Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective

A playlist by Alanis Obomsawin

Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child


This short documentary is a moving tribute to Richard Cardinal, a Métis adolescent who committed suicide in 1984. Taken from his home at the age of 4 due to family problems, he spent the rest of his 17 short years moving in and out of 28 foster homes, group homes and shelters in Alberta. A sensitive, articulate young man, Richard Cardinal left behind a diary upon which this film is based.

This was a very special film for me. When I learned of Richard's death, I went to visit the last set of foster parents he'd had. I wasn't thinking of making the film at the time. I went as if I were a relation of Richard's. I didn't want them to regret the fact that they had taken him as a foster child. It was to converse with them in terms of our situation and I learned that they didn't know anything about First Nations people and I felt very bad for them. I went mainly to tell them about our situation and our children who are in need of parents. It was out of this visit that the film was born.

From the playlist : Alanis Obomsawin Retrospective

This was a very special film for me. When I learned of Richard's death, I went to visit the last set of foster parents he'd had. I wasn't thinking of making the film at the time. I went as if I were a relation of Richard's. I didn't want them to regret the fact that they had taken him as a foster child. It was to converse with them in terms of our situation and I learned that they didn't know anything about First Nations people and I felt very bad for them. I went mainly to tell them about our situation and our children who are in need of parents. It was out of this visit that the film was born.

— Alanis Obomsawin