Elder Voices Compilation
1996, 72:05 minutes, colour, English/Cree
PEOPLE OF THE SWAMP : Moose Factory (7:10 min.) The swampy Cree who live in and around Moose Factory have a rich and beautiful culture. Their fiddle music is the fastest you'll hope to hear anywhere. Ideal music for courting - work up a sweat, go outside to cool off and meet the love of your life. That's how it was for the two couples featured in this program. They tell how it was to meet and marry fifty years ago in Moose Factory. As they are transported in memory, so are we.
VOICES FROM HOME : Kingston (10:00 min.) The people of Tyendinega reservation believe Woman has the say in the home. To know Tyendinega, then, is to listen to the women. In this video, two elders women speak of their lives. One lives in a house "just across the road from where I was born". The other teaches at a local university. As they tell their stories, they're doing something else: describing their home. In this video, we see how these things are one and the same.
DEO EGAN SUBAHN-DRUM WEB : Guelph (8:00 min.) Mary Dokis is a fluent speaker of Ojibway; Rene Meshake is a visual artist; Maryanne Cheesequay and Joanne Varga make up a women's traditional singing group. These women live vibrant lives using their art and abilities to contribute to the aboriginal community in Guelph. In this video, we visit with this group of friends using language, art and songs to make their world over.
BIMAHDIZI - LIVE WELL : Thunder Bay (5:50 min.) Sweat Lodge. Mother. Love. Two men talk about the important ceremony of the sweat and what they learned from it. Images accompany their dialogue: Mountains, water, animals, trees. The effect is like a dream tour of Thunder Bay. A short, eloquent documentary on the meaning of the sweat lodge in the community.
SACRED RESTING PLACE OF OUR ANCESTORS : Peterborough (3:40 min.) The serpent mounds near Peterborough are of incredible age and mystery. What do we know of them? A scientist may say a lot about them: what does a young woman or traditional man say? In this short program, two members of the Aboriginal Community speak about the mounds. Images of the mounds pass one to the other. Ultimately, it is the mounds themselves that say the most. That and the song of a young woman.
OUR HOME OUR FUTURE : Sioux Lookout (10:30 min.) Sioux Lookout in the heart of Ontario is the home of survivors. Two generations speak, and the apst and present reflect each other. Survival for the Elderswho speak in this video meant carry bags of flour weighing hundreds of pounds. Survival for those of the latter twentieth century means enduring burdens of a different sort. This video is about the heart and back-breaking work that goes into making this community live. In English and Oji-Cree.
MTIG : Rama First Nations (8:35 min.) "Mtig" is a quiet and suggestive meditation on a community. This is an essay of emotions and images, rather than thesis and argument. We are taken through a day visiting Rama First Nations. Children play, swim, speak unselfconsciously to the camera. The joys of a summer day are written on their faces. We listen to the adults featured in this video, with their measured observations but what we remember most clearly are the children.
URBAN SPIRIT : Toronto (4:00 min.) How can one be aboriginal in an urban environment: How can aboriginal spirituality and urban living be balanced? Who offers support and life style alternatives to the aboriginal youth with no alternative to urban living? The Cree Vern Harper asks himself as part of a loose circle of so-called urban elders. In this intimate video, Vern tells of his experiences with these questions, so far.
KITCHI ANISHWABE KUMIK : Ottawa (9:20 min.) We are told the story of how a traditional ceremonial facility came to reside in downtown Ottawa. In the aftermath of Oka, aboriginal and non-aboriginal employees of the Department of Indian Affairs had a problem: how were they to live with so many contradictions? The solution: a spiritual centre for healing, teaching and discussion: the Kumik Centre. This program is a fascinating portrait of the Kumik, the how and the why of its creation.
SURVIVAL IS MY NAME : Toronto (6:20 min.) With Out Reservation, or W.O.R., is an aboriginal rap group from the San Francisco Bay area of California. In the Summer of 1995, they visited Toronto, and this video captures part of their stay. "Survival is my Name" offers a compelling view of the urban aboriginal experience. Using music video conventions and underscored by the group's own material, the urban aboriginal video is represented in all its exciting, enraged and entertaining fullness.
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