Friday Evenings | Doors 6:30 | Films 7:00
Free Admission | Concessions and Cash Bar
This series showcases a diverse range of Indigenous films from the local to the global. Ranging from shorts to feature-length films, and spanning genres from documentary to horror, this series includes some of the most impactful films of our time. Audiences will have the opportunity to participate in a voluntary, guided discussion following each film. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the British Columbia Arts Council and the Lohn Foundation.
Rabbit Proof Fence
2002|94 mins|Directed by Phillip Noyce
Three mixed-race girls are torn brutally from their Aboriginal mother and sent over a thousand miles away to a training camp for domestic workers as part of the Australian government’s policy to try integrate Aboriginal youth into white society. Linking the camp and their distant home territory is a vast rabbit-proof fence, which stretches from one coast to another and just might help the girls find their way back.
Rhymes for Young Ghouls
2013|88 mins|Directed by Jeff Barnaby
Content warning: sexual violence, suicide, Residential School violence, profanity, graphic violence.
Film is rated 18A
Set in 1976, Rhymes for Young Ghouls tells the story of teenager Alia (Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs), who uses the proceeds from dealing drugs to bribe the local corrupt Indian Agent. When her cash is stolen, she is taken to Residential School but soon escapes and vows revenge. This is an unflinching film that draws on post-apocalyptic and revenge fantasy genres to explore very real historical violence. Chelsea Vowell for CBC wrote of the film that “I strongly believe that every adult living in Canada should watch this film (though there are more trigger warnings for this film than I can count, so please take care).”
2010 | 88 mins | Directed by Taika Waititi
Set on the east coast of New Zealand in 1984, Boy, an 11-year-old child and devout Michael Jackson fan, gets a chance to know his absentee criminal father, who has returned to find a bag of money he buried years ago. This coming of age story by Taika Waititi (Maori) is a celebration of the strength and resilience of children.
1998 | 89 mins | Directed by Chris Eyre
A contemporary road movie about two Native American young men on both a literal and figurative journey, Smoke Signals is the first feature film to be written, directed, and co-produced by Indigenous Americans. Smoke Signals explores Native American stereotypes in popular cinema by both seriously challenging them and humorously poking fun at them.
Cedar: Tree of Life
2018 | 11 mins | Directed by Odessa Shuquaya
This short, expressionist documentary explores the relationship between cedar and three Salish women who work with it, weave with it, and live with it.
Hands of History
1994 | 51 mins | Directed by Loretta Todd
In this acclaimed 1994 documentary, Loretta Todd (Métis Cree), a leading figure in Canadian Indigenous cinema, profiles four contemporary female artists—Doreen Jensen (Gitsxan), Rena Point Bolton (Stó:lō), Jane Ash Poitras (Cree), and Joane Cardinal-Schubert (Kainaiwa)—who seek to find a continuum from traditional to contemporary forms of expression. Each artist reveals her practice and journey in her own words. The film is a moving testimony to the vital role Indigenous women play in nurturing Indigenous cultures.
2016 | 98 mins | Directed by Benjamin Ross Hayden
The Northlander is set in 2961 in a time after humanity, when nature has recovered the land. A hunter named Cygnus is called to protect his people, a once-nomadic band of survivors in need of food and water that is growing scarce. This film’s futuristic styling of Canadian history has made it a point of reference in the science fiction movement of Indigenous Futurism. It won best screenplay at the Alberta Film & Television Awards.
1491: The Untold Story of the Americas before Columbus
2017 | 45 mins | Directed by Barbara Hager
Based on the book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann (Knopf, 2005), this film brings to life the complexity, diversity, and interconnectedness of Indigenous peoples in the Americas before the arrival of Columbus. Presented from an Indigenous-perspective, this is a journey along a timeline that dates from 20,000 years ago to 1491. The origins and history of ancient Indigenous societies in North, Central and South America are interpreted by leading Indigenous scholars and cultural leaders in the fields of archaeology, art history, ethnology, genetics, geology, and linguistics.
2017 | 10 mins | Directed by Theresa Warbus
Roundhouse is a short film by Theresa Warbus (Stó:lō) that tells the story of Liya, a teenage girl conflicted about balancing her Aboriginal culture and social life. This tension is heightened when she is invited to a party and feels the pressure to fit in. The night takes an unexpected turn when she’s reminded of the value of her roots.
Our People Will Be Healed
2017 | 97 mins | Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Our People Will Be Healed, the 50th film by Alanis Obomsawin (Abenaki), reveals how a Cree community in Manitoba has been enriched through the power of education. The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre in Norway House, north of Winnipeg, receives a level of funding that few other Indigenous institutions enjoy. Its teachers help their students to develop their abilities and their sense of pride.
Learning more about our collective history is vital to the processes of decolonization and reconciliation. A large body of literature exists that can move us toward a better grasp of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups both in the past and today. This suggested reading list is a modest effort to create access to the breadth of information that is available today.
Bolten, Rena Point. Xweliqwiya: The Life of A Sto:lo Martiarch. University of Washington Press, 2013.
Carlson, Keith Thor. You Are Asked To Witness: The Stó:lō in Canada’s Pacific Coast History. D&M Adult, 2000.
Carlson, Keith Thor and Albert (Sonny) McHalsie. I am Stó:lō. Stó:lō Heritage Trust, 1998.
Carlson, Keith Thor, Albert (Sonny) Mchalsie, Stó:lō Heritage Trust. A Stó:lō- Coast Salish Historical Atlas. Douglas & McIntyre, 2001.
Tselzweyeqw Tribe. Being Ts’elxweyeqw: First Peoples’ Voices and History from the Chilliwack Fraser Valley, British Columbia. Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd, 2018.
Oliver, Jeff. Landscapes and Social Transformations on the Northwest Coast: Colonial Encounters in the Fraser Valley. University of Arizona Press, 2010.
Archibald, Jo-Anne. Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit. University of British Columbia Press, 2008.
Archibald, Linda, Marlene Castellano, and Mike DeGagne, eds. From Truth to Reconciliation: Transforming the Legacy of Residential Schools. Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2008.
Bredin, Marian. Hafsteinsson, Sigurjon Balder. Indigenous Screen Cultures in Canada. University of Manitoba Press, 2010.
Degagne, Mike, Sara Fryer, Glen Lowry and Shelagh Rogers. Reconciliation & The Way Forward: Collected Essays & Personal Reflections. Aboriginal Healing Foundation, 2014.
Joseph, Bob. 21 Things You Might Not Know About the Indian Act: Helping Canadians Make Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples a Reality. Indigenous Relations Press, 2018.
Mailhot, Terese Marie. Heart Berries: A Memoir. Counterpoint Books, 2018.
Manuel, Arthur. Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-up Call. Between the Lines, 2015.
Milloy, John S. A National Crime: The Canadian Government and the Residential School System (1879-1986). University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Regan, Paulette. Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada. UBC Press, 2011.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015.
Victor, Wenona. Indigenous Justice: Clearing Space and Place for Indigenous Epistemologies. National Centre for First Nations Governance, 2007.
Campbell, Nicola. Shi-shi-etko. Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2005.
Roanhorse, Rebecca. Trail of Lightning. Saga Press, 2018. Taylor, Drew Hayden. Take Us To Your Chief. Douglas & McIntyre, 2016.
Wagamese, Richard. Him Standing. Orca Book Publishers, 2013.
Wagamese, Richard. Indian Horse. Douglas McIntyre, 2012.