Indigenous Issues



Hi-Ho Mistahey!

96 min. | 2013 | NFB
Alanis Obomsawin

Saturday, March 1 | 4:00 pm | Theatre 1

For more than forty years, internationally acclaimed filmmaker and activist Alanis Obomsawin has given voice to Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples. A member of the Abenaki Nation, Obomsawin makes documentaries that are vital chronicles of the dismantling of indigenous culture and battles with dominant society. Hi-Ho Mistahey!, her latest film, explores a shocking and saddening disparity: First Nations communities receive significantly lower levels of school funding and education than the rest of the country. Obomsawin tells the story of Shannen’s Dream, a national campaign to provide equitable access to education for First Nations children, in safe and suitable schools, bringing together the voices of those who have successfully brought the Dream all the way to the United Nations in Geneva.
film website

We Can’t Eat Gold

45 min. | 2013 |
Joshua Tucker

Saturday, March 1 | 4:00 pm | Theatre 5

How does it feel when your ancestors have been surviving off the same land for thousands of years and then that land is threatened?” The First Nations of Bristol Bay, Alaska face this very question. The Yup’ik-Eskimo, Aleut and Athabaskan peoples depend on the region’s wild salmon runs for survival. Traveling off the road system in small boats, the film explores how these communities have lived symbiotically with the land, depending on the salmon for over 1,000 years. It opens a window on Alaskan indigenous communities facing the Pebble Partnership’s plans to develop North America’s biggest open pit mine at the headwaters of the world’s largest salmon spawning streams. The proposed Pebble Mine would seek to extract vast deposits of gold, copper, and molybdenum from the region, threatening the salmon and the way of life of the people of Bristol Bay.


Martha of the North

48 min. | 2008 | NFB
Margquise Lepage

Saturday, March 1 | 1:30 pm | Theatre 1

In the mid 1950s, lured by false promises of a better life, Inuit families were displaced by the Canadian government and left to their own devices in the Far North.  This was part of a government plan to secure Arctic sovereignty. In this icy desert realm, five-year-old Martha Flaherty and her family lived through one of Canadian history’s most sombre and little-known episodes. Once again, the stories of survival are inspiring while illuminating the mistreatment of First Nations people of Canada.
film website


Bear Witness

22 min. | 2013 |
A film by BC’s Coastal First Nations

Saturday, March 1 | 2:30 pm | Theatre 1

Times have changed on the BC coast. With fewer fish and smaller trees, both animals and people are trying to adapt. For a large majority of British Columbians, killing bears for trophies no longer fits with modern values of stewardship and sustainability. Across the province, 87 percent of citizens agree: it’s time to end the trophy hunt for bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. Even more say hunters should respect First Nations laws and customs when on First Nations territory. Now nine First Nations on the coast have decided to take the lead. Bear Witness gives first-hand accounts of some of the reasons.
film website



Project Heart: Honouring Residential School Survivors

12 min. | 2013 | Carswell Productions
Ed Carswell

Saturday, March 1 | 1:15 pm | Theatre 1

Project Heart is the story of an extraordinary school event in Courtenay, BC. Teacher Susan Leslie leads a school-wide project and ceremony to honour Indian residential school survivors. Leslie organizes storytelling circles, art and inquiry projects, and encourages students to create ceremonial blankets. Verna Flanders shares her experiences as a survivor of St. Michael’s Residential School in Alert Bay, BC. Project Heart culminates with a moving school-wide Blanketing Ceremony to honour Verna and four other survivors. This film was inspired in part by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation events.

Norm Hann on a cold and dark morning in HG


46 min. | 2013 | b4apres Media
Nicolas Teichrob & Anthony Bonello

Saturday, March 1 | 3:05 pm | Theatre 1

STAND is a surf and Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) film focused on the west coast of BC, and on what is at stake with the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route. The film follows expedition stand-up paddler, Norm Hann, as he travels the length of Haida Gwaii, a group of Bella Bella students building their own wooden SUPs, and West Coast surfer, Raph Bruhwiler. With a pipeline proposal, some people talk about what will be gained, but shouldn’t we be asking, ‘What do we stand to lose?’ This film is a hauntingly beautiful examination of the people and culture of the Great Bear Rainforest and the lives of those committed to defending its fragile ecosystems and fjords, one paddle stroke at a time.
film website

BEST FILM, Vancouver Festival of Ocean Films


Children of the Jaguar

29 min. | 2012 |
Eriberto Gualinga

Saturday, March 1 | 12:30 pm | Theatre 1

The Sarayaku Indigenous community of the Amazon rainforest is determined to defend their basic rights. An oil company occupied their ancestral land without their consent. Now they have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present their case to an international court to save their way of life and the rainforest they live in. Their journey will take them from the Amazon to Costa Rica. Co-produced by the Sarayaku and Amnesty International, the film follows their effort to seek an historic ruling that could impact not just their future, but also that of the planet.

See also:

Gold Fever Saturday 1:15 pm Theatre 5

Defensora Saturday 2:30 pm Theatre 5

We Women Warriors Saturday 7:00 pm Theatre 1


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