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.
Indigenous films and filmmakers
Explore a curated selection of films during Indigenous History Month.
June 1 to 30, 2021
This event has passed.
Tags for Indigenous films and filmmakers
Streaming online in June
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.
Stories Are in Our Bones
Janine Windolph, 2019, 11 min.
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
Tracey Deer, 2008, 1 h 18 min.
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
Thirza Cuthand, 2019, 6 min.
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.
“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.
Two versions available: English and Nakota with English captions and Nakota (no captions).
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:
- Host a Circle for Reconciliation.
- Have your Indigenous employees invite non-Indigenous employees to form a circle.
- Contact the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba for a free speaker.
- Contact the Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce.
- Learn about Indigenous Skills and Employment Training (ISET) Program, federal government employment support for Indigenous people.
- Learn about the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council (CAMSC).
- Reach out to an Elder or Indigenous leader for advice on how to proceed or contact Circles for Reconciliation.
- Sponsor an Indigenous event.
- Host an Indigenous celebration or event.
- Promote the naming or renaming of sites to original Indigenous names.
- Contact a business that has had success creating a partnership.
- Contact “Indigenous Works” in Saskatoon.
- Contact “Working Warriors.”
- Invite an Indigenous person to sit on a board you are on.
References and Resources
- Bryce, P. H. (1907). Report on the Indian schools of Manitoba and the North West Territories. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.
- CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning (2017, June 2). “Ottawa doctor who sounded alarm on residential schools remembered with exhibit.” CBC News.
- Gehl, L. (n.d.). “Ally Bill of Responsibilities.”
- Gaa wii ji’i diyaang (2017). Terms of Reference. University of Manitoba.
- Groundwork for Change website
- PeerNetBC (n.d). “Allyship 101.”
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future. Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- Walia, H. (2012). “Moving Beyond a Politics of Solidarity toward a Practice of Decolonization.” Briarpatch, January 1, 2012.
- Wattam, J. (July 2016). “Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce: A Story of Courage.” First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.
- van Dijk, T.A. (1992). “Discourse and the denial of racism.” Discourse & Society, 3(1), 87-118.
Additional resources and reading
- Lepage, Pierre (2019). Aboriginal Peoples: Fact and Fiction, 3rd Edition. Institut Tshakapesh and Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse.
- Canadian Federation of Students. ReconciliAction Campaign.
- Daschuk, James (2013). Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Indigenous Life. University of Regina Press.
- Smith, Maximiliam. “Peter Henderson Bryce.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Article updated in 2019.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2012). They Came for the Children: Canada, Aboriginal Peoples, and Residential Schools.
Please note that this program is subject to change or cancellation without notice.