Is the Crown at war with us?

Is the Crown at war with us?

| 1 h 36 min
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In the summer of 2000, federal fishery officers appeared to wage war on the Mi'gmaq fishermen of Burnt Church, New Brunswick. Why would officials of the Canadian government attack citizens for exercising rights that had been affirmed by the highest court in the land? Alanis Obomsawin casts her nets into history to provide a context for the events on Miramichi Bay.

This film contains scenes of violence. Viewer discretion is advised.

As the confrontation between Mi’gmaq fisherman in Burnt Church, New Brunswick and federal fishery officers comes to a head, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ boats violently ram and run over the much smaller boats of the Mi’gmaq fishers. Watching the footage, I’m reminded of the brutal scene during the Oka Crisis where the Kahnawake Mohawks are stoned as they cross the Mercier bridge [see Alanis Obomsawin’s Rocks at Whiskey Trench].

Gil Cardinal
From the playlist: The Aboriginal Voice: the National Film Board and Aboriginal Filmmaking through the Years

I was back in Restigouche because there was another stand taking place concerning logging issues (this led to the film Our Nationhood) when the raids occurred in Burnt Church. When I found out about what was going on there with the Mi'gmaq fishermen, I made this film.

There were three films on the Mi'gmaq people – Incident at Restigouche, Is the Crown at war with us and Our Nationhood.

Alanis Obomsawin
From the playlist: Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective

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  • original music composer
    Francis Grandmont
  • writer
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • director
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • editor
    Alison Burns
  • camera
    Philippe Amiguet
    Yoan Cart
    Michel La Veaux
  • location sound
    Raymond Marcoux
    Ismaël Cordeiro
  • sound editor
    André Chaput
  • voice recording
    Patrick Knup
  • voice
    Arthur Holden
    Tony Robinow
  • narration
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • drawings
  • research
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • animation camera
    Pierre Landry
  • re-recording mixer
    Serge Boivin
    Jean Paul Vialard
  • producer
    Alanis Obomsawin
  • executive producer
    Sally Bochner

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  • rachelenns

    I commend Alanis Obomsawin for making a powerful, educating documentary. This is a documentary that all Canadians need to watch, even though it is 12 years old. This exposes racism and struggles which the Mi’kmaq people still face today. We need to understand the past to change the future.

    rachelenns, 21 Feb 2014
  • KarinLisaAtkinson

    I really appreciate this film. I hope there is a follow-up film as time moves onward. It is a very important historical document, which can be seen by the whole world. I think the actions of the government speak for themselves, meaning when is it acceptable in any country to hurt your citizens instead of dialogue - and dishonour treaties that have sustainable practices being implemented by the first people's who have lived on the land for centuries.

    KarinLisaAtkinson, 15 Feb 2013
  • neural

    would love to see a story about these issues with both sides' stories.

    neural, 14 Sep 2011
  • marydeborah

    Yes, the Crown is at war with us. When did it truely end?

    marydeborah, 21 Oct 2010