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Who Were the Ones?

1972 7 min
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This short film was created by a group of Indigenous filmmakers at the NFB in 1972 and is essentially a song by Willie Dunn sung by Bob Charlie and illustrated by John Fadden: "Who were the ones who bid you welcome and took you by the hand, inviting you here by our campfires, as brothers we might stand?" The song expresses bitter memories of the past, of trust repaid by treachery, and of friendship debased by exploitation upon the arrival of European colonists.

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Who Were the Ones?

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This short film was created by a group of Indigenous filmmakers at the NFB in 1972 and is essentially a song by Willie Dunn sung by Bob Charlie and illustrated by John Fadden: "Who were the ones who bid you welcome and took you by the hand, inviting you here by our campfires, as brothers we might stand?"

The song expresses bitter memories of the past, of trust repaid by treachery, and of friendship debased by exploitation upon the arrival of European colonists.
  • director
    Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell
  • producer
    Denis Gillson
  • executive producer
    David Bairstow
  • animation camera
    Cameron Gaul
  • editing
    Dennis Sawyer
    F. Whitman Trecartin
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • animation
    John Fadden
  • music
    Willie Dunn

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Education

Ages 16 to 18

Warning: Images of starvation. This documentary can inspire research, discussion, projects and entry points for developing foundational knowledge in relation to the shaping of Canada through a First Nations lens. This video combines music and lyrics with paintings that reflect a history of colonization. Consider the lyrics in the song and how they can inform an understanding of the shaping of Canada that may contrast with others' view of the same subject. Is it important to learn First Nations’ understandings of history and events that have led to the shaping of Canada? How can learning about history through First Nations truth telling support reconciliation? Is it important to learn about leaders like Tecumseh from First Nations accounts?  How can music and art combined be used to educate and inspire social justice? 

Who Were the Ones?
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