Our Nationhood

Director: Alanis Obomsawin
Screenwriters: Alanis Obomsawin

Institute History

  • 2004 Sundance Film Festival


In 1981, Abenaki filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin documented a fishing-rights standoff between the Listuguj Mi'gmaq people and the Quebec government, which raided their community, in Incident at Restigouche. Now, 22 years later, Obomsawin revisits this community as they are once again in a standoff with the Quebec government, this time over access to logging on their ancestral territory.

The community is descended upon by the outside media, while tribal members armed with their own cameras document internal debates and negotiation processes with government authorities. As the community erects a roadblock and the Quebec prime minister drives a wedge between the traditional hereditary government and that acknowledged by the Canadian government, what is the community to do when the governing systems won't allow for self-determination?

With multiple strands of engagement in the Mi'gmaq language, French, and English, Obomsawin presents the ancestral voice of reason amidst Québécois assertions of colonial authority. What resonates most are the voices and images of the children who are the beneficiaries of this resistance and the fight for acknowledgment of inherent rights as first nations.

— N. Bird Runningwater

Screening Details

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