Challenge for Change

Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker

Cree Hunters of Mistassini

An NFB crew filmed a group of three families, Cree hunters from Mistassini. Since times predating agriculture, this First Nations people have gone to the bush of the James Bay and Ungava Bay area to hunt. We see the building of the winter camp, the hunting and the rhythms of Cree family life.

From the playlist : Challenge for Change

Like The Ballad of Crowfoot before it, Cree Hunters of Mistassini ranks among the most popular and widely screened films from the CFC/SN program. Unlike the earlier film, however, the Indian Film Crew was not responsible for the production. Directed by Montreal journalist Boyce Richardson and shot by Tony Ianzelo, the film (one in a series on the subject of Aboriginal culture and politics directed or produced by Richardson and Ianzelo) represents a form of advocacy: It presents a Cree point of view and gives voice to Cree concerns, but it is not an exercise in self-representation. Michelle Stewart writes, "The circumstances of the production of Cree Hunters in a period of budget retrenchment and political uncertainty reveal the commitment of certain CFC members to Aboriginal rights and representation in the 1970s, although NFB filmmakers and management had frequent disagreements over which styles and strategies would be most politically effective." Cree Hunters departs from the Fogo process-inspired VTR experiments of the first wave of CFC/SN in terms of the polish and rigorous formal style of its day-in-the-life-of-the-Cree portrait, but is unequivocal in its presentation of a Cree perspective on a proposed Hydro-Québec project in the James Bay region.

— Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker

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Comments

  • sixam

    “Anybody else notice there was a cat with them in the lodge? I wonder if they brought most of their supplies by plane. I doubt they transported the stove on a toboggan.” — sixam, 5 Jan 2014

  • starlight

    “Just after my arrival in Montreal from London in 1966, I was invited by a friend and neighbour to accompany him and his young son on a 600 mile drive to Lake Mistassini for a week of September fishing. We arrived late at night in a cold rain and setup our tent assisted by two Cree children who knew my friend from previous trips. They camp for some bacon which they ate raw for the fat content I was told and companionship. This was my first introduction to the aboriginal people of Canada and to the far north. We arose at dawn every morning drank our Turkish coffee and set-out across this vast lake dotted with islands sometimes for two hours to get to the prime fishing areas. It is a true wilderness area and returning at dusk in the evening the stars and moon appeared very bright and large in the sky. Navigation, map reading and survival skills were a prerequisite for such travel in those days before cell phones. The memories of that trip will stay with me forever and I am indebted to my friend who was a chemistry professor at the University of Montreal, much traveled and a great cook. ” — starlight, 13 Dec 2013

  • curioushu

    “I very much enjoyed the film except that i do not comprehend the lack of concern when harvesting moose,that rather than harvest the young animals they shot all four including the pregnant cow.If you kill the bull and cow your breeders are gone. i thought that killing the pragnant cow was especially short sighted and ignorant,concerning conservation. I am a hunter and i do not believe in trophy hunting but will take a young bull or cow if i have the choice.No hen no cock,no eggs!” — curioushu, 16 Sep 2013

  • Coventry

    “The task of building their shelter together Coventry. Watching this documentary was awesome creating harmony,and developing longevity the food from the earth,much city dwellers can grasp.Nickietlchealthservices ” — Coventry, 21 Feb 2012

  • Coventry

    “The task of building their shelter together Is awesome creating harmony,and developing longevity the food from the earth,much city dwellers can grasp.Nickietlchealthservices ” — Coventry, 21 Feb 2012

  • curtjackson

    “Fantastic information, even though this film is a part of my Anthropology class, I have watched it numerous times since sheerly for the manner in which it mesmerizes me. Excellent portrayal of the modern hunter/gatherer, and a testament to a minimalist lifestyle.” — curtjackson, 3 Feb 2011

  • TahltanMan

    “Wonderful documentary. I can't wait to watch this with my grandfather who grew up on the trapline. ” — TahltanMan, 15 Jan 2011

  • paull6

    “bravo et félicitation, un excellent reportage, rare, historique et éducatif; notre société moderne aurait énormément intérêt à apprendre de eux; j'ai personnellement rencontrer une famille en 1978 lors de mon passage de 6 moi à Nitchequon et j'ai un grand respect pour eux. Paul. Merci.” — paull6, 23 Jul 2010

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Film Credits

director
Boyce Richardson
Tony Ianzelo
producer
Colin Low
script
Boyce Richardson
narrator
Boyce Richardson
photography
Tony Ianzelo
sound
Richard Besse
Jean Guy Normandin
editing
Ginny Stikeman
sound editing
John Knight
re-recording
Michel Descombes
Claude Delorme

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