Is the Crown at War with Us?

Director: Alanis Obomsawin
Screenwriters: Alanis Obomsawin

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


As Native North America's most prolific documentary filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawin has spent 31 years bringing to the screen truthful and necessary stories that immerse the viewer into modern Native life. Obomsawin offers yet another stunning 16mm film, Is the Crown at War with Us?, an elaborately detailed glimpse of the Esgenoopetitj Mi'gmaq First Nation—also known as the Burnt Church—in New Brunswick, Canada.

We witness a world transplanted around the ancestrally self-sufficient fishing people of the Burnt Church community since European contact and leading up to government policies to restrict their inherent and court-affirmed fishing rights. With views presented from all sides of the issue, Obomsawin ensures the Mi'gmaq voice is heard collectively, individually, and ancestrally.

Filled with stunning images of Mi'gmaq people and the land and sea they have always known, Obomsawin's film presents detailed critical analysis in a way that provides yet another necessary opportunity for questioning political processes and the intentions of national leaders. This time it is the Mi'gmaq people asking Canada, "Is the Crown at war with us?"

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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