Spudwrench—Kahnawake Man

Director: Alanis Obomsawin
Screenwriters: Alanis Obomsawin

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Spudwrench tells the story of Randy Horne, a Mohawk high-steel worker from Kahnawake, a community on the St. Lawrence River in northeastern Canada. Horne was a legendary participant in the 1990 armed standoff at Oka in which Mohawks challenged an attempt by local developers to build a golf course on land they regarded as sacred. Focusing on the lives of the families involved in the uprising, Alanis Obomsawin carefully and heroically relates their stories, picking up where she left off with her award-winning documentary Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. Obomsawin is a veteran filmmaker, among the first Native people to make films. In her thirty-year career, she has written, directed, and produced many films that delicately and profoundly describe the realities of First Nations people across North America.

Now in Spudwrench, with Horne’s story as a central thread, Obomsawin weaves together archival material documenting the courageous and honorable legacy left by generations of Six Nations high-steel workers. Native Americans have played major roles in constructing skyscrapers because of their surefooted agility and fearlessness. Interviews with Kanehsatake participants and footage from behind the barricades at the uprising complete the portrait. Obomsawin’s filmmaking powerfully captures the beauty and strength of Native people and their stories, as well as the complex historical relationship between government and tribal nations.

Alanis Obomsawin, Director
Alanis Obomsawin was born on Abenaki territory in New Hampshire and raised on the Odanak Reserve in Quebec. For twenty-nine years, she has directed and produced documentaries with strong social content. She has received many awards, including the Order of Canada, in recognition for her dedication to the well-being of her people. Her films include Incident at Restigouche, Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child, No Address, and Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, which merited eighteen international awards.

— Heather Rae

Screening Details

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