This early work from Pierre Perrault, made in collaboration with René Bonnière, chronicles summer activities in the Innu communities of Unamenshipu (La Romaine) and Pakuashipi. Shot by noted cinematographer Michel Thomas-d’Hoste, it documents the construction of a traditional canoe, fishing along the Coucouchou River, a procession marking the Christian feast of the Assumption, and the departure of children for residential schools—an event presented here in an uncritical light. Perrault’s narration, delivered by an anonymous male voice, underscores the film’s outsider gaze on its Indigenous subjects. The film is from Au Pays de Neufve-France (1960), a series produced by Crawley Films, an important early Canadian producer of documentary films.
Alexis Joveneau, a Catholic priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, worked in the Innu community of Unamenshipu (La Romaine) between 1960 and 1985, and appears in five NFB productions: Attiuk (1960), Ka Ke Ki Ku (1960), Le goût de la farine (1977), Le pays de la terre sans arbre ou le Mouchouânipi (1980) and La grande allure II (1985). Joveneau is seen in several scenes of Ka Ke Ki Ku, teaching Innu children and providing Innu-aimun/French translation.
In November 2017, during Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a number of Innu women from Unamenshipu testified that they had been sexually and physically abused by Joveneau, who died in 1992. Many other women subsequently came forward with similar allegations, and on March 29, 2018, a request for a class action was filed in Quebec Superior Court on behalf of the women against the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
This short film from 1958 compiles 3 short reportages on different ways kids are schooled in remote areas. To School by Boat follows children of isolated fishing hamlets along a stretch of British Columbia coastline as they travel to school by sea-going bus. In Classroom on Rails, we hop along a railway coach that brings school to children in a logging area of northern Ontario. Northern Schooldays introduces us to First Nations children educated in a residential school in Moose Factory.
After decades of waiting, Aboriginal Canadians received a formal apology from the federal government on June 11, 2008. This landmark event in Canadian history recognized the loss of culture caused by the church-run residential schools that thousands of Aboriginal children were forced to attend. It also acknowledged the physical and sexual abuse that many suffered in those institutions. Stolen Children explores the impact of residential schools on former students and their children and grandchildren. Survivors share their harrowing experiences and discuss the legacy of fear, abuse and suicide being passed down from generation to generation. The words of successive Canadian politicians and bureaucrats are revealed against a backdrop of archival footage, a chilling reminder of the policies and convictions that drove the government of the day to seek "a final solution to the Indian problem." The report also includes the original broadcast of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apology, the apology of Stéphane Dion, Leader of the Official Opposition, and reaction from the Aboriginal community and Aboriginal leaders.
This program examines the history, legacy and current impacts of the Residential School experience in Canada. From the establishment of the early Residential Schools to the work of the Trusth and Reconciliation Commission, this film shines a light into this dark chapter of Canadian history.
For millennia, the Haida People have lived on the remote islands of Haida Gwaii. In the wake of the forced assimilation brought about by the Indian Residential Schools, the Haida Nation continues to face great challenges in retaining their cultural and economic sovereignty. From the perspective of a young Haida poet (Towustasin Stocker), White Ravens bears witness to the transgenerational trauma of colonization as survivors, their children, and grandchildren struggle with the effects of substance abuse, suicide, and interfamily trauma. White Ravens focuses on patterns of resistance, from Towustasin’s family history of blockading corporate logging operations, to the Haida Nation’s resurgence of the potlatch—the gift-giving ceremony that remains central to the self-governance of all Coastal First Nations People. On the eve of a historic chieftanship potlatch, the film meditates on the Haida legacy of resistance and resurgence, presenting a portrait of a First Nation community in healing.