters her physically, with frightening consequences not only for her, but also for their sons, Billy and Freddy. A thought-provoking drama, this film explores the complex problems teenagers face in dealing with domestic violence, and shows how one family begins the healing process.
In July 1990, a dispute over a proposed golf course to be built on Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk) lands in Oka, Quebec, set the stage for a historic confrontation that would grab international headlines and sear itself into the Canadian consciousness. Director Alanis Obomsawin—at times with a small crew, at times alone—spent 78 days behind Kanien’kéhaka lines filming the armed standoff between protestors, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. Released in 1993, this landmark documentary has been seen around the world, winning over a dozen international awards and making history at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it became the first documentary ever to win the Best Canadian Feature award. Jesse Wente, Director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office, has called it a “watershed film in the history of First Peoples cinema.”
This short documentary tells the story of Tony Chachai, a young Indigenous man in search of his identity. Moved by the desire to reconnect with his Atikamekw roots, he delivers a touching testimony on the journey that brought him closer to his family and community. On the verge of becoming a father himself, he becomes increasingly aware of the richness of his heritage and celebrates it by dancing in a powwow.This film was produced as part of Tremplin NIKANIK, a competition for francophone First Nations filmmakers in Quebec.
The short documentary looks at some innovative approaches to providing services and accommodation for battered women in rural, northern, and Native communities. Filmed in Thompson and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, and West Bay Reserve, Ontario, the film introduces the women who operate and use various types of accommodation such as transition houses, transition apartments, and safe houses. The shelter on West Bay Reserve is singled out as a project that was built by women for women to stand as a reminder that the Reserve will not tolerate violence against women. A Safe Distance is part of the The Next Step, a 3-film series about the services needed by and available to battered women.
Ages 16 to 18
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
History and Citizenship Education - Issues in Society Today
Indigenous Studies - Issues and Contemporary Challenges
Social Studies - Contemporary Issues
Social Studies - Law
A documentary that can be used to prompt class discussions, action initiatives and debates about social justice in an Indigenous context. How is the justice system’s undermining of the issue of missing Indigenous people reflective of the current and historical treatment and disregard for Indigenous lives? Is it necessary for Indigenous people and allies to form grassroots groups that advocate for fair and just treatment? What actions can be taken to lift up people and create a more ethical and just society? What can you do to combat violence and racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada? Why do racism, prejudice and discrimination against Indigenous peoples persist in Canada?