Transitions: 25 Years of Film Making & Journalism in Indigenous Communities

By James Cullingham

It is clearly a difficult moment in Indigenous-settler relations in Canada. Cases in criminal courts lead to perplexing outcomes. First Nations, various governments and major natural resource companies are pitted against one another over pipeline construction. As I write, an inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women continues its work. In the cultural sphere, we are experiencing sometimes difficult, but very useful discussions about how stories get told and by whom.

In this essay, I proffer a particular experiential perspective on Indigenous–settler cultural relations as it pertains to documentary filmmaking and journalism. I want to highlight some of the collaborative works that have been produced since the 1960s and offer a reminder that while much remains to be done, some highly credible work is out there to elucidate us all.

I will argue for free expression, equality of opportunity and the need for artists and storytellers of all kinds to think outside the confines of their particular ethnicity – to venture where their imagination and curiosity leads them. The challenge to the settler imagination is to do so with sensitivity, humility and open mindedness.

My analysis and perspective are based on career experiences over the past three decades.

I do not claim to speak for anyone else. Much of my work as a journalist, filmmaker and academic has concerned the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, a settler society. Since the 1980s I have collaborated with, reported on and filmed among Indigenous peoples from Yukon to Labrador. As a filmmaker, historian and journalist I’ve also worked in Indigenous communities in South Dakota and upstate New York in the United States, in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz México and in the North West and Cape provinces of South Africa. The journey has enriched my life. I believe I have conducted myself ethically and responsibly. I have been welcomed and treated with tremendous generosity by Indigenous communities. I am deeply grateful for the understanding and life lessons that I have received.

This is my subjective position

My paternal great grandfather, John Cullingham, arrived in Canada just before Confederation. He started a farm along Sixteen Mile Creek close to Palermo near present day Oakville, Ontario. That is in Haudenosaunee and Mississauga territory. My mother was born Maria Anna Consuelo di Bernardo in Welland, Ontario. Her father Angelo Bernardo arrived at Ellis Island in 1905 and within a few years found himself at a mining camp with a large contingent of fellow Italian émigrés in Copper Cliff, Ontario just outside present day Sudbury. That area is in the heart of Anishinaabe territory. After his mining stint, Angelo and his wife Magdelana, who had joined her husband in Copper Cliff from the Veneto in northern Italy, moved their young family to Welland where Angelo worked on the canal. My father John Douglas died when I was very young. My siblings and I were raised by my mother and her sisters.

I spent part of my childhood in south Florida. My mother returned us to Canada in no small part due to her concern about the all too evident racial discrimination and segregation in Florida and American military involvement in Vietnam.

As a young man, I was fortunate to spend many years in the bush of northern Ontario as a canoe trip leader and outdoor educator. Throughout that time I was associated with Wanapitei, a canoe camp based at the north end of Lake Temagami. As a canoe guide, as an undergraduate at Trent University and then as an academic, journalist and filmmaker, the Temagami connection has endured.

In the late 1970s I had another formative experience. I was briefly employed as a childcare worker for Kenora Children’s Aid Society (CAS) at a group home on Black Sturgeon Lake north of town. There were unwelcome surprises. My superiors, for example, told me the children were “culturally deprived” because of their Indigenous heritage. When I tried to organize Ojibway language sessions for the children in care, I was told that the use of their language was discouraged as a matter of policy. I soon realized that the CAS programme was a philosophic extension of an assimilationist ideology that held sway at residential schools and persists in the “scoop” of Indigenous children for adoption and fostering in non-Indigenous homes. It was a disturbing realization. It left me determined to do the best I could on that job while making rapid plans to continue my academic studies with a focus on Indigenous history and rights.

I was working with kids from places like the nearby Whitedog (now Wabaseemoong Independent Nations of One Man Lake, Swan Lake and Whitedog) and Grassy Narrows (now Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation) reserves which suffered from mercury contamination from a pulp mill in Dryden, Ontario. Sadly there were few non-Indigenous people in the region who acknowledged the impact of that pollution. That injustice and CAS policies galvanised my thinking about darker aspects of Canada’s history and politics. Leaving Kenora, I returned to Trent University to complete a degree in what was then called the Native Studies programme (now the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies). My cohort included the influential Mohawk activist and intellectual Russell Diabo and Pete Digangi, a highly respected archivist and researcher specializing in knowledge about Indigenous communities and territories.

Following graduation from Trent, I soon began contributing to CBC Radio and various print publications, often covering Indigenous stories. These included a conflict over salmon fishing in Restigouche, Québec, a series of national constitutional talks on Aboriginal Rights under the auspices of the governments of the Liberal prime minister Trudeau the elder and the Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney, as well a number of land disputes in various parts of this place called Canada.

Beginning in the early 1980s I covered the case involving the Teme Augama Anishnabai that led to an unhappy conclusion at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1991. I witnessed the struggle led by then Teme Augama Anishnabai Chief Gary Potts and his colleagues. In a severe rebuke to Indigenous aspirations, the supremes decided that Aboriginal rights to the Teme Augama Anishnabai’s traditional territory had been extinguished. Subsequent judgements in other territories have mitigated the legal force of such rulings outside Temagami – particularly in British Columbia – but those judgments were too little too late for a campaign the Teme Augama Anishnabai had waged since shortly after Canadian confederation.

James Cullingham & former Teme Augama Anishnabai chief Gary Potts, Temagami, September 2017 (photo by Dr. Tom Miller)

My doctoral dissertation in history concerns the lives and work of the Canadian Indian department bureaucrat and artist Duncan Campbell Scott and the French ethnologist and politician Jacques Soustelle.[1] This work of intellectual and cultural history contrasts Scott’s role in Canadian Indian policy during the worst years of Canada’s assimilationist assault on Indigenous peoples with Soustelle’s formation as an ethnologist of México and his pivotal role during the final years of France’s troubled rule of an Indigenous majority in Algeria. It is about the failure of policies concerning Indigenous peoples in Canada, l’Algérie française and post-revolutionary Mexico. My choice of dissertation topic was influenced by questions raised in my journalistic and filmmaking endeavours.

Appropriation & Free Speech

This article stems from thinking that has been occasioned by the context of Indigenous–settler relations in Canada as I work on transforming my dissertation into a book manuscript. The work of Indigenous historians such as the late Olive Dickason and Michael Witgen are central to my inquiry.[2] The ongoing cultural debates in Canada about what’s authentic and what is not, about appropriation and free speech have fuelled my curiosity.

Anjali Nayar is a filmmaker originally from Montréal who is currently based there and in Nairobi, Kenya. Most recently Nayar directed the documentary Silas which was presented at the Toronto International Film Festival.[3] It is about one man’s quest for environmental and social justice in Liberia. Ms. Nayar also spoke at the Doc Conference of this autumn’s industry component of TIFF. Nayar defended her work as a woman of privilege working in Africa. She spoke to the process of working with local community members to ensure accuracy and respect for local mores and social norms. Nayar also called on all artists to tell one another’s stories “with imagination and scepticism.”[4] I admire Ms. Nayar’s turn of phrase and invite us all to challenge one another.

I have tremendous respect for the accomplished cohort of Indigenous writers working in Canada and the United States. Artists such as Tomson Highway, Louise Erdrich, Thomas King, Drew Hayden Taylor and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson have taught me a great deal. I am a great admirer of King’s outstanding work of non-fiction The Inconvenient Indian – A Curious Account of Native people in North America.[5]

I won’t pretend to tell these superb writers what to choose as subject matter, but I’m ready for whatever they dare to engage with. I’m intrigued by what the future holds.

Free expression is paramount. So is a cognizance of history – particularly for settler storytellers in this vital moment of national reconciliation. The nation state of Canada was hell bent for close to a century on a self-defeating, predatory and contradictory national policy of aggressive colonization, forced assimilation and removal of Indigenous peoples to allow for what was presumed to be a superior Euro Canadian civilization. National policy pursued by Conservative and Liberal regimes and supported by mainstream citizens led to a cascading barrage of human rights violations including the residential school system, the banning of Indigenous spiritual practices, the outlawing of political organizations and the implementation of an illegal pass system that curtailed freedom of movement and association for many First Nations communities, particularly on the Canadian prairies.

Sadly, it stands to reason that such policies, an expression of Canadian political will, were reflected in popular culture, journalism and in the means of ownership and distribution of cultural enterprise of all kinds. As I began my career in the 1980s the ignorance about Indigenous peoples in the national media was sadly evident. I’d like to think things have improved. It is indisputable that in 2018 it is high time we non-Indigenous cultural workers in the arts and academy do better.

And, perhaps, we are now moving in the right direction. Earlier this year the Canadian Media Fund announced that the respected Indigenous broadcaster and cultural industries leader Jesse Wente has become Director of Canada’s Indigenous Screen Office. The move was supported by a number of Canada’s leading broadcasters and cultural agencies. Wente will oversee coordination of relationships between broadcasters, distributors, training institutions and federal funders.[6]

In 2017 The Canada Arts Council released a statement on cultural self-determination and appropriation which states in part:

We must always be cognizant of the power dynamics that give rise to cultural appropriation and the politics of race and colonial privilege in Canada and that continue to exist. Indigenous peoples have been marginalized, stereotyped and maligned for centuries. Real reconciliation and decolonization must include acknowledgement and redress of this historic and current reality.[7]

In a related move, in June 2017 the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) released an “Indigenous Action Plan.”[8] The document sets targets for an increase in Indigenous opportunity and production at the Board.

There is significant continuity in play here. Films produced through the NFB in the 1960s by the “Indian Film Crew” set a high standard. These included You Are on Indian Land about a dispute over an Akwesasne border crossing near Cornwall, Ontario directed by Michel Kanentakeron Mitchell with assistance from director Mort Ransen and Challenge for Change executive producer George C. Stoney. Noel Starblanket, who became an important Saskatchewan First Nations political leader and one time National Chief of the National Indian Brotherhood (now Assembly of Fist Nations), worked on that project.[9] The Company of Young Canadians also delved into film with the NFB. I’ll discuss a particular work by Willie Dunn below.

Collaborations through Film

I have some history with the NFB. My documentary work with Indigenous filmmakers has sometimes been produced with NFB involvement. I pay tribute to my late friend and storytelling partner Gil Cardinal who died in 2015.[10] Gil and I met during the production of the documentary series As Long As The Rivers Flow that I conceived and produced.[11]

Gil Cardinal c. 1990 (NFB and Tamarack Productions)

As part of that series, Gil directed Tikinagan – a film about the emergence of an Indigenous run child and family services organization based in Sioux Lookout in north-western Ontario.[12] Tikinagan was a co-production of my company Tamarack Productions and the North West Studio of the NFB located in Edmonton.[13] It followed up on Gil’s breakthrough film Foster Child which had detailed his own research into the circumstances of his childhood in a foster home.[14] Over the years, Gil and other Indigenous filmmakers worked with empathetic and talented NFB Edmonton producers like Graydon McCrae, Jerry Krepakevich and Bonnie Thompson.

The documentary series As Long As The Rivers Flow was apparently the first comprehensive national overview of Indigenous communities in Canada that included work by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous filmmakers. In 1991, the series garnered the Producers Award at the American Indian Film Festival and also received a score of other awards in the United States, Latin America and Europe. In addition to Gil, filmmakers Hugh Brody, William Hansen, David Poisey, Boyce Richardson and Loretta Todd contributed. Todd’s film The Learning Path about some extraordinary female Indigenous educators, including historian Olive Dickason, was based on a treatment by Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin[15] The Learning Path and Tikinagan had their world premieres at The 1991 Festival of Festivals in Toronto (now TIFF.)

Loretta Todd (c. 1991 courtesy NFB)

The dedication of the disparate filmmakers enriched the series. My producing partner Peter Raymont and I were indeed fortunate that such a capable and diverse group of storytellers collaborated on the series. Todd, like Gil, is of Métis ancestry, Poisey is Inuk from Pangnirtung on Baffin Island, Brody is of English ancestry, Richardson is originally from New Zealand of non-Indigenous background and Hansen is a settler living in rural Québec.

Teachings about Collaboration

What I learned during the production of …Rivers is fundamental to my sense of both ethics and politics: respectful collaboration among a diverse group of creators works. It’s often what makes things good – the process might get bumpy, there will be differences of opinion, but it’s often useful in art and factual storytelling when everyone is not singing from the same choir sheet.

I also learned that many of the stories we need to tell and be told are Indigenous–settler stories. The simple truth about our audience – it is diverse – can also be true among storytellers.

How best work within that reality?

I recall vividly what Gil told me when I asked him to direct the film about Duncan Campbell Scott that I was planning in the early 1990s. He said “Jamie, you have to direct that film. It’s about how your society produced the guy.” Duncan Campbell Scott – The Poet and The Indians would be my first feature documentary film as director.[16] Gil also produced me as director on episodes of documentaries that his company Great Plains Productions conceived, including Temagami – A Living Title to the Land a 1992 film about the court case pitting the government of Ontario against the Teme Augma Anishnabai.[17] On many of these projects I was fortunate to work with cinematographer René Sioui Labelle who has produced and directed many fine films including Kanata: l’héritage des enfants d’Aataentsic, about the culture and history of his own Wendat people, a collaboration with L’Office National Du Film, the French language branch of NFB.[18]

Duncan Campbell Scott (courtesy Queens University Archives)

Reflections on Cultural Appropriation

Recent events in the cultural sphere have influenced my thinking. Concerns about “cultural appropriation” have been heightened. Hal Niedzviecki resigned as editor of Write, the Writers’ Union of Canada magazine, after he penned an editorial entitled “Winning the Appropriation Prize” in the Spring 2017 edition, an issue dedicated to Indigenous writing.[19] The furor that ensued led Jonathan Kay editor of The Walrus magazine to resign as well. Kay had inelegantly offered to vie for the prize.[20] These occurrences sparked a barrage of commentary – in late May 2017 even The Economist weighed in with “Cross fertilization or theft? – Canada’s war over “Cultural Appropriation.”[21]

Niedzviecki and Kay, neither of whom I know, acted, at best, in a ham fisted and insensitive manner. I won’t defend what they wrote or their sense of humour.

Reflecting on the formative experience of As Long As The Rivers Flow and other collaborations with Gil Cardinal also gives me pause when it comes to the debate regarding cultural appropriation. Around the time that As Long As The Rivers Flow was in production a group of dramatic filmmakers released Where The Spirit Lives a fictional work based on the lives of children at a residential school in the prairies.[22] Upon release, the film elicited some positive reviews. It also provoked condemnation, most famously from the cultural commentator Lenore Keeshig (Tobias) who denounced the non-native producers for what she considered an inaccurate and disrespectful interpretation of history and Indigenous spirituality.[23]

I watched the film again recently. While it is certainly imperfect, I believe it holds some merit especially because of the performance of the Indigenous actors, particularly Michelle St. John playing the lead role. St. John, now a producer and director including the 2016 documentary Colonization Road, won the 1990 Gemini Award (now Canadian Screen Award) for Best Actress – Dramatic Program for her role.[24] Keeshig argued that the native voice was missing from the film – yes perhaps the film would have been different with the involvement of a native writer, director or producers. However, actors too have agency.

Despite the film’s flaws I commend the production team who chose to take on a topic of such historic importance at that time. It was simply the first dramatic rendition on film of that sad chapter of our history. In light of the unsettled debate currently over the issue of cultural appropriation, I would not hesitate to recommend watching that artefact again. I remember the words of an Indigenous friend as controversy swirled about the film, “The only question is, ‘Is it any fucking good?’ ” He believed at the time, as I do now, that Where The Spirit Lives meets that test.

Legacies and Continuities

As a documentarian, I cut my teeth on collaborative works. Willie Dunn directed his master work The Ballad of Crowfoot in 1968 with The National Film Board of Canada and The Company of Young Canadians, in 1971 Bernard Gosselin exquisitely documented the work of master canoe builder César Newashish in César et son canot d’écorce (Cesar’s Bark Canoe) and the aforementioned Boyce Richardson collaborated intimately with the communities involved and exposed Hydro Québec’s ill conceived and unjust plan to build massive dams on James Bay rivers in a series of documentaries including Cree Hunters of Mistassini (1974),  Job’s Garden: The Land of the Great River People, and Flooding Job’s Garden (from As Long As The Rivers Flow). Boyce Richardson, settler, alerted Canada and the world of the situation in James Bay and is fairly considered a hero in Cree country of northern Québec.[25] I am a filmmaker because of the work of people like Gil Cardinal, Alanis Obomsawin and Boyce Richardson.

When I look at some recent fine productions including Tasha Hubbard’s Birth of A Family released by the NFB in 2016 about an Indigenous brother and sisters reunited decades after the 60s scoop of Indigenous children, or Vicki Lean’s To The Last River about an environmental crisis in Attawapiskat in north-western Ontario or Angry Inuk directed by Alathea Arnaquq Baril which is a brilliant screed against animal rights activists who have, wittingly or not, devastated Inuit seal hunting economies, I see the same collaborative spirit and process at work.[26]

Arnaquq Baril’s film rests on the shoulders of extraordinary work by Inuit filmmakers. In 2001, the world stood up and paid attention when director Zacharias Kunuk, writer Paul Apak Angilirq and producer/cinematographer Norman Cohn brought Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner to the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Caméra d’Or prize, a first for a Canadian film.[27] That dramatic feature is number one on TIFF’s 2015 list of “Canada’s All-Time Top Ten List of Canadian Films.” Kunuk along with his original partners in the Isuma artistic collective, including the New Yorker Cohn, also have a string of documentary accomplishments. The Qidlarsuaaq Expedition and Through Eskimo Country by the late Paul Apak Angilirq retraced expeditions from Igloolik to Greenland and from Siberia to Alaska by dog team and umiak, a walrus hide boat. Like other Inuit filmmakers Paul Apak Angilirq got his start in the 1970s and 1980s with The Inukshuk Project, an early venture to train Indigenous TV producers in remote communities and then joined the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, a globally influential Indigenous broadcasting company.[28]

Moving closer to home – this one requires full disclosure – I congratulate Alex Williams for his respectful approach to First Nations prairie communities featured in his film the pass system.[29]  These places bore the brunt of Canada’s segregationist system. Williams, of Irish and Lebanese descent, grew up in Saskatchewan. As he matured, Williams began to learn of the untold aspects of Indigenous history – stories that did not jibe with popular mythology of mainstream settler Canada. As an adult artist, Williams decided to do something about it. His film is the result. I am proud to have been able to work with him as the film’s executive producer. I was thrilled by the involvement of Cree/Métis narrator Tantoo Cardinal (with whom I first worked on As Long As The Rivers Flow) and the brilliant two spirit Indigenous cellist Cris Derksen who scored the film. Williams ensured the film was seen first by the Elders it portrays. Williams has subsequently attended screenings in many First Nations communities across the prairies and elsewhere in Canada.

I draw your attention to another recent work: Our People will be Healed is Alanis Obomsawin’s latest documentary film.[30] A courageous, moving story about community healing, cultural revival, economic development and education at Norway House some 800 kilometers north of Winnipeg, the film was named one of Canada’s Top 10 for 2017 by TIFF.

Obomsawin has been at the NFB for half a century. Her work is produced with a diverse team of French and English speaking researchers, technicians and producers. She is one of this country’s most accomplished artists. She does not work in isolation, nor is she addressing a single community with her superb work.

There are fundamental aspects of journalism, research and all manner of factual storytelling that hold true no matter what milieu in which one works. Empathy, careful listening, humility and scepticism are all required. Sensitivity to local mores and norms is essential when working in remote or marginalized communities. It is vitally important to be attuned to local protocol in First Nation communities. Storytellers must ensure that they do not exploit or gain advantage from Indigenous trauma. Respect for such guidelines is essential if we are going to make reconciliation meaningful.

Conclusion

Over the years, I have often been asked by my non-Indigenous colleagues about working in Indigenous communities. Oddly, some of them seem mystified about the process of working in places like Temagami or Mishkeegogamang (formerly Osnaburgh). Personally, I have simply tried to act with the courtesy, rigour and determination that are the hallmarks of good research and storytelling. I have employed the same professional approach whether I am in Washington D.C., Paris, Johannesburg or Gitlaxt’aamiks (also known as New Aiyansh) in Nisga’a territory, British Columbia. I listen, I read widely and try to wrap my head around the story of a community unlike the one where I reside.

As a political journalist, I also know that my best tool is a well-tuned bullshit detector. That applies among all politicians including Indigenous leaders in Canada, who like many politicians, are capable of distortion in the pursuit of power.

In January 2018, Canadian Roots Exchange (CRE) held a Toronto event entitled “Cultural Appropriation and Art-based Acts of Resistance.”[31] It brought together a group of emerging Indigenous and multicultural artists representing groups of recent immigrants and refugees in Canada working in dance, fashion design and music.

Riley Kucheran, a Ryerson University graduate student and fashion designer insisted on the need for truth before reconciliation. Kucheran also made an important distinction between appropriation and misappropriation. He acknowledged that appropriation is part of the artistic process. He asserted that misappropriation occurs when the privileged exploit an imbalance of power. I concur. He also argued passionately for cultural sensitivity and respect for Indigenous intellectual property rights which are too often ignored.

Amy Hull, Riley Kucheran, Kara Jade aka Métis Monroe, Nenookassi & Sameh Helmy Jan 10, 2018 CSI Annex (photo J Cullingham)

He cited an elder working at Ryerson University who suggested that ‘rather than hitting people with a stick, one should open doors.’ “Don’t be a stick. Be a door,” Kucheran said in concluding his remarks.

In February 2018, The History of Indigenous Peoples Network hosted a presentation by Anishinaabe Elder Lewis Debassige at York University in Toronto. Debassige, of M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, has worked with the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation since 1974. He offered reflections on his distinguished career as an activist and educator. When the government of Pierre Trudeau with then Indian Affairs Minister Jean Chrétien presented its assimilationist White Paper on Indian policy in 1969 (officially labeled Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy,) Debassige joined the likes of Harold Cardinal, author of The Unjust Society to resist.[32] In his talk, Debassige thanked non-Indigenous broadcasters, filmmakers and journalists of the day for their work covering the opposition to the Trudeau-Chrétien scheme and raising awareness among Canadians. Debassige said, “We needed those friends then. We need them now.”

Last fall, I heard James Wilkes a lecturer in Indigenous Environmental Science/Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario speak as part of a panel about action based community research.[33] Wilkes has lived and worked in First Nations communities in the so-called Ring of Fire, a mineral rich swath of north-western Ontario, the territory incidentally covered by Treaty 9 which was negotiated by Duncan Campbell Scott. Wilkes describes himself as “a settler in transition.” I like that formulation. It is a posture I would recommend for all of us non-Indigenous storytellers working in Indigenous communities.

James Cullingham, PhD, is a filmmaker, historian, and journalist. He is a professor in the School of Media and the School of English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College, Seneca@York and president of Tamarack Productions in Toronto. This paper is an elaboration of a presentation Cullingham first delivered at the 2017 Annual Conference of the American Society for Ethnohistory in Winnipeg. He’s grateful for the feedback there and also from colleagues of the History of Indigenous Peoples Network who commented on a draft earlier this year.


[1] James Cullingham, “Scars of Empire – A Juxtaposition of Duncan Campbell Scott and Jacques Soustelle”, PhD dissertation in History, York University, Toronto, 2014.

[2]  Olive Patricia Dickason, Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples fromEarliest Times, (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1992); Michael Witgen, An Infinityof Nations – How The native New World Shaped Early North America, (PhiladelphiaPA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

[3] Anjali Nayar and Hawa Essuman, directors, Silas documentary film (Nairobi: Ink & Pepper, Big World Cinema and Appian Way, 2017)

[4] Nayar, conference presentation TIFF Doc Conference September 12, 2017; See also Cullingham, blog post http://www.tamarackproductions.com/blog/2017/9/17/tiff-doc-conference-2017

[5] Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian – a curious Account of Native people in North America (Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2012).

[6] Canadian Media Fund press release, January 31, 2018.

[7] “Supporting Indigenous art in the spirit of cultural self-determination and opposing appropriation” Canada Council for The Arts, September 2017.

[8] National Film Board of Canada “Indigenous Action Plan, June 20, 2017. https://www.nfb.ca/indigenous-action-plan/

[9] Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell, director, You Are On Indian Land (Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1969).

[10] see Cullingham, “Gil Cardinal: Canadian documentarian found his identity in film,” The Globe And Mail obituary, December 18, 2015.

[11] James Cullingham and Peter Raymont, producers, As Long As The Rivers Flow 5 part documentary film series (Toronto: Tamarack Productions, 1991) distributed by Icarus Films, New York.

[12] Gil Cardinal, director, Tikinagan documentary film part of As Long As The Rivers Flow (Toronto & Edmonton: Tamarack Productions and The National Film Board of Canada) distributed by Icarus Films, New York.

[13] For a CBC Radio compilation of stories about Gil Cardinal including a discussion including Cardinal, the author and Loretta Todd following the release of As Long As The Rivers Flow http://www.cbc.ca/radio/rewind/gil-cardinal-telling-stories-of-pain-and-hope-1.3406242

[14] Gil Cardinal, director, Foster Child (Edmonton: National Film Board of Canada, 1987).

[15] Loretta Todd, director, The Learning Path documentary film part of As Long As The Rivers Flow (Toronto: Tamarack Productions, 1991) distributed by Icarus Films, New York.

[16] Cullingham, director & producer, Duncan Campbell Scott: The Poet and the Indians (Toronto: Tamarack Productions and the National Film Board of Canada, Ontario Centre, 1995) distributed in Canada by VTape and in the United States by Icarus Films.

[17] Cullingham, director & Gil Cardinal, producer Temagami – A Living Title to the land (Edmonton: Great Plains Productions and Great North Releasing, 1993); Visit from Africa (Edmonton: Great Plains Productions and Great North Releasing, 1996).

[18] René Sioui Labelle, director, Kanata: l’héritage des enfants d’Aataentsic (Montréal; L’Office National Du Film, 1998).

[19] Hal Niedzviecki, “Winning the Appropriation Prize,” Write, Spring, 2017, 8; See Deborah Dundas, “Editor Quits Amid Outrage after call for “Appropriation Prize” in writers’ magazine”, The Toronto Star, May 10, 2017; March Lederman and Mark Medley, “Writers’ Union of Canada editorial sparks outrage, resignations” The Globe And Mail, May 10, 2017.

[20] See “Editor of The Walrus resigns amid conversation about cultural appropriation”, The Canadian Press, May 14, 2017.

[21] “Cross fertilization or theft? – Canada’s war over “Cultural Appropriation” ” The Economist, May 25, 2017.

[22] Bruce Pittman, director, Keith Ross Leckie writer, Heather Haldane, Eric Jordan, Mary Young Leckie, prods and Paul Stephens, exec prod, Where The Spirit Lives (Toronto, Screen Door, 1989). Broadcast by CBC. Distributed by Amazing Spirit Productions Ltd.

[23] Lenore Keeshig (Tobias), “Stop Stealing Native Stories,” in Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism, Heather Macfarlane and Armand Garnet Ruffo eds, (Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 2016), 33-36. Keeshig’s commentary was originally published by The Globe And Mail, January 26, 1990.

[24] Michelle St. John, director and producer, Colonization Road (Toronto: Frog Girl Films, 2016).

[25] Willie Dunn, director, The Ballad of Crowfoot documentary film (National Film Board of Canada, Montréal, 1968); Bernard Gosselin, director, César et son canot d’écorce (Cesar’s Bark Canoe), documentary film National Film Board of Canada, Montréal, 1971; Ianzelo, Tony and Boyce Richardson directors., Cree Hunters of Mistassini documentary film (Montréal, National Film Board of Canada, 1974); Boyce Richardson and Jean-Pierre Fournier, directors., Job’s Garden – The Land Of The Great River People documentary film (Montreal: Fournier-Richardson Associates, 1974) distributed by Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre.

[26] Tasha Hubbard, director, Birth of A Family documentary film (Edmonton: National Film Board of Canada North-West Centre, 2016); Vicki Lean, director, After the last river documentary film (Vancouver: Indiecan Entertainment and Parrhesia Productions in association with Sandbox Films, 2015); Arnaquq Baril, Alathea, director Angry Inuk, (Montreal: National Film Board of Canada and Eyesteel Productions, 2016.

[27] Zacharias Kunuk, director, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (Igloolik: Igloolik Isuma, 2001).

[28] Isuma Artists Collective will represent Canada and present its work including films by Zacharias Kunuk and Paul Apak Angilirq at the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2019; see also Peter Raymont, director, Magic in the Sky (Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1981) This documentary film chronicles the establishment of the first Inuit televison network in the Canadian arctic; David Posiey and William Hansen, directors. Starting Fire With Gunpowder, from the series As Long As The Rivers Flow (Toronto: Tamarack Productions, 1990). This documentary examines the diverse work of Inuit filmmakers and television producers.

[29] Alex Williams, director and producer, the pass system documentary film (Toronto: Alex Williams in association with Tamarack Productions, 2015) Distributed by VTape.

[30] Alanis Obomsawin, director, Our People will be Healed documentary film (Montréal: National Film Board of Canada, 2017).

[31] http://canadianroots.ca/ accessed January 9, 2017. See also: https://www.facebook.com/events/168076197136006/ accessed January 9, 2017 and personal communication – thanks to Dorothy Schreiber, Communications Advisor, Indigenous Relations, Government of Alberta for flagging this event for me.

[32] Harold Cardinal, The Unjust Society (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre & Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1999 – originally published Edmonton: M.G. Hurtig, c1969).

[33] James Wilkes, presentation during “Action Research in Communities” panel discussion led by Carla Johnstone, Amanda Shankland and James Wilkes, 45th Annual Trent Temagami Colloquium, Camp Wanapitei, Temagami, ON September 25, 2017; See Cullingham, James, “Trent Temagami Colloquium 2017” blog post September 30, 2017. http://www.tamarackproductions.com/blog/2017/9/30/trent-temagami-colloquium-2017.

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