First Stories: Volume 1 is a compilation DVD produced by the National Film Board of Canada. This DVD contains 4 documentary short films made by Aboriginal filmmakers from Manitoba. They were selected to write and direct their films proposal with the assistance of the NFB, CBC Manitoba, Manitoba Film & Sound and Telefilm Canada. The first film is Patrick Ross directed by Ervin Chartrand. Ross is an ex-convict who learned about First Nations art while he was in lock-down at Stony Mountain Institution.
Documentary about the role of cross-country skiing in the Gwich'in community of Old Crow and how parents took steps to keep their children healthy and active. This Yukon community faced increased rates of obesity and diabetes and turned to skiing as a way to keep their youth active and build their self-esteem in the process.
The Long Walk DVD was produced by the National Film Board of Canada about the life of Ken Ward, the first Native Canadian to go public with his HIV diagnosis. Years later when he developed AIDS, Ward remains an activist of HIV prevention and treatment. Working primarily with First Nations, he travels across Canada taking his message of tolerance and understanding to reserve, urban and prison communities. Powerful scenes involving persons with HIV/AIDS bring the message of hope and guidance to people living with HIV/AIDS.
Sigwan is a short DVD directed by Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. The story shows a young Native girl named Sigwanis rejected by her classmates who are outdoors listening to a Native storyteller. Sigwanis leaves the group and heads to the woods where she is befriended by bears who explain why she is a valuable person and should return to her family. The bears protect and comfort her over night and the take her back to her family. The bears in this film are portrayed by actors wearing bear masks with long blankets.
Spirit Doctors is a DVD by first-time documentary filmmaker with the National Film Board, Marie Burke. She wrote and directed this personal exploration of First Nations healing practices. She chose to work with Okanagan Elders and healers, Mary and Ed Louie. Issues surrounding appropriation and the ethics of recording sacred healing ceremonies are at the heart of this film. Mary and Ed Louie welcome the filmmaker and her crew to their Okanagan home.
Our City Our Voices: Follow the Eagle and Slo-Pitch video contains two short documentaries created by Aboriginal youth in Vancouver's Eastside. As a training project the youth got to tell stories about their city and the result is one about the role of Elders and the other about the importance of sports. During the summer of 2004 the youth documented the results of the Aboriginal Front Door's program to develop and nurture Elders in Vancouver. Most of these older Native people came to Vancouver in their earlier years and have struggled with abuse, life on the streets, and drugs.
The Washing of Tears is a powerful documentary about the impact of industrialization of Native culture and the triumphant cultural renewal in one British Columbia First Nation. The loss of a cultural shrine, the Whaler's Shrine, from the Mowachaht of Friendly Cove in 1903 symbolized their decline as a people and culture. The artifact became part of the museum collection of the New York Museum of Natural History. By the 1970s only one family lived in the traditional Nuuchahnulth homeland while all community members moved to Vancouver Island.
Smudge is a short documentary that is part of the National Film Board of Canada's Momentum Series. This series was designed to support emerging Ontario filmmakers create short DVDs that tackled the theme of human rights. Metis director Gail Maurice directed this short documentary about Native women in urban settings and their efforts to incorporate traditional spiritual practices such as smudging into their daily lives. Shot on location in offices, a park, and theatre, the film features several Native women who smudge with sweetgrass as part of their everyday living.
William Commanda, whose Algonquin name is Ojigkwanong, was born on the Maniwaki reserve in Quebec in 1913. During an illness in 1961, Commanda received a vision. This vision pictured a circle of nations and his has been dedicated to reconciling differences worldwide. His message of healing and peace is documented in this film. French with English subtitles. This NFB Home Use Only DVD from GoodMinds.com is only available for sale in Canada. For USA orders contact [email protected] or phone: 1-800-542-2164
Mi'kmaq Family - Migmaoei Otjiosog is a 1995 National Film Board of Canada film directed by Mikmaw filmmaker Catherine Ann Martin. This 32-minute DVD is a new parent's exploration about the techniques of modern childrearing through the experience of Mi'kmaq elders. During a summer gathering at Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, while celebrating Saint Anne's Day, the Mi'kmaq families share stories, renew friendships, and take pride in their cultural traditions.