It’s National Indigenous History Month in Canada, so we’ve compiled a list of must-see films by Indigenous women filmmakers that are sure to inspire. Watch them this month and beyond!
1. The Angry Inuk
A vocal anti-sealing movement imbued with cultural prejudice has damaged the Inuit seal hunting economy and had a lasting impact on Inuit communities. In this award-winning film, director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril follows a generation of Inuit working to change widely held beliefs about seal hunting through new technology and innovative methods of communicating their message to the world that has judged them. Watch the full video here.
2. The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open
Set in Vancouver, BC, Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s film explores the complex themes of racialization, gender, and colonisation through the bonds that two women form with one another. In a chance encounter, Áila finds Rosie, heavily pregnant and barefoot in the street, and takes her home in order to escape Rosie’s violent boyfriend who assaulted her. As the two women explore and unpack the traumatic event that Rosie survived, their relationship becomes one of deep connection and safety in a world that has harmed them. Watch the trailer, buy or rent here.
3. We will Stand Up
Following the acquittal of Gerald Stanley after his murder of Colten Boushie of the Cree Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan, there was a national outcry that raised wide-spread awareness about continued violence against Indigenous people. Tasha Hubbard’s film takes a sensitive but harrowing look at what followed Colten’s murder and the history of colonial violence in the prairies that lead to it. Featuring tough conversations about what real reconciliation would look like, the film looks towards what would make a safe world for Indigenous youth. Watch the trailer, buy or rent it here.
4. Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger
Alanis Obomsawin’s film follows the fight between provincial and federal governments over who would pay for the care of Jordan River Anderson, a young Cree boy with a rare genetic condition. The battle that took place resulted in the New Jordan Principle, which ensured equitable access for children in Canada; specifically, that First Nations and Inuit Child would receive the same standard of social, health, and educational services as were offered to the rest of the population in Canada. Watch the trailer, buy or rent the film here.
5. RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World
Bringing to light the impact that Indigenous artists had on popular rock and folk music, particularly in the 60s and 70s, RUMBLE is a rock-and-rolling ode to the Indigenous artists that influenced some of the biggest names in music. The film also demonstrates how the racism of the music industry affected these artists and their careers. Through one-on-one interviews with some of the biggest rock stars in the world, RUMBLE is a testament to Indigenous artists and their lasting impact on the music we all know and love. View the trailer, buy or rent here, and check out this Rumble-Inspired playlist on Spotify.