This short film from 1944 presents the totem pole to a general audience, explaining its significance and how it fits into Indigenous culture. It was filmed in British Columbia, where these monuments, witnesses to an ancient and powerful culture, watch over us.This film is over 70 years old and should be viewed with an understanding that it is an uncensored historical document of its time.
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.
When internationally renowned Haida carver Robert Davidson was only 22 years old, he carved the first new totem pole on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii in almost a century. On the 50th anniversary of the pole’s raising, Haida filmmaker Christopher Auchter steps easily through history to revisit that day in August 1969, when the entire village of Old Massett gathered to celebrate the event that would signal the rebirth of the Haida spirit.
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.
When Masset, a Haida village on Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands), held a potlatch, it seemed as if the past grandeur of the people had returned. This is a colourful recreation of Indigenous life that faded more than two generations ago when the great totems were toppled by the missionaries and the costly potlatch was forbidden by law. The film shows how one village lived again the old glory, with singing, dancing, feasting, and the raising of a towering totem as a lasting reminder of what once was.
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.
On Canada's Pacific coast this film finds a young Haida artist, Robert Davidson, shaping miniature totems from argillite, a jet-like stone. The film follows the artist to the island where he finds the stone, and then shows how he carves it in the manner of his grandfather, who taught him the craft.
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 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.
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).