Indigenous films and filmmakers

Explore a curated selection of films during Indigenous History Month.

June 1 to 30, 2021

Tags for Indigenous films and filmmakers

A person with long grey hair stands outdoors, with a rolling grassy landscape and cloudy sky in the distance.

Photo: Taryn Snell

Event details

June is the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous History Month. Join us all month long for on‐demand screenings of much‐admired films by Indigenous artists from the National Film Board (NFB) collection.

Cost:

Free

Location:

Streaming online in June

Schedule:

Tuesday, June 1 to Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Our specially curated list honours the contributions of Indigenous filmmakers in Canada. Their diverse perspectives put the spotlight on themes and topics that matter, through a human rights lens.

Gain a new understanding of Indigenous identities and spirituality. Reflect on how you can take part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Use the guiding questions at the end of the film list to start a conversation with your friends and family.

The Museum is participating in a national program of digital activities to mark the 25th  anniversary of National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, 2021.

 


 

Films

Stories Are in Our Bones

Janine Windolph, 2019, 11 min.

Video: Stories Are in Our Bones

In this layered short film, filmmaker Janine Windolph takes her young sons fishing with their kokum (grandmother), a residential school survivor who retains a deep knowledge and memory of the land. The act of reconnecting with their homeland is a cultural and familial healing journey for the boys, who are growing up in the city. It’s also a powerful form of resistance for the women. 

English with English captions

Club Native

Tracey Deer, 2008, 1 h 18 min.

Video: Club Native

Tracey Deer grew up on the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake with two very firm but unspoken rules drummed into her by the collective force of the community. These rules were very simple and they carried severe repercussions: 1) Do not marry a white person, 2) Do not have a child with a white person.

English with English captions

Woman Dress

Thirza Cuthand, 2019, 6 min.

Video: Woman Dress

Pre‐contact, a Two Spirit person named Woman Dress travels the Plains, gathering and sharing stories. Featuring archival images and dramatized re‐enactments, this film shares a Cuthand family oral story, honouring and respecting Woman Dress without imposing colonial binaries on them.

English with English captions

To Wake Up the Nakota Language

Louise BigEagle, 2017, 6 min.

Two versions available: English and Nakota with English captions and Nakota (no captions).

Video: To Wake Up the Nakota Language (English Version)

“When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69‐year‐old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.

English

Video: To Wake Up the Nakota Language (Nakota Version)

“When you don’t know your language or your culture, you don’t know who you are,” says 69‐year‐old Armand McArthur, one of the last fluent Nakota speakers in Pheasant Rump First Nation, Treaty 4 territory, in southern Saskatchewan. Through the wisdom of his words, Armand is committed to revitalizing his language and culture for his community and future generations.

Nakota

Reflection and resources

What are your thoughts after watching the films? What do you relate to most? What can you do today and every day that really matters?

We invite you to reflect on these questions yourself or use them to spark discussion with family and friends. Take turns in sharing your views and practicing respectful and active listening. Enjoy your conversation!

 

Practicing solidarity and living reconciliation

We gratefully acknowledge and thank Circles for Reconciliation for the following:

Actions you can take on reconciliation

As an individual:
  • Read the 10 Principles of Reconciliation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
  • Read the TRC’s Calls to Action.
  • Read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Sign a petition.
  • Make a donation.
  • Ask for a presentation by Circles for Reconciliation or other organization.
  • Join a group such as Circles for Reconciliation.
  • Raise your voice against racism that affects the environment; for example, the pipelines being built on Indigenous land.
  • Contact a politician (federal, provincial, or municipal).
  • Contact another government official.
  • Write a newspaper column, a letter to the editor, a blog post, or on social media.
  • Read a book about Indigenous history in Canada. Here are three examples:
    • Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America
    • Chelsea Vowel, Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada
    • Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse
  • Reconnect with any members of your Indigenous family that you have not seen in years.
  • Talk to your supervisor/employer about taking action on reconciliation.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher or their principal about efforts toward reconciliation in their school.
  • Form a group in your community to support Indigenous activists.
  • Visit an Indigenous organization to learn about its work and meet Indigenous people (e.g. a local friendship centre).
As an organization:

 

References and Resources

Additional resources and reading

Cancellation notice

Please note that this program is subject to change or cancellation without notice.