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 film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

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

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Alanis Obomsawin
Alanis Obomsawin
Alanis Obomsawin
Marrin Canell
Robert Verrall
executive producer
Andy Thomson
Roger Rochat
Raymond Marcoux
Rita Roy
sound editing
Bernard Bordeleau
Jackie Newell
David Mitchell
Hans Peter Strobl
Dario Domingues
Pauline Kerik
Leslie Miller
Betty Smith
Cory Swan


  • krash6t9

    “Still Haunts me” — krash6t9, 13 Nov 2015

  • sh987

    “This takes me back to when the story of Richard Cardinal's suicide made the news, and is as heart rending now as it was then. What is even more sad is the knowledge that the subsequent inquiry into his death changed little, as the recommendations weren't binding, and have mostly been ignored. ” — sh987, 23 Sep 2015

  • zahid

    “heart touching story.” — zahid, 18 Oct 2011

  • kruscito

    “@toneal02 --> I'll pass along your beautiful comment!” — kruscito, 3 Oct 2011

  • toneal02

    “I would like to thank Alanis Obomsawin and the NFB for making this film possible. I lost a son to suicide many years ago and for a long time I struggled with the pain of not knowing why such a beautiful part of my life was taken away. Many years later, I realized that the reason for my child's death was to bring awareness to the public regarding the adverse side effects of anti-depressants. Psychiatrists routinely do not inform patients of non-drug treatments, nor do they conduct thorough medical examinations to ensure that a person’s problem does not stem from an untreated medical condition that is manifesting as a “psychiatric” symptom. Also, psychiatrists can’t predict what adverse side effects you might experience because not one of them really knows how their drugs work. Psychotropic drugs are increasingly being exposed as chemical toxins with the power to kill. Psychiatrists claim their drugs save lives, but according to their own studies, psychotropic drugs can double the risk of suicide. Dear Charlie, I am so sorry for your loss. It takes a lot of courage to tell your brother's story and I am very proud of you. Richard's story will change many lives and I am confident that it will open your government's eyes. I know the pain is difficult to live with but please continue your journey of telling Richard's story. Human suffrage need not exist in this world! ” — toneal02, 3 Oct 2011

  • WestSide_

    “i came across this video in my social study`s class. it kinda hit close to home. i read `` i was a victim of child neglect.`` and watched this video. we then had to answer a series or questions and write him a letter asif we new him befor he passed away giving him advice. this was a hard assignment to do. i wish that these people would have done more to help him, maybe they just should of kept the kids together, im sorry for his family`s loss. & this had a great impact on my life, richard you made me realise a few things that helped me realise. thank you & im sorry this had happened... your`s truly; behcky, grade 10” — WestSide_, 11 Sep 2010

  • krash69

    “Very moving indeed. I spent time with Richard in Grande Prarie YDC. I wondered for years what became of him, until I stumbled upon this site. Peace Richard now you are free” — krash69, 30 Jul 2010

  • Gman

    “A very moving film. Tragic that it often takes such a sacrifice to bring about change.” — Gman, 29 May 2010

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