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Images of the Native Canadian in National Film Board documentary film, 1944-1994 Wilkie, Tanis Eleanor 1996

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IMAGES OF THE NATIVE CANADIAN IN NATIONAL FILM BOARD DOCUMENTARY FILM 1944-1994 by TANIS ELEANOR WILKIE B.A., The University of Western Ontario, 1987 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF EDUCATION Department of Educational Studies (Sociology of Education) We accept this thesis as conforming to the requjred standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1996 © Tanis Eleanor Wilkie, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) 11 ABSTRACT For f i f t y - s e v e n years the N a t i o n a l F i l m Board of Canada (NFB) has been i n t e r p r e t i n g Canada to Canadians through documentary f i l m s which have simultaneously r e f l e c t e d and shaped the i d e n t i t y of t h i s country and i t s peoples. This study i s concerned w i t h the NFB's documentary f i l m p o r t r a y a l of Native Canadians. Over the h a l f century that the NFB has been making f i l m s about Canada's indigenous peoples t h e i r p o r t r a y a l has undergone much change. Comparisons are made i n t h i s study between three of the e a r l i e s t examples and three of the most recent examples of such f i l m s , w i t h regard to a t t i t u d e , v o i c e , and technique. The e f f e c t these choices have upon r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s a l s o discussed. Changes i n t e c h n i c a l , a r t i s t i c , and p h i l o s o p h i c a l aspects of the documentary f i l m genre have a l s o had a s i g n i f i c a n t e f f e c t upon r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Native peoples over the past f i f t y years, and are considered as w e l l . E d u c a t i o n a l l y , the study considers issues of manipulation of knowledge and hidden c u r r i c u l a . P l a y i n g an i n c r e a s i n g l y important r o l e i n education today, the media i s a powerful t o o l both f o r teaching and f o r the i n c u l c a t i o n of s o c i a l norms. Suggestions are made as to ways i n which t h i s medium can best be used i n the classroom. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i Dedication l v Acknowledgements v Chapter One I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Chapter Two L i t e r a t u r e Review 5 • H i s t o r i c a l Background to Stereotyped Imagery of the Indian 5 •Documentary Film 12 •Documentary Film and Education 21 •National Film Board 25 Chapter Three Methodology 29 Chapter Four Films 33 • People of the Potlatch 33 • Peoples of the Skeena 42 •No Longer Vanishing 47 •Saltwater People 59 •The Washing of Tears 66 •The Learning Path . - 75 Chapter Five A n a l y s i s 8 6 Chapter Six Where Do We Go From Here? (Conclusions and Recommendations). 104 Endnotes 120 References . 128 Appendix A 134 Dedication dedicate t h i s work the memories of my Mum and Dad, wit h l o v e . V ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would l i k e to thank four of the best teachers I have ever had. During the course of my M.A. (Ed.) program these people have taught me - formally and informally - about the History of Native Education, Documentary Film, /Anthropology of Education, and the National Film Board of Canada. More importantly however, they have taught me about the heart of Education i t s e l f ; they have cared enough to help me discover what i s important to me, and to encourage and i n s p i r e me to stay committed to i t . At times t h i s hasn't been easy, and yet, at every turn, these teachers have been there to discuss my ideas, and to help structure and ref i n e them. The support they have u n f a i l i n g l y given has engendered within me a s p i r i t of excitement and a desire to continue learning about my subject of i n t e r e s t . Jean Barman has served as the best advisor one could hope for. Keenly interested, she has helped me to increasingly b u i l d confidence i n my study, my writing, and my ideas i n general. Her c l a r i t y of focus and motivational phone c a l l s and meetings have been an invaluable help to get me organised and writing. She has i n t u i t i v e l y known how to a s s i s t me i n the process of unlocking a passion and gaining the strength to express i t . I w i l l t r u l y miss our exchanges, and yet the power they have helped me f i n d I w i l l carry with me always. Ray H a l l has also been a v i t a l supporter of my ideas, and champion of my f l e d g l i n g confidence i n them. In our many discussions - i n and out of class - he has prodded me to consider d i f f e r e n t aspects of the filmmaking world, and the various ramifications for humans who enter into i t . A continuous i n s p i r a t i o n about the creative process, he has refueled my b e l i e f i n the importance of art and v i s i o n . Thelma Cook has helped me appreciate the wonderful complexity of ethnographic work. Her undaunted enthusiasm for i n t e r c u l t u r a l exchange and understanding has served to guide me i n times of confusion and doubt. Her confidence and excitement i n both myself and my project have been a great support, as has her tenacious a b i l i t y to think p o s i t i v e l y , and to transmit that attitude to me. Jan Clemson has shared information about the National Film Board and his career that has been undeniably d i f f i c u l t . Throughout the past year of unprecedented funding cuts, he has unceasingly made himself available to me to discuss both the wonders of the NFB and i t s heartbreaking demise. He has made me f e e l t r u l y welcome i n his world, by both sharing his thoughts and feelings and by opening a big window onto the NFB. His intense commitment to film, education, and s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y have been an i n s p i r i n g model. His warm, s p i r i t e d support has been f a n t a s t i c . Robert Woollard has been a family doctor, councilor, and f r i e n d to me throughout the past f i v e years. He has guided me through much emotional heavy weather surrounding the loss of my mother during t h i s time. When I thought the storm would never end, when I wanted to hide i n the fog and disappear, he extended a hand, and a calm voice so that I could again take control of my boat, and tack into the wind. He has been invaluable i n helping me to f i n d my own d i r e c t i o n , and to l i s t e n to my own voice. Last, but not least, my friends, family, and colleagues have also believed i n me even when I haven't. They have continuously encouraged me to forge ahead when the going got tough, made me tal k about my project even when I thought I had nothing to say, checked up on my deadlines, made me dinners, and generally held my hand when I needed i t . I f e e l extremely lucky to have a l l these people i n my l i f e . The process of obtaining t h i s degree has been a very int e r e s t i n g , i f at times arduous and f r u s t r a t i n g one indeed. I have learned a l o t . More than anything I have learned to value myself and to stand up for my ideas, and thus to be a healthier member of the whole. Without the help and love of a l l the above people, I know I couldn't have learned t h i s . Many Thanks! I INTRODUCTION ... colonization meant the destruction of t h e i r cultures, t h e i r voices, the s i l e n c i n g of who they were, i n attempts to assimilate them into a mass. Decolonization on the screen means an assertion of i d e n t i t y . Of history of a p a r t i c u l a r people. Of t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r r e a l i t i e s . 1 In a recent segment of a documentary series about filmmaking, e n t i t l e d Through the Lens the theme was minority representation. Several filmmakers of various r a c i a l backgrounds (Native people, Metis, Chinese, African, Indian, and Japanese) spoke about t h e i r work and how t h e i r ancestry affected i t . Issues regarding representation by the dominant culture of 'the Other' were approached by some of the speakers, who mentioned stereotyping and romanticization as being extensions of the c o l o n i a l process of genocidal assi m i l a t i o n . The overriding theme of the program (written and narrated by Loretta Todd) was that there i s a need for cinematic representation of cultures by members of those cultures. Whether involved i n exploration of overtly c u l t u r a l issues i n t h e i r films or not, a l l the filmmakers expressed a sense of r e l i e f and excitement at the prospect of questioning the ways i n which t h e i r peoples have previously been depicted. A sense of freedom was i n evidence i n t h e i r comments, revealing that something important has 2 been repressed and i s now b u r s t i n g f o r t h w i t h enthusiasm and power. The focus of my t h e s i s i s the p o r t r a y a l of Native peoples i n f i l m s made by the N a t i o n a l F i l m Board of Canada, and how t h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n has changed over time. I t i s my contention that a body which i s f e d e r a l l y funded and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y reputed f o r i t s documentary prowess i s an important locus f o r the study of the above concerns regarding the p o r t r a y a l of c u l t u r e s . Although countless NFB documentary f i l m s have r e c e i v e d i n t e r n a t i o n a l acclaim, examinations of the f i l m s ' p o r t r a y a l s of Canada's indigenous peoples have been l i m i t e d . As the NFB i s the l a r g e s t s i n g l e Canadian producer of f i l m s used i n schools, the e d u c a t i o n a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of such an examination i s a l s o paramount. The i s s u e of v o i c e plays an important r o l e i n a l l forms of r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , of a l l people. The a u t h o r i a l v o i c e a f f e c t s the message and thus the p o r t r a y a l , which goes on to i n f l u e n c e a t t i t u d e s of the viewer and shape views i n s o c i e t y at l a r g e . U n t i l f a i r l y r e c e n t l y , N a t i o n a l F i l m Board (NFB) documentary f i l m r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Native people i n Canada has been dominated by White filmmakers. 2 P o r t r a y a l of Native people i s the subject of t h i s study, which a l s o examines how t h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n r e f l e c t s the purpose of the f i l m s and the predominant a t t i t u d e s that r e s i d e w i t h i n the filmmakers' c u l t u r e . Along w i t h major s h i f t s t hat have occurred i n the realm of documentary filmmaking over the past f i f t y years, 3 attitudes toward Native people have also changed dramatically. When I think back to my elementary school years, I r e c a l l s o c i a l studies with the most excitement; the wonder and exhilaration of learning about d i f f e r e n t countries and cultures so diverse and unlike my own. Documentary films played a s i g n i f i c a n t role i n thi s learning, and enhanced the experience of studying other people and places i n a profound way. The a b i l i t y of f i l m to draw the viewer into another world by way of v i s u a l and aural manipulation i s , e s p e c i a l l y to a c h i l d , no less than magical. Documentary films about Native Canadians, made pri m a r i l y by the National Film Board played a substantial role i n my elementary school education. My strong i n t e r e s t i n both Native culture and i n the medium of documentary f i l m was inspir e d by t h i s early exposure, and eventually fueled the i n t e r e s t for t h i s thesis. As an educator I have used NFB films to supplement my lessons, and have always been impressed by the eff e c t documentary f i l m has upon people -at the very least a heightening of intere s t takes place, but often a complete s h i f t i n understanding r e s u l t s . It i s unquestionably a powerful educational t o o l , and I am interested i n both the way i t works upon us, and how i t can be better u t i l i z e d . The following chapter, the " l i t e r a t u r e review," i s comprised of four t h e o r e t i c a l components that have helped me understand and frame my ideas for t h i s thesis. They are: 4 A. H i s t o r i c a l Background to Stereotyped Imagery of the Native (Indian), B. Documentary Film, C. Documentary Film and Education, and D. the National Film Board of Canada. Following t h i s l i t e r a t u r e review i s the Methodology chapter. Chapter four i s the heart of the thesis, the record of the films themselves, through my eyes; what I deem to be the core facets, what spoke to me. Chapter f i v e analyses the films, both i n terms of documentary f i l m theory, and i n regard to how the films compare and contrast. Lastly, i n chapter six, I summarize my findings, and look at the d i r e c t i o n documentary f i l m representation of Native people i s taking. 5 II LITERATURE REVIEW W h i l e f o r m u l a t i n g t h i s t h e s i s t o p i c I r e a l i z e d t h a t I had v a r i o u s d i s p a r a t e a r e a s o f i n t e r e s t . As t h e t o p i c t o o k shape t h e s e i n t e r e s t s began t o c o a l e s c e , and e v e n t u a l l y formed th e background f o r t h i s s t u d y . An i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f b o t h imagery and documentary f i l m r e q u i r e s i n f o r m a t i o n from more t h a n one body o f l i t e r a t u r e . The t h e s i s draws on f o u r b o d i e s o f l i t e r a t u r e , each o f w h i c h i s i n t r o d u c e d h e r e : A. t h e r o o t s o f White a t t i t u d e s , s t e r e o t y p e s , and imagery o f the I n d i a n , B. t h e v a r i o u s p r i m a r y modes o f documentary f i l m m a k i n g p h i l o s o p h i e s and t e c h n i q u e s , C. i s s u e s r e l a t i n g t o b e t t e r u t i l i z a t i o n o f documentary f i l m s i n e d u c a t i o n a l s e t t i n g s , such as u n d e r s t a n d i n g h i d d e n c u r r i c u l a and subsequent d e c o n s t r u c t i o n t h r o u g h media e d u c a t i o n , and D. the N a t i o n a l F i l m Board's commitment t o documentary f i l m m a k i n g , i t s c o n n e c t i o n s t o e d u c a t i o n , and i t s r o l e i n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f N a t i v e Canadians. A. Historical Background to Stereotyped Imagery of the Indian A phenomenon wh i c h has been w i d e s p r e a d f o r thousands o f y e a r s among p e o p l e s c o n f r o n t i n g and i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h d i f f e r e n t ' o t h e r s , ' i s the comparison o f t h e 'Other' t o o n e s e l f , o r one's own p e o p l e . From the need t o e x p l a i n d i f f e r e n c e s i n appearance and b e h a v i o u r , a t t e m p t s t o 6 categorize, and to represent those differences have arisen. What Robert Miles c a l l s "a d i a l e c t i c between Self and Other i n which the attributed c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Other r e f r a c t contrasting c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Self, and vice versa, 3" others have c a l l e d counterimaging. In the case of White Europeans encountering North /American Natives, the contrast was great, and the comparative representation began immediately. Considering themselves to be morally superior to the Indian, Puritan immigrants conceived of the Indian as depraved and s i n f u l , and therefore worthy of being exterminated i n the name of eradicating e v i l . 4 In a p a r a l l e l way, any ambivalence regarding the su p e r i o r i t y of White culture manifested i t s e l f i n esteem for the Indian. From t h i s counterimaging a dual representation emerged of a 'Bad1 and a 'Good' Indian. The 'Bad' Indian embodied a l l the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of savagery, from lechery, to cannibalism, to laziness, to dishonesty, to i r r a t i o n a l i s m , and to f i l t h . The xGood' Indian was given the attributes of f r i e n d l i n e s s , h o s p i t a l i t y , physical beauty and strength, modesty, tenderness, independence, and d i g n i t y . In short, t h i s s e l f - r e f l e x i v e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n was merely a means of coping with a frightening unknown, neatly judging and categorizing what was foreign and threatening. With the growing enthusiasm for evolutionism i n the nineteenth century came the trend to extrapolate theories of h i e r a r c h i c a l order from biology to c u l t u r e . 5 Again stemming from fear, and a desire to impose a structured framework i n 7 order to prevent a loss of control, t h i s philosophy ranked a l l cultures from most to least evolved, implying also most to least c i v i l i z e d , i n t e l l i g e n t , powerful, good, and even human. Within t h i s philosophical construct, the European f i l l e d the uppermost position, whereas the Indian f i t the b i l l of the "Original State of Mankind," or the proverbial bottom of the heap. In /America, i n the aftermath of the Revolution, the new White nation was growing i n p o l i t i c a l power, yet desperately searching for a c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y to express t h i s autonomy. The romantic and n a t i o n a l i s t i c sentiment at t h i s time craved an i d e n t i t y that was i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c , f r e e - s p i r i t e d , and proud. Now that the Indian was indeed dying out, i n both a physical and c u l t u r a l sense, he was less of a threat to the l i v e s and morals of White society. Therefore, the oppressed Indian, who embodied a l l of the desired c u l t u r a l t r a i t s became an i n t e g r a l symbol for the nation i n need of a face. The most romantic of a l l romantic notions, the concept of the "Vanishing Race" - the g l o r i f i c a t i o n of a culture i n i t s l a s t dying days - took hold at t h i s time and permeated the national consciousness i n the form of paintings, poems, novels, and stage shows: As numerous scholars have pointed out, the f i r s t t r u l y popular l i t e r a t u r e i n /America was the Indian c a p t i v i t y narrative, a l i t e r a r y genre with hundreds of t i t l e s i n p r i n t by 1800. Interest i n and imaginings about 8 /America's native inhabitants became a national leisure-time a c t i v i t y 6 . As America embraced progress, cleared the land, and b u i l t c i t i e s , a fondness was spawned for what was being l o s t . Concepts of the wilderness, and values of organic unity, embodied by the simple, independent existence of the Indian i n harmony with nature, became exalted and appropriated as part of the American i d e n t i t y . Thus, as White society became more established, representation of the image of the pre-contact Indian became increasingly popular. Safely i n a dominant position, i t was now possible for the White mind to transform the bloodthirsty demon into the Noble Savage. The message was clear: the Indian was dead. In the early nineteenth century sentimental nostalgia turned, among anthropologists, into a desire to learn about and understand the "Vanishing Race" before i t was t r u l y gone. A major s h i f t i n scholarship, away from the popular conception of a monolithic Indian culture, to one which recognized a m u l t i p l i c i t y of cultures, was pioneered by Franz Boas, founder of the Anthropology Department at Columbia University. His approach, which hinted at the beginnings of pluralism and relativism, implied a respect previously lacking for the Indian i n her own r i g h t , not s o l e l y i n comparison to the European. This new anthropology was based on a b e l i e f i n "the wholeness and psychological v a l i d i t y of each culture." 7 Although Boas made important advances by r e j e c t i n g some entrenched attitudes and b e l i e f s 9 - the existence of a hierarchy of races, and a d i f f e r e n t functioning of ' c i v i l i z e d ' and 'primitive' brains, for example - his research was s t i l l rooted i n the past; and Native cultures were studied as they had once l i v e d , and not as the anthropologists found them. Thus, the 'frozen' image of the Indian as pre-contact-exotic-museum-piece was to be perpetuated for some time to come. MAJOR STEREOTYPES From the beginning "Indian" has been a misconception, a misnomer, a mistake; "The idea of the Indian or Indians in general i s a White image or stereotype because i t does not square with present-day conceptions of how those peoples c a l l e d Indians l i v e d and saw themselves." 8 As has been mentioned, the rationale for t h i s mistake not being r e c t i f i e d , but only becoming more entrenched and r e i f i e d , i s rooted i n fear. Rather than make the t e r r i f y i n g e f f o r t to learn about something d i f f e r e n t , i t was more convenient for White society to construct t h e i r own version of r e a l i t y , and to further reduce th i s ' r e a l i t y ' to that of stereotype. Indeed, as many scholars have noted, 9 t h i s notion of the Vanishing Race (and a l l the i l l u s o r y ideas that accompanied i t ) heavily influenced the representation of the Indian over the four centuries of colonization before the medium of f i l m was to continue the stereotyped imagery. R. J. Surtees 1 0 delineated t h i s stereotyping by d i v i d i n g the imagery into four d i s t i n c t roles that have emerged over the four hundred year history of Canada. He contends that the 10 ideologies behind them played a .significant part i n the determination of "the p o l i c i e s , l e g i s l a t i o n and s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s adopted by the whites with respect to Indians." 1 1 Prefaced by the Image of the Indian as Noble Savage (1535-1650), and Warrior (1650-1830), the image of Indian as Social Nuisance (1830-1950) became an important stereotype into the f i r s t h a l f of the twentieth century. Jean Barman also comments (in her chapter "Disregard of Native Peoples" i n The West beyond the West) on the White man's perceptions of Indians as "nuisances" and untrustworthy, i n f e r i o r beings, 1 2 and on the ways i n which federal p o l i c y regarding Indian a f f a i r s r e f l e c t e d such misconceptions. 1 3 Several stereotyped characterizations have been recurrent i n popular American culture, o r i g i n a t i n g i n nineteenth-century novels and continuing to appear i n recent Hollywood movies. 1 4 The 'Old Wise C h i e f i s a figure who i s often supportive of the White agenda of the p a r t i c u l a r story. He recognizes the f u t i l i t y of opposition to progress, and i s usually of the firm conviction that expropriation was not that bad, i f viewed i n terms of cosmic process and natural law. It i s commonly the case that the chief passes on his 'wisdom' to a White man, coinciding with the b e l i e f that a l l secrets should be passed on to them, as they are superior. 1 5 The 'Savage' i s another prominent character, l i v i n g i n the wild, i n an u n c i v i l i z e d , immoral, and an i m a l i s t i c fashion, and forever skulking on the t r a i l of 11 the White man, whom he ine v i t a b l y b r u t a l l y murders and scalps. The 'Indian Princess' i s a be a u t i f u l , young, s e l f -s a c r i f i c i n g romantic woman, who i s often seen to a s s i s t the White man, and sometimes f a l l i n love with him. 1 6 The 'Drunken Indian' personifies the degraded character who has absorbed nothing but bad influences, from White society, and retained none of the redeeming features of his own. F i n a l l y , the 'Sorcerer,' or 'Witch Doctor,' i s a figure who embodies a l l the mystery of the supernatural, non-Christian, u n s c i e n t i f i c a l i e n consciousness of the Indian. C l e a r l y f i c t i t i o u s concoctions of v i v i d imaginations, these examples give a small sampling of the fascination of the White man for the Red. Unfortunately they also reveal, i n the immediacy with which these figures can be brought to l i f e i n the minds of most North Americans, the power which stereotyped representation has had on the creation of an imaginary Indian. Certainly "We cannot dismiss the stereotypes as unimportant f i l m portrayals because hundreds of m i l l i o n s of people the world over have acquired t h e i r b e l i e f s about North American Indians through motion p i c t u r e s . " 1 7 What i s perhaps a more sobering thought i s the p o s s i b i l i t y that even "modern American Indians draw heavily from these f i l m s . i n constructing t h e i r own views of t h e i r c u l t u r a l heritage." 1 8 12 B. Documentary Film Documentary f i l m has, from i t s inception, been considered an educational vehicle to convey information and t r u t h f u l depiction of the world. The preservation and re-presentation of actual events through the medium of a moving picture has for several decades held the esteemed p o s i t i o n of having been believed i n and revered as a v a l i d and f a i t h f u l means of portraying r e a l i t y . As with the photograph, i t i s i n the a b i l i t y to capture and circumscribe, and then be subjected to repeated reference, that i t s power l i e s . Unlike poetry, painting or l i t e r a t u r e , the hand of the maker has been less d i s c e r n i b l e i n non-f i c t i o n film, thus lending yet more c r e d i b i l i t y to i t s documentary nature, and claim to the 'truth.' Due to the high degree of f a i t h audiences have had i n the documentary film, as well as the degree to which i t has been used s p e c i f i c a l l y to educate, i t i s my opinion that analysis of images and messages and stereotypes must continue into t h i s realm also. As w i l l be explored, although the hand may not be d i s c e r n i b l e , i t i s most c e r t a i n l y there and perhaps because of i t s obscurity i t needs a closer examination. The fact that many d i f f e r i n g d e f i n i t i o n s of documentary f i l m exist i s i n d i c a t i v e not only of the myriad of types and functions of documentary, but also of the less than objective nature of the medium. From John Grierson's "creative treatment of a c t u a l i t y " to other documentarists' 13 d e f i n i t i o n s - "to r e v e a l i n terras of r e a l i t y " to "a weapon, ... a t o o l f o r c r e a t i n g s o c i e t y " to "an a g i t a t i o n a l form of cinema" to a form wi t h which to " r e f l e c t s o c i e t y , not to i n f l u e n c e i t " to an expression of "the r e a l i t y , the a c t u a l i t y of man's r e l a t i o n s h i p to h i s work, h i s environment, and h i s s o c i e t y " 1 9 i t i s c l e a r that to d e l i n e a t e the meaning of documentary i s to engage i n a p h i l o s o p h i c a l debate. At the centre of the debate i s the nature of the ' t r u t h ' that i s c o n s t i t u t e d by documentary f i l m . In order f o r t h i s to be unfolded, a n a l y s i s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f i l m maker and subject and, u l t i m a t e l y , between s u b j e c t i v i t y and o b j e c t i v i t y i s c r u c i a l . W i thin a medium which proposes to r e f l e c t , r e v e a l and document, the r o l e of the f i l m maker would appear to be minimal, to simply set up the camera before the r e a l i t y to be documented, c o l l e c t the exposed f i l m , and develop i t . However, t h i s i s almost never how documentary f i l m s are made; many d e c i s i o n s are undertaken by the documentarist before, during, and a f t e r the ' r e a l i t y ' i s recorded: Our attempts to " f i x " on c e l l u l o i d what l i e s before the camera - ourselves or members of other c u l t u r e s - are f r a g i l e i f not a l t o g e t h e r i n s i n c e r e e f f o r t s . Always issues of s e l e c t i o n i n t r u d e (which angle, take, camera stock w i l l best s e r v e ) ; the r e s u l t s are indeed mediated, the r e s u l t of m u l t i p l e i n t e r v e n t i o n s that n e c e s s a r i l y come between the cinematic s i g n (what we see on the screen) and i t s r e f e r e n t . 2 0 14 As i s noted by Arlene Moscovitch i n Constructing Reality, Grierson's famous d e f i n i t i o n i s perhaps the most useful, i n that " i t emphasizes the documentary form's concentration on the actual, i t s basis i n r e a l - l i f e events, issues, and people. As well, i t suggests that far from being transparent windows onto r e a l i t y , documentaries - l i k e a l l other forms of filmmaking - are mediated constructions, the r e s u l t of countless decisions made by individuals struggling to produce coherent, thoughtful, and passionate (or so one hopes) i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of r e a l i t y . " 2 1 Documentarists know that the 'truth' which re s u l t s i n the documentary f i l m i s a truth created both by the f i l m maker and by the audience who watches the f i l m . Because we are human i t i s impossible to be objective, bringing as we do experiences and attitudes to every s i t u a t i o n (or ' r e a l i t y ' ) , which thus f i l t e r and af f e c t what we encounter. The concept of a truth, one absolute r e a l i t y being represented, i s thus questioned by documentarists. However, as i s noted by P h i l i p Rosen, a myth has long existed among analysts of f i l m regarding the p o s s i b i l i t y of portraying an untainted chronicle of an event, or an u n f i l t e r e d version of r e a l i t y : Film historians and theorists have sometimes written as i f the main pretense of documentary cinema has been the rather naive one providing unmediated access to an ongoing p r o f i l m i c event, as i f the main l i n e of the documentary cinema t r a d i t i o n 15 consists i n a constant attempt to convince the spectator s/he i s watching the unfolding of the r e a l , as i f a c t u a l i t y could be reproduced through cinema.... We must keep reminding ourselves that the documentary t r a d i t i o n has r a r e l y supposed that the photographic/cinematic "impression of r e a l i t y " i s , i n i t s e l f , s u f f i c i e n t for knowledge. 2 2 Clearly, i f t h i s i l l u s i o n i s widespread among those trained and intimately involved i n f i l m theory, i t i s l i k e l y that the less-informed general populace subscribes even more wholeheartedly to t h i s b e l i e f . This question of interpretation becomes an important issue when we return to the role of documentary f i l m as educator/shaper of attitudes. If indeed the spectator believes i n the 'truth' of a f i l m image or narrative, and i s ignorant of the selection and mediation by the f i l m maker, the message within the f i l m w i l l be powerfully communicated. Indeed, the entire interventionary process necessary to the production of that message i s i n v i s i b l e , and for a l l intents and purposes, non-existent to that spectator. The authority of the re a l footage causes the u n i n i t i a t e d to accept the communication without question, and, often, the informed to suspend his/her b e l i e f . The biases, attitudes, and perspective of the documentarist are r a r e l y considered, due to the powerful seduction of the moving picture. In the depiction of s o c i a l issues, and i n p a r t i c u l a r , race-related issues, awareness of these biases 16 i s c r u c i a l to a f u l l reading of the film, and an active dialogue between spectator and f i l m . A central element to the documentary f i l m form i s the need to construct and defend an argument. B i l l Nichols likens t h i s process to that of a le g a l argument being presented i n a court. Just as i n the l a t t e r s i t u a t i o n , he says, the objective and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the filmmaker i s to make a case, and, as e f f e c t i v e l y as possible, to persuade the viewer (jury) of the truth within. 2 3 He outlines the general format that documentary films follow i n order to execute such a persuasion: Documentaries take shape around an informing l o g i c . The economy of t h i s l o g i c requires a representation, case, or argument about the h i s t o r i c a l world. The economy i s b a s i c a l l y instrumental or pragmatic: i t operates i n terms of problem-solving. A paradigmatic structure for documentary would involve the establishment of an issue or problem, the presentation of the background to the problem, followed by an examination of i t s current extent or complexity, often including more than one perspective or point of view. This would lead to a concluding section where a solution or path toward a solution i s introduced. 2 4 Thus, the documentary filmmaker's goal i s to present a version of a s i t u a t i o n or event i n a convincing manner that w i l l i n s t i l l i n t e r e s t and b e l i e f i n the viewer. He or she does t h i s by c o l l e c t i n g a variety of v i s u a l and aural 17 evidence, which i s then i n t r i c a t e l y edited into a l o g i c a l whole. Nichols delineates the primary modes of documentary f i l m that have been made since the outset of the genre. In a b r i e f examination of these d i f f e r e n t styles, i t i s possible to get a sense both of the ways i n which society has influenced what i s acceptable within t h i s form, and how t h i s has helped shaped i t s evolution. 2 5 The expository mode of documentary f i l m i s the e a r l i e s t form, developed i n the 1920's, with such well-known films as Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1920) and John Grierson's D r i f t e r s (1929) being c l a s s i c examples. Emerging as a reaction to the entertainment-oriented f i c t i o n films, the expository form sought instead to speak d i r e c t l y about the r e a l world, suggesting that the stories to be t o l d therein were as i n t e r e s t i n g i f not more so than f i c t i o n a l ones. The hallmarks of t h i s form are a "voice-of-God" commentary directed toward the viewer, and images c a r e f u l l y edited to i l l u s t r a t e the points being made. Being the front-runner i n terms of introducing t h i s form to the world, and being developed at a time when the ' s c i e n t i f i c method* was popularizing the notion of n e u t r a l i t y , the expository documentary i s understandably the one mode which forces the argument: 18 The expository mode emphasizes the impression of o b j e c t i v i t y , and of well-substantiated judgment. This mode supports the impulse toward generalization handsomely since the voice-over commentary can rea d i l y extrapolate from the p a r t i c u l a r instances offered on the image track. 2 6 Thus, t h i s form claims to present 'the truth' whatever the subject, with the utmost authority, and b l i n d f a i t h i n the a b i l i t y to assume a po s i t i o n of detachment. On the premise that somehow the evidence presented i n the images i s 'proof of what i s being said, the expository documentary asks the viewer to believe - without question. The observational documentary i s a form sometimes c a l l e d cinema v e r i t e or d i r e c t cinema, and was developed i n the 1960's with the advent of synchronous sound and portable cameras. Whereas i n e a r l i e r films i t was not possible for part i c i p a n t s to speak as they were being filmed, t h i s s t y l e allows for t h i s , and made use of i t . In d i r e c t contrast to the expository mode, thi s style ostensibly gives up 'control' of the events which occur i n front of the camera, with the ultimate aim of the filmmaker being so unobtrusive as to merely 'observe' a situ a t i o n , and thus not intervene at a l l . Again attempting to reveal 'the truth' about a situ a t i o n , the observational documentary presumes to negate i t s s u b j e c t i v i t y by way of a seemingly transparent, 19 "unmediated and unfettered access to the world." 2 7 Although any ingredients extraneous to the observed scene are avoided i n the purest examples of thi s mode, sel e c t i o n i n regard to shooting and edi t i n g indeed exist, c a l l i n g into question the ' r e a l i t y ' of the r e s u l t . Further u t i l i z i n g the synchronous sound technology, filmmakers i n the 1950's began experimenting with the idea of removing the " v e i l of i l l u s o r y absence" 2 8 by overtly involving themselves, and hence creating the interactive mode of documentary f i l m . Also i n contrast to the expository mode, the authority of the text i n t h i s s t y l e i s located p r i m a r i l y with the participants, and not the filmmaker. There i s no voice-of-God, but, instead, voices of people who t e l l t h e i r own stories, or are interviewed by a seen or unseen i n t e r l o c u t o r : Various forms of monologue and dialogue (real or apparent) predominate. The mode introduces a sense of partialness, of situated presence and local knowledge that derives from the actual encounter of filmmaker and other. 2 9 Thus, o b j e c t i v i t y has been exchanged for s u b j e c t i v i t y i n in t e r a c t i v e documentary, which i s embraced for i t s a b i l i t y to a t t a i n various truths through int e r p r e t a t i o n . 20 The most recent mode of documentary f i l m i s the reflexive mode. In t h i s style the focus i s upon the process of representation, the way i n which the argument i s structured, and the f i l m constructed. It consciously draws attention to the mechanics of the medium, manipulating the text to interrupt and expose i t to the viewer. As the maker of the observational f i l m seeks i n v i s i b i l i t y , the r e f l e x i v e a r t i s t openly stamps his/her personality into the f a b r i c of the text, by way of including any number of ' u n r e a l i s t i c ' devices. Not only questioning the notion of authority, r e f l e x i v e documentary questions epistemology and the notion of truth i t s e l f . The r e f l e x i v e mode emphasizes epistemological doubt. It stresses the deformative intervention of the cinematic apparatus i n the process of representation. Knowledge i s not only l o c a l i z e d but i t s e l f subject to question. Espousing a r e l a t i v i s t view of truth, t h i s mode denies the v a l i d i t y of objective, ' t r u t h f u l ' representation, and proclaims instead that "the representation of r e a l i t y has to be countered by an interrogation of the r e a l i t y of representation. " 3 1 21 C. Documentary Film and Education As has been mentioned, documentary f i l m has from i t s inception been appreciated for i t s educational properties. Whether i n a formal scholastic setting or not, the ease with which t h i s medium communicates knowledge i s incontrovertible. Indeed, the pot e n t i a l to transport another world into a classroom, and the multitude of ways a creative teacher can u t i l i s e a documentary f i l m to invoke discussion and generally provoke thought, make i t an invaluable t o o l . However, as with a l l tools, documentary f i l m can be and often i s manipulated. Questions regarding what knowledge should be shared, and how t h i s knowledge i s negotiated, are p a r t i c u l a r l y s i g n i f i c a n t i n the realm of education. Philosophers as well as s o c i o l o g i s t s of education have examined what i s learned e x p l i c i t l y and i m p l i c i t l y i n schools, and how these c u r r i c u l a are connected to larger s o c i a l agenda. Much attention has been paid i n the past two decades to the concept of the 'hidden curriculum.' Michael Apple has defined t h i s as "the t a c i t teaching to students of norms, values, and dispositions that goes on simply by t h e i r l i v i n g i n and coping with the i n s t i t u t i o n a l expectations and routines of schools, day i n and day out for a number of years" 3 2 . Sometimes termed the ' i m p l i c i t curriculum', i t i s 22 considered to encompass knowledge which i s taught ( i n t e n t i o n a l l y or unintentionally) with the purpose of s o c i a l i z i n g students. The hidden curriculum i s perceived by many theorists to r e f l e c t the omnipresent s o c i a l concern with economy and e f f i c i e n c y . E.W. Eisner relates aspects of the school environment, from architecture and furniture to organizational structure, pedagogical rules, and reward systems to i n s t i t u t i o n a l values of order, cleanliness, and p r o d u c t i v i t y . 3 3 Apple states that schools act "as powerful agents i n the economic and c u l t u r a l reproduction of class r e l a t i o n s , " echoing Bourdieu's theories regarding the role of education i n the reproduction of c u l t u r a l c a p i t a l , and thus s o c i a l inequality. Analysis of the interplay of 'sele c t i v e , ' 'legitimate' knowledge, and the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s of classroom l i f e , Apple says, reveals the in e x t r i c a b l e t i e s our schools have to an external s o c i a l order based i n inequality. Apple argues that analysis of the ' c u r r i c u l a r ' knowledge and i t s presentation are necessary i f we are to discover "why and how p a r t i c u l a r aspects of the c o l l e c t i v e culture are presented i n school as objective, factual knowledge"34 ; or how the 'hidden curriculum' inculcates c e r t a i n views about society. Media plays an increasingly s i g n i f i c a n t role i n education today, and yet has been submitted to a paucity of 23 research by educational s o c i o l o g i s t s i n the area of ide o l o g i c a l representation, aspects of curriculum, and learning materials. 3 5 Elizabeth Ellsworth i s i n the forefront of t h i s work, and has written on documentary f i l m s p e c i f i c a l l y . Noting that documentary f i l m has always been more than mere reportage of facts, she says that i t s role has been "to s o l i c i t allegiance from the viewer i n support of an int e r p r e t a t i o n about the s o c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of ah event, issue, or s i t u a t i o n e x i s t i n g i n the world outside of the f i l m i t s e l f . " 3 6 In keeping with Nichols' analysis of the 'expository' documentary, focused upon persuasion of an argument, Ellsworth attacks t h i s motive of the medium for i t s manipulative goal of shaping and constructing ideas rather than educating about them: ... educational documentaries o f f e r students a viewing experience that attempts to make pleasurable a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l p o s i tion: that of subject-of-paternalism. They do t h i s by orchestrating aesthetics and rhetorics of protection, progress, certainty, and goodness, and then l i n k these to r a c i s t , sexist, monoculturalist, authoritarian, and other dominant interests i n ways that make such interests appear to be natural and for the common good. 3 7 24 She suggests that such n a t u r a l i z a t i o n of the dominant ideologies present i n certa i n documentary films encourages the viewer to extrapolate his/her agreement/allegiance to larger s o c i a l norms as well. This, she argues, i s wrong, because, instead of encouraging questions i n the minds of viewers, these films attempt to silence inquiry, i n the name of protection and reproduction of a mythical consensus. 3 8 So, i n the words of Jane Martin, 3 9 i n her a r t i c l e "What do we do with a hidden curriculum when we f i n d one?" Martin suggests that the hidden curriculum may be examined and revealed to i t s r e c i p i e n t s . This option, favoured by Martin, i s termed " r a i s i n g to consciousness the hidden curriculum" . 4 0 Martin describes the purpose of t h i s 'consciousness r a i s i n g ' to be both preventive and transformative. A c q u i s i t i o n of hidden learning states i s to be avoided, while the development of new, relevant learning states by students and teachers together i s to be the focus. Through a process of ana l y t i c deconstruction of the " b e l i e f s , attitudes, values, or patterns of behaviour" 4 1 which constitute how and why the status quo i s maintained, the 'hidden' knowledge w i l l provide fodder for " c r i t i c a l thinking, a n a l y t i c a l discourse, and learning through c o l l e c t i v e p r a c t i c e . " 4 2 25 The key to uncovering the role of ideology i n education, Ellsworth says, i s to examine the materials and how they are used. 4 3 In order to deconstruct the structure, i t i s imperative to understand the form, and how i t was constructed. Therefore, i n terms of documentary film, media education i s c r u c i a l i f we are to learn how films are made, produced, funded, and used, and i f we are to begin to pose the question "Whose knowledge, for whose b e n e f i t . " 4 4 D. National Film Board In a recent interview with the Education Liai s o n O f f i c e r of the National Film Board, P a c i f i c Region, Jan Clemson, we spoke of the role of education i n the NFB, media education, current changes the NFB i s undergoing, and Native representation and filmmaking i n the NFB. Clemson has been with the Board for t h i r t y - f i v e years, and, throughout the course of my research, has been an invaluable person. As l i a i s o n between educational f a c i l i t i e s and the NFB, Clemson's p o s i t i o n has involved the promotion and development of c u r r i c u l a r use of films, from elementary to post-secondary l e v e l s . Responding to teachers' enquiries and needs, he has helped develop t h e i r ideas for films as well as guides to accompany the films. This work has been a central facet of the National Film Board mandate: 26 Education has always been, and s t i l l i s , our single most important audience for our materials. That i s without any doubt. ... Whether that's provided through t e l e v i s i o n or classroom f i l m or videos and so f o r t h . 4 5 Thus the production and d i s t r i b u t i o n arms of the i n s t i t u t i o n have been intimately linked, with an active dialogue e x i s t i n g between them. Media education has also played an important role i n the Board's educational a c t i v i t i e s . During the 1960's and 1970's, when f i l m began to be considered an important c u r r i c u l a r addition, much funding was available for workshops on how to best implement th i s new resource. Clemson regularly gives presentations to educators on how to use f i l m i n the classroom, the nature of film, and the filmmaking process. Recently a guide - Constructing Reality; Exploring Media Issues in Documentary - was produced by the NFB addressing the c r i t i c a l analysis of documentary f i l m . However, a l l of these educational programs are now either dead or dying, says Clemson. The l i n k , which has for over f i f t y years been i n t e g r a l to the Board and a l l i t has represented, i s now being severed: The educational forum program has been discontinued. The educational i n i t i a t i v e s which we have been developing over the years are, as far as 27 we can t e l l , dead, and there's no int e r e s t i n senior management shown at th i s p a r t i c u l a r time, as of November, 1995, to even address these issues as important, and f i e l d positions across the country are being abolished, and they w i l l be concentrating on sales only. . . ., There i s no recognition of the important l i n k between the f i l m board and i t s educational audience. My suspicion i n two or three years i t ' l l f i n d out the dreadful error and i t ' l l run around tryi n g to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and t h e r e ' l l be nobody there. I think that's a tragedy because what we've had now ... for f i f t y years now we've had important l i n k s to educators. 4 6 With the loss of a l l video lending l i b r a r i e s (August 1995) but three across Canada, as well as the demise of the Regional Educational Liaison O f f i c e r s , i t appears to be clear that the educational mandate of the NFB has indeed changed r a d i c a l l y . In terms of Native representation and involvement i n filmmaking at the NFB, Clemson has witnessed dramatic changes i n the course of his career. From the early days of patronizing White depictions of Indians as "anthropological c u r i o s i t i e s " to the empowering t r e a t i s e s of a growing c u l t u r a l renaissance and autonomy which the more recent films emphasize, Clemson feels much change has occurred. Again, a lack of funding i s hindering the development of Studio 1, the Native Studio within the NFB, as well as the repackaging of some of the archival films, which Clemson 28 considers to be of educational value, revealing as they do how far the NFB has come. Sadly, the interview cast a shadow upon the i n s t i t u t i o n which I and so many people around the world have come to respect and depend upon for v i s i o n and information. Seemingly unable to survive the harsh economic environment of i t s nation, the NFB i s being dismembered to an alarming extent. Having had for over half a century "considerable freedom to challenge the status quo ... [and be] i n the fortunate p o s i t i o n of being able to foster c r e a t i v i t y , Canadian content, and s o c i a l values over making a p r o f i t , " 4 7 the NFB i s no longer being given such p r i v i l e g e s . There i s no doubt that documentary f i l m i n t h i s country i s going to suffer t h i s loss i n great measure. The four areas of my research combine to provide a base for the study .and analysis of the subject - the documentary films themselves. Disparate, yet related under the topic of my thesis, l i t e r a t u r e on Native imagery, documentary film, media education, and the NFB has provided the t h e o r e t i c a l underpinnings for my investigation. 29 I I I METHODOLOGY In the i n i t i a l stages of designing t h i s study, I decided that I wanted to look at the e a r l i e s t f i l m s made by the NFB addressing the subject of Native c u l t u r e , as these were l i k e l y the ones which had impressed me as a c h i l d , and then compare them wi t h recent f i l m s . Looking through the NFB catalogue, r e c o r d i n g a l l the t i t l e s of f i l m s which were p e r t i n e n t , I then took note of the t i t l e s which a t t r a c t e d my a t t e n t i o n because of the i m p l i c i t statement about Native c u l t u r e being made w i t h i n the t i t l e . My reason f o r doing t h i s was rooted i n the f a c t that p o t e n t i a l viewers might a l s o be so a t t r a c t e d to t i t l e s i n i t i a l l y , when no synopsis was a v a i l a b l e . I then ordered these o l d f i l m s from the NFB archives i n Montreal, and viewed them, r e c o r d i n g my r e a c t i o n on f i r s t and second viewings. I chose the e a r l y f i l m s - from the few produced on t h i s subject w i t h i n the f i r s t two decades of the NFB - a c t u a l l y used i n t h i s study on the b a s i s of the f o l l o w i n g c r i t e r i a . They had to address Native c u l t u r e i n a broad sense, as opposed to a p a r t i c u l a r i z e d focus such as hunting, c a r v i n g , or moccasin-making, f o r example. I wanted to look at how these peoples had been seen and represented i n terms of t h e i r thought, t h e i r b e l i e f , t h e i r customs, t h e i r a r t -t h e i r c u l t u r e - and how i t was shown to i n t e r f a c e w i t h that of the dominant s o c i e t y . I a l s o wanted to choose f i l m s that d i s p l a y e d some v a r i e t y i n terms of a r t i s t i c technique, 30 narrative structure, and intent. Out of the hal f dozen from t h i s period that I i n i t i a l l y viewed, three struck me as meeting a l l the above c r i t e r i a . As for the more recent films, - from the past decade -I chose pr i m a r i l y on the basis of content again. I r e a l i z e d that documentary films made today by the NFB, while speaking to the larger issues of subjugation of Native peoples within a White system and to the growing movement toward a Native autonomy, do t h i s through addressing p a r t i c u l a r issues of a p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l nature. I therefore wanted to examine a v a r i e t y "of key issues - such as voice, attitude toward, and representation of Native culture - as well as d i f f e r e n t a r t i s t i c techniques and d i r e c t o r i a l s t y l e s . My i n t e r e s t a l l along has been to explore how the NFB v i s i o n of Native peoples has changed from the early days to the present. At one point I thought I would examine a se l e c t i o n of films from each decade from the 1940's to the 1990's, and document the ways i n which the depiction changed h i s t o r i c a l l y . I think t h i s would be a fascinating study, but decided that i t was simply too large an undertaking for my purposes at t h i s time. Instead I opted to consider the early and most recent periods as 'bookends' of the NFB, s e t t l i n g upon a more comparative approach. After a l l the films were selected, I watched them repeatedly. Both without stopping the films (for continuity) and stopping them approximately every t h i r t y seconds, I watched the films and took extensive notes on anything that 31 seemed important or i n t e r e s t i n g for any reason. I viewed each f i l m at least three times s p e c i f i c a l l y focusing upon 1)Language, 2)Visuals, and 3)Miscellaneous ideas, and then repeatedly throughout my research to keep them fresh i n my mind. After the viewing/notetaking I wrote up my impressions, emphasizing the most s a l i e n t and memorable points that each of the films had communicated to me. At t h i s point, no comparison or contrast between the films was attempted, as the purpose was purely to record the impact each of the films had made upon me. As I watched the films several questions were i n my mind. Although I did not d i r e c t l y apply each of these to the films, answering them one by one as I watched, I kept them present as an underlying guide, bringing them into more prominence as I wrote up my impressions. (The questions appear i n Appendix A.) After viewing the films and recording the data, the next step was to thematically analyse the data taken from the films, looking for connections; where did the films contrast, where did they share commonality? Using the t h e o r e t i c a l framework gleaned from the l i t e r a t u r e review of documentary theory, I examined how technical aspects and intentions compared, as well as what ef f e c t s the d i f f e r e n t a r t i s t i c decisions had upon me, seen i n comparison with contrasting decisions. 32 I then v i s i t e d the National Film Board o f f i c e i n Vancouver to gain information regarding the biographical d e t a i l s of the directors of each of the studied films. In the same vein, I also interviewed the Educational L i a i s o n Director (Jan Clemson) to gain information about how documentary-films are used educationally i n a broad sense, and how the p a r t i c u l a r films i n t h i s study have been used i n B.C. schools. I wanted his impressions of the degree to which documentary films are being c r i t i c a l l y analysed and discussed by teachers and students, and how t h i s has changed over time. 33 IV FILMS The following discussion of the six documentary films of my study form the core of t h i s thesis. It i s a record of my impressions of what was s t r i k i n g and what I deemed to be s i g n i f i c a n t about each f i l m . The films are as follows: People of the Potlatch, Peoples of the Skeena, No Longer Vanishing, Saltwater People, The Washing of Tears, and The Learning Path. P e o p l e o f t h e P o t l a t c h (1944, 21 minutes) This f i l m i s one of the e a r l i e s t National Film Board films to address Native l i f e and culture. Concerned with peoples of the B r i t i s h Columbia coast, i t o f f e r s picturesque snapshots of various aspects of the Indians' l i f e s t y l e . Touching on f i s h i n g and logging practices, clamming, r e l i g i o n , trading, c r a f t s , schooling, and sports day celebrations, People of the Potlatch serves to introduce the viewer to an i d y l l i c existence of a happy people. Emphasis i s placed on both the richness of the land and resources to which these people have access, and upon the successful ass i m i l a t i o n that had occurred within t h e i r mindset and ways of l i f e . The f i l m attempts a p o r t r a i t of a comfortable t r a n s i t i o n from t r a d i t i o n a l practices to White customs. V i s u a l l y , People of the Potlatch i s quite remarkable. Throughout, the shots are r i c h and varied. In several instances, the cinematography i s unusually s e n s i t i v e to the 34 subjects portrayed, showing an intimate and a r t i s t i c representation of Native people that i s rare for t h i s period. When presented with footage that bespeaks a closer-than-average rapport and relationship between the camera-person and participants, i t i s d i f f i c u l t not to make the assumption that respect for t h i s culture on the part of filmmakers has played a ro l e . Certainly the e f f e c t of such be a u t i f u l filming i s that the respect i s transferred, and the viewer sees a much more in t e r e s t i n g picture of these peoples than i s often the case. In the sequence wherein salmon i s being prepared for preserving, the above respect i s well evidenced. As the woman cleans and cuts open the salmon, and then hangs i t on a drying rack, we are shown the f i s h i n close-up i n each instance. The wet f l e s h of the fishes as they hang i n a li n e , g l i n t i n g and deep pink, i s both sensual and holy. One can almost f e e l and smell the wet f l e s h of the salmon as the woman splays each one out to dry. Against the sun, the r i c h colour i s illuminated l i k e stained glass windows, something very s p e c i a l indeed, held up to the.camera for show. This sense of the glory and preciousness, and the r i t u a l i s t i c treatment of the object i s further shown by the canning sequence. The hands of the woman cutting the f i s h into pieces so that i t w i l l f i t into the gleaming s i l v e r cans are photographed i n close-up. As she packs the f l e s h into each one l o v i n g l y with her thumbs pushing down, so as to get as much as possible inside, and then seals the cans, and puts 35 them into the canner, we are very close as viewers. As the sequence closes, a c h i l d i s shown i n close-up also, watching and learning from the woman. It i s as i f the camera has been doing the same thing. A s i m i l a r reverence for razor clams i s shown i n a sequence shot on a long sandy beach i n the Queen Charlotte Islands. Aft e r an establishing shot of the beach and people digging i n the sand, the camera zooms i n on two clams on top of the sand, and again 'watches' them as they move, undulating, l i k e a pa i r of dancers. Strangely t h e i r movement i s i n time with the rhythm of the t r a d i t i o n a l drumming and singing i n the background. The o v e r a l l e f f e c t of t h i s unusually a r t i s t i c close-up i s the elevation of these food items being harvested to the status of precious beings, almost being worshipped before they are captured. The section of the f i l m addressing the t r a d i t i o n a l arts and c r a f t s i s again sensitive i n i t s portrayal. In shots of a woman making a bi r c h bark basket, two g i r l s braiding cedar bark, another woman beading moccasins, another weaving a cedar basket, and a man making s i l v e r jewelry and an a r g y l l i t e carving, we are shown intimate close-ups of t h e i r hands, t h e i r work, and th e i r faces. Again children are watching, and there i s a sense of the camera, and thus the viewer being i n close connection to the subjects and the i n t r i c a c i e s of th e i r work. The other sequence which overtly pays v i s u a l t r i b u t e to i t s subject i s that of a chief dancing. Dressed i n f u l l 36 r e g a l i a , he i s shot primarily from below, giving him a very large and eminent presence. The shot i s held on the Chief for some time, with much of the focus upon his face as he smiles and sings. L i n g u i s t i c a l l y , People of the Potlatch i s less innovative and much more conformist than i t i s v i s u a l l y . Generally the tone of the voice-over i s authoritative, condescending, and propagandistic. The words are l a r g e l y said i n the past tense, in d i c a t i n g a sense of the old Indian ways being outdated and gone, i n favour of those of the 'new, improved Indian,' who has become assimilated to White man's world, and i s adjusting b e a u t i f u l l y . As the f i l m begins the f i r s t shot with people i n i t i s of f i s h e r s , using big wooden basket-like traps. We are t o l d : In former days the Indians were allowed to trap the salmon as they rushed up the r i v e r to spawn. Basket traps l i k e these are no longer permitted l e s t the salmon become too scarce, and the Indians lose one of the chief sources of food. Aside from a complete lack of discussion of the t r a d i t i o n a l f i s h i n g methods, how they were developed and made, t h i s passage i s i n t e r e s t i n g for other omissions as well. Making no mention of the White man's involvement i n the process of the decreasing salmon population, wherein high-tech methods of f i s h i n g at the months of r i v e r s were used to catch great numbers of f i s h , the blame for such mismanagement i s placed 37 with the Indians. H i s t o r i c a l rights of the Indians, and t h e i r ways of surviving and int e r a c t i n g with nature, for thousands of years, without interrupting the natural balance or depleting the resources are also conspicuously absent. D i r e c t l y following the' f i s h i n g passage a s i m i l a r dismissal through abnegation i s made i n regard to the potlatch: An old custom of holding a winter feast c a l l e d a potlatch was a d i s t i n c t i v e feature of Northwest Indian culture. The potlatch was more than a feast, i t was a great gathering when sons and daughters were married off, new chiefs were chosen, and every sort of economic, s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l business was ca r r i e d o f f . Interestingly, no mention i s made regarding the fact that t h i s practice has also been outlawed by the White man; instead i t s passing i s presented as something that simply happened, of the Indians' own accord. While t h i s i s being spoken, we see a shot of a woman hauling i n an o l d - s t y l e f i s h trap, which has also been outlawed. The two 'customs of the past' are thus linked by the film-makers. The message i s , apparently, that neither t r a d i t i o n a l f i s h i n g nor the potlatch were good for the Indians, so the White man has 'helped' them by taking them away from them, thus c i v i l i z i n g and 'saving' them. By completely neglecting the r e a l economic and p o l i t i c a l issues involved i n the o b l i t e r a t i o n 38 of such i n t e g r a l ways of these peoples, the narration of People of the Potlatch vastly misrepresents the s i t u a t i o n 4 8 . As well as discounting the disappearance of t r a d i t i o n , the narrative of People of the Potlatch t e l l s us that the old ways, although quaint, were i n f e r i o r to the modern means: The f i s h are hung i n the sun to dry before they go into the smokehouse for preservation and flavouring. In the past many an Indian family suffered from hunger during the long cold months. But modern canning methods now assure them of f i s h when winter comes. and For good f i s h i n g the fisherman must have good nets, and many kinds of nets. In former days, the coast Indians made th e i r nets from nettle, the inland fishermen used hemp. Today the traders' stock, not the resources of the country determines the material. In both cases, old practices are only b r i e f l y mentioned, and then degraded i n comparison to White techniques. By widely generalizing, and s u p e r f i c i a l l y touching on the huge changes ins t i g a t e d by contact with Whites, these passages imply instead that the new nets and canning equipment have dramatically improved the Indians' l i v e s . Nothing i s said, however, about the fact that by needing such things they 39 have a l s o n e c e s s a r i l y become a part of the monetary system of the dominant s o c i e t y . Further i n t h i s v e i n , o l d p r a c t i c e s are more c r i t i c a l l y d erided s t i l l , and i n areas more c u l t u r a l l y and s p i r i t u a l l y profound, such as ways of l e a r n i n g and h e a l i n g : The Indian c h i l d r e n go to the Canadian government schools. Many of them are somewhat nomadic, t r a v e l i n g w i t h t h e i r f a m i l i e s from cannery to f o r e s t camp, f i s h i n g and t r a p p i n g w i t h the seasons. For the months when f a m i l i e s remain i n the v i l l a g e , the c h i l d r e n get the b e n e f i t of l e a r n i n g to work and to p l a y together. and Contact w i t h the White man has given the Indians many of the White man's ways. C h i l d r e n enjoy London Bridge i n the land of the p o t l a t c h as w e l l as they do on c i t y s t r e e t s . As these comments are made, c h i l d r e n are p i c t u r e d doing m i l i t a r y - l i k e e x e r c i s e s i n l i n e s , and then p l a y i n g London Bridge outside a school. The c o n t r a s t between western s c h o o l i n g and what had been the t r a d i t i o n a l teachings from parents and grandparents about the n a t u r a l world and how to l i v e i n harmony w i t h i t i n these sequences i s mind-boggling. To suggest that they had no knowledge of 'working and p l a y i n g together' before being i n c u l c a t e d w i t h conformist d r i l l s and f o r e i g n games comes across as e t h n o c e n t r i c and b e l i t t l i n g . Even a c h i e f i s t r e a t e d w i t h t h i s p a t r o n i z i n g a t t i t u d e : 40 In former days, the Indian worshipped h i s gods through h i s songs and dances. Now, he dances only to r e c a l l the o l d times, when by s i n g i n g and dancing he could d r i v e away sickness and famine, and b r i n g food, h e a l t h , and p r o s p e r i t y to the people. The ceremonial c h i e f ' s dance has great d i g n i t y . Bear claws ornament the dancer's k i l t , and h i s r a t t l e s add to the accompaniment of the drummer. Dancing i n the shadow of Rochet de B u l l , the b e a u t i f u l o l d mountain of the r o l l i n g rocks, t h i s t i r e d o l d c h i e f r e c a l l s the days when f e a s t i n g and medicine making f i l l e d an important place i n Indian l i f e . Suggesting that the s p i r i t u a l i t y of these people i s dead, w i t h words such as 'former,' ' r e c a l l , ' 'shadow,' ' t i r e d , ' and ' o l d , ' as w e l l as the past tense i n which t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n i s spoken, reveals an i n t e r e s t i n g c o n t r a d i c t i o n ; as i s evidenced by t h i s man's face and gestures, h i s power and the power of the c e n t u r i e s - o l d f a i t h which moves him i s very much a l i v e and w e l l . Throughout the n a r r a t i v e the message e x i s t s that Indians are a s s i m i l a t i n g to White l i f e amicably and smoothly. As the above examples v a r i o u s l y i l l u s t r a t e , the dominant c u l t u r e i s c l e a r l y being portrayed as s u p e r i o r to that of the Indian, and thus the e x t i n g u i s h i n g of indigenous ways i s presented as being f o r the good of a l l . Although 'adjustment' and ' t r a n s i t i o n ' (from the l i f e of the savage to t hat of c i v i l i z e d being) i s s t r e s s e d , a more s u b t l e , yet e q u a l l y , i f not more important aspect of the statement i s 41 that, however much the Indian i s improved by colonization, she/he w i l l always remain an Indian. In one passage about the f i s h canneries t h i s i s made clear i n the f i n a l sentence: For the summer months, these Indians of the upper Skeena River abandon t h e i r home v i l l a g e s and go down to l i v e near the sea coast i n cabins which are furnished for them by the big canneries. With the Indians' rapid adjustment to new conditions, many of the old tr a d i t i o n s have disappeared. Modern industry and commerce have accelerated Native l i f e . The west coast Indian, however, i s s t i l l p r i m a rily a hunter and fisherman. Loaded with hidden meaning, th i s passage both intimates that Whites are helping to bring the Indians into the twentieth century, while simultaneously ensuring the audience that the Indian w i l l never be included i n the power structure i n any s i g n i f i c a n t way. There i s also an appeal to assuage any gui l t - r i d d e n viewers that, ultimately, Whites haven't r e a l l y destroyed the l i f e s t y l e s of these peoples, for they are s t i l l doing what they've always done. The f i n a l few sentences of People of the Potlatch encapsulate t h i s stereotype of the carefree primitive l i v i n g unfettered of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n paradise: The Indian takes l i f e as he finds i t . His forests provide unequaled timber. His streams are f u l l of f i s h . When the f i s h run, he fishes. When the sandy beaches are p i t t e d with razor-back clams, he digs for them. His l i f e gives 42 him pleasure for the art of l i v i n g i n th i s b e a u t i f u l , mist-laden land. Having no need for i n t e l l i g e n c e or agency, t h i s t e l l s us, the Indian passively accepts what comes, and adapts. P e o p l e s o f t h e Skeena (1949, 15 minutes) This f i l m i s si m i l a r to The People of the Potlatch i n tone, yet has none of the tension inherent i n the l a t t e r f i l m . Lacking i n v i s u a l i n t e r e s t and consequent sense of intimacy, t h i s portrayal has a very distant, v o y e u r i s t i c q u a l i t y to i t . As i f we are viewing a specimen under glass, or reading about a far-away culture, there i s l i t t l e v i t a l i t y emanating from i t , and the f i l m thus has a rather nebulous impact. We are shown shots of the land - mountains and r i v e r -interspersed with pans of the townscape. People figure i n t e r m i t t e n t l y i n short sequences - children playing, a wedding scene, various c r a f t s people working, loggers cutting trees, fishers catching f i s h , rodeo part i c i p a n t s -but somehow no connection i s made with them; i t i s as though one i s passing though a town without stopping, or observing mannequins i n a museum exhibit. This f e e l i n g i s heightened by a tendency on the part of the narrator to make broad, sweeping statements about Native t r a d i t i o n s and Native co-existence with Whites; neither the v i s u a l nor the l i n g u i s t i c components of Peoples of the Skeena generate a very 43 i n t e r e s t i n g p i c t u r e . A f e e l i n g of d u t i f u l reportage by the filmmakers, and d u t i f u l p a r t i c i p a t i o n on the p a r t of the subjects i s p e r v a s i v e . Nearly seventy percent of the shots i n t h i s f i l m do not c o n t a i n people. Roughly f i f t y percent of the footage i s s o l e l y of the landscape, w i t h lengthy shots of the r i v e r , mountains, v a l l e y , and the v i l l a g e , and i t i s indeed b e a u t i f u l footage; i t would be d i f f i c u l t to p o r t r a y such s p e c t a c u l a r scenery i n a bad l i g h t . One almost expects the n a r r a t o r to be d e s c r i b i n g places of i n t e r e s t , h i g h l i g h t i n g n a t u r a l and h i s t o r i c a l s i g h t s f o r a p o t e n t i a l t o u r i s t viewing a travelogue f i l m . However, as the t i t l e i n d i c a t e s that the subject of the f i l m i s to i n f a c t be the Peoples of the Skeena, the l a c k of r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i s a curious statement. On a n a l y s i n g the shots that do c o n t a i n people, the impression of d i s t a n c e from the subject becomes yet more pronounced. Throughout the f i l m , the shots of people are c o n s i s t e n t l y u n i n t e r e s t i n g , both t e c h n i c a l l y and content-wise. There i s no sense of connection whatsoever w i t h almost a l l of the p a r t i c i p a n t s of the f i l m - i t i s as i f the camera person were a voyeur, catching random shots q u i c k l y and u n t h i n k i n g l y , or that the people are merely enacting the d i r e c t o r ' s v i s i o n of t h e i r l i f e . Very l i t t l e eye contact i s made i n Peoples of the Skeena, almost no close-ups occur, and a constant distance i s maintained throughout, of a medium to long-shot range of shooting. 44 From a g i r l walking past the camera, to a boy walking down a h i l l to the r i v e r w i t h p a i l s on h i s shoulders, to a slow-motion sequence of c h i l d r e n p l a y i n g i n the school yard, there i s a strange sense of vacancy and removedness. Even i n the next 'people shot' of a wedding p a r t y walking through a snowy s t r e e t i n t o a church, one does not f e e l e i t h e r any closeness to these people, or respect f o r the occasion. As though they are actors i n a play-wedding, the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the p r o c e s s i o n pass by the camera which shoots them from the s i d e . Although t h i s i s a very s p e c i a l event, there i s no sense of solemnity, or power i n i t s p r e s e n t a t i o n . Two c r a f t s people are shown i n the act of t h e i r work -one, a woman basket-maker, and then a man making snowshoes. These are the only shots i n Peoples of the Skeena that r e v e a l any intimacy between the camera and the s u b j e c t . Both t h e i r faces and t h e i r hands are shown i n c l o s e up, which causes the viewer to r e a l l y see them, and take n o t i c e of t h e i r artwork. In the remainder of the f i l m , men are shown i n log g i n g , f i s h i n g , and rodeo p u r s u i t s . Again c o n s i s t e n t l y shot i n medium-long range, there i s very l i t t l e t hat i s engaging. The two close-ups i n t h i s s e c t i o n of the f i l m are of a man using a machine i n the p r e p a r a t i o n of logs, and of nets f u l l of o o l i c h a n being p u l l e d i n t o a boat. In both cases, i t i s c l e a r l y the action and not the person that i s being focused upon. 45 L i n g u i s t i c a l l y , Peoples of the Skeena i s very p a t e r n a l i s t i c . The authoritative voice of the narrator i s i n keeping with the camera i n i t s distant, dismissive g e n e r a l i t i e s . The consequent tone i s one of seeing and judging from a safe distance, not having gotten one's hands d i r t y , but not having come to know very much either. A f t e r a b r i e f introduction regarding the River Skeena, the narrator t e l l s us that l i f e i n t h i s paradisal region i s not as simple as i t may seem: The Indian must understand the White man's world and l i v e i n i t . Let alone i t ' s being an imperative sentence, commanding the Indian to assimilate to the dominant culture, there i s also an element of condescension, as though the speaker thinks t h i s prospect i s possibly too challenging. This e f f e c t i s achieved subtly, by way of making a very general statement that i s not necessary to make; the sentence makes clear that the power l i e s with the Whites and always w i l l , whether the Indian struggles to "understand" or not. Further passages gloatingly comment on how well the a s s i m i l a t i v e 'understanding' process i s going. Bespeaking both amazement as well as r e l i e f that these people are no longer complete savages, the narrator notes that Indian children "dress and t a l k and play l i k e any other Canadian children." Accompanying the wedding sequence, we learn that Native t r a d i t i o n s are a l l but dead and gone: "In the towns, 46 y o u ' l l see Indian r i t u a l replaced by White customs. White costumes, white r i c e and a l l . " The tone i s c e l e b r a t o r y , as though the goal i s d e f t l y being achieved, and the camera has j u s t happened to record i t ' . Whether or not t h i s wedding was indeed a c t u a l , or i f the p a r t y was composed of a c t o r s , i s impossible to know. I t most c e r t a i n l y was a f a c t that a s s i m i l a t i o n had taken hold to a l a r g e extent by the time t h i s f i l m was made. What i s c r u c i a l to t h i s study, however, i s the f a c t that White customs are represented and the Indian r i t u a l i s omitted. The impact of the above statement i s enormous i n the absence of adequate coverage of t r a d i t i o n a l l i f e ; one has the d i s t i n c t impression that these people are t u r n i n g White before our eyes. As i f to assuage g u i l t , c e r t a i n other passages speak of the o l d ways of the Indian i n a romantic f a s h i o n : Out from the towns are the Indian lands. Here they hunt the f o r e s t s , and cut t h e i r timber, and f i s h t h e i r r i v e r s . Some Indians have l e f t the reserve and taken to ranching. But most of them still make t h e i r l i v i n g . f r o m the unbroken land; i t s animals and i t s t r e e s , or from the s w i f t r i v e r s and the c o a s t a l waters, the salmon, the t r o u t , and the o o l i c h a n . and On the r e s e r v a t i o n s y o u ' l l see the ancient a r t s are still a l i v e . The basket makers still weave t h e i r cedar s t r i p s i n a great range of o l d designs. Baskets to h o l d the berry crop next summer. And the hunters and trappers still make t h e i r own snowshoes wi t h the s k i l l s they 47 learned as boys. Shaping the wooden frame, and threading the rawhide i n the ancient way. They couldn't walk a mile i n the forest i n winter without them.(my emphasis on ' s t i l l ' ) Painted into a picture of primitive ignorant b l i s s , making tools to reap the bounties that nature has to o f f e r , the unassimilated Indian i s thus depicted as the noble savage, i d e a l i z e d and exoticized. Concomitantly i n awe and condescension, the voice cannot help but use ' s t i l l ' four times. Unbelieving that these t r a d i t i o n s continue to exist, the narrator devalues the richness and complexity of these arts, degrading them to the l e v e l of c r a f t s which service the "ancient" ways of surviving. This 'museumizing' of Native t r a d i t i o n s indeed grants them some tri b u t e , yet ultimately b e l i t t l e s them as being r e l i c s of a less c i v i l i z e d people, quaintly ' s t i l l ' used to serve t h e i r quaint ways. No Longer V a n i s h i n g (1955, 28 minutes) No Longer Vanishing, as the t i t l e suggests, i s a f i l m which shows the viewer that the Indian has been saved from extincti o n and i s a l i v e and well. Produced for the Indian A f f a i r s Branch of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, i t i s highly orchestrated and b l a t a n t l y propagandistic. Structured as a series of vignettes, we are shown three 'successful,' or 'good,' Indians, followed by six short snapshots of occupations i n which Indians are 48 'making good.' No Longer Vanishing i s much more l i k e a sc r i p t e d feature f i l m than the other documentaries i n t h i s study. Achieved through more than editing, t h i s e f f e c t i s the r e s u l t of both v i s u a l and l i n g u i s t i c p r e s c r i p t i o n . Presented as a document of the degree to which the government was succeeding i n assimilating Native peoples, i t i s an i n t e r e s t i n g example of what was considered acceptable representation of the facts . Viewed by today's standards as a docudrama49 , the f i l m sheds valuable l i g h t on both the s o c i a l p o l i c y of the Indian A f f a i r s Department and Canadian s e n s i b i l i t y regarding Indians i n the 1950's. Thus, much more so than i n the other early films, No Longer Vanishing reveals the mindset of the dominant culture and i t s rel a t i o n s h i p to the Indians, and has very l i t t l e to do with the Indians themselves. Before the 'stories' unfold, No Longer Vanishing opens very dramatically. Even as the movie t i t l e appears, a strong message i s executed by a graphic of an Indian's head, i n a feather headdress which slowly changes to a hard-hat. The assi m i l a t i v e agenda i s unquestionably set. Following t h i s , a vast open p l a i n , shot from above, f i l l s the screen. Just as the viewer i s l u l l e d into the beauty of t h i s place, the shot changes to a wire fence i n close up. The voice-over t e l l s us i t i s "An ordinary fence, designed to protect, but over the years a symbol of d i v i s i o n and i s o l a t i o n . For t h i s i s no 49 ordinary land, but an Indian reserve." From the fence, the camera magically takes us back i n time, into what looks remarkably l i k e an Edward Curtis photograph e n t i t l e d The Vanishing Race (from 1904, of the Navajo t r i b e ) , of several buckskin-clad, braided Indians on horseback. The slow pan across the plains shows them r i d i n g f i r s t toward the camera, then into a camp (replete with teepees and a peace-pipe c i r c l e ) , which we have seen i n a hundred American Western movies. The stereotypes i n these b r i e f sequences are extremely i n t e r e s t i n g i n t h e i r overtones, and richness. Trading the 'hat' of the chief for that of the assimilated labourer, the cartoon t e l l s us that the generic Indian culture i s gone, and has been replaced with the role of 'builder' of a niche which w i l l be acceptable within the dominant culture. Almost f i l m - n o i r - l i k e i n i t s obliqueness and foreshadowing q u a l i t i e s , the shot of the fence alludes to borders and containment, both i n terms of the land which has been colonized and the di v i s i o n s between 'them' and 'us.' It i s a short shot, but loaded with symbolism, and thus very powerful i n i t s import. Although the images of the nomadic camp appear very c l i c h e d today, they were perhaps representative of 1950's popular conceptions of Indian l i f e . Regardless of the facts that indigenous people i n Canada had become westernized to a large degree by that time, and that very few s t i l l l i v e d i n teepees, t h i s romanticized notion persisted, and s t i l l p e r s i s t s . 50 The next sequence i s v i s u a l l y less conspicuous i n i t s intent, yet l i n g u i s t i c a l l y flagrant. The short scene i s comprised of a White man and three Indians i n western dress walking through a f i e l d with a horse-drawn plow. A f t e r the esta b l i s h i n g shot wherein we see them a l l , the camera closes i n on the White man's face, i s held there, then moves to pan across those of the Indians, f i n a l l y presenting a close-up of the plow cutting through the rough ground. Just before the sequence ends, the camera p u l l s back to reveal one of the Indians throwing a stone over the group and into the f i e l d . Although a cer t a i n amount of symbolism exists i n the idea of the White man teaching the Red how to become domesticated, to stay i n one place, to dominate the land and r e l i n q u i s h t h e i r ancient ways" of l i v i n g and being, the words that are said while t h i s scene i s enacted are even more potent: The reserves were meant to shelter the Indian while he learned the White man's ways. At least, that was the plan. The intentions were good, and the White man t r i e d to help. But good intentions aren't always enough. Something happened to the Indians. They came to f e e l at home only on the reserve, where many of them l o s t i n i t i a t i v e and independence. The r a c i a l q u a l i t i e s are s t i l l there, and now the White man knows that he must recognize the Indian's pride and confidence i n himself i f the mistakes of the past are to be set aright. With a deeper sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , the White man i s learning to regard the 51 Indian not as an outsider, but as a fellow Canadian, to be helped on new terms of human understanding. In the past, too many have looked upon the Indian as i n f e r i o r , but with the growing goodwill of other Canadians, the f u l l value of Indian arts and culture i s coming to be respected. Some Indians have done well on the reserves. They show what can be achieved. A beginning has been made. But a challenging task s t i l l l i e s ahead, i n an attack at the very roots of the trouble, which has grown such unhappy harvest. Here the philosophy of the f i l m i s l a i d bare. Although the "something" which happened to the Indians i s c l e a r l y to be avoided and unexplained, the statement intimates a sense of g u i l t , and a desire to "set the mistakes aright," at a l l costs. The passage i s a fascinating one i n that i t both seems to attempt a s u p e r f i c i a l treatment, to e f f e c t i v e l y sweep the deep s o c i o - c u l t u r a l issues under the carpet and focus instead upon the s u p e r f i c i a l aspects of these peoples, and to reveal an aggressive strategy of subjugation, to "attack at the very roots of the trouble." Interesting as well i s the conjunction of the speaking of the word "trouble" and the throwing of the stone. As though to emphasize the 'challenge' of the task to c i v i l i z e these savages, an act which could be seen as angry, v a n d a l i s t i c , and at the very least irresponsible and contrary to the plowing i s how the scene i s ended. Perhaps i t was an unintended, unplanned event, but perhaps i t was not. One has to indeed wonder at "the growing goodwill of other 52 Canadians" when an image which bespeaks an underlying tone of racism - the 'bad' Indian r e b e l l i n g against the 'help' being offered by the White man - exists i n such a c a r e f u l l y constructed f i l m . Following a short sequence showing a destitute family with no money and no hope, we are t o l d with a burst of happy music that "Outside the reserve some make good on the White man's terms." We are thusly introduced to the f i r s t of the vignettes, about Tom, a young man i n uniform returning home for the weekend from serving time i n the armed forces. As he has been away for some time, he i s reintroduced to his community, and taking note of the changes that have occurred i n his absence. The viewer i s thus shown the community through Tom's eyes. He i s warmly greeted at the t r a i n s tation by his mother and brother, and the pride they f e e l for him i s highlighted by a close-up of his ribbons. From there, his brother takes him to his place of employment, a construction s i t e where bricks are being made and then f i t t e d into a building. A close-up of the concrete being formed into a brick i s the central image i n t h i s sequence. Lots of busy workers f i l l the background, yet the s i t e seems inordinately clean and t i d y . Again, the scene i s more symbolically s i g n i f i c a n t than documentarily. It i s a scene of Indians at work, building anew, i n t e r e s t i n g l y fashioning t h e i r own blocks, and i t i s a Native-run operation. C l e a r l y the message, which was foreshadowed by the hard-hat image and recurs i n l a t e r sequences, i s that s o c i a l and c u l t u r a l reconstruction, i n a White format, i s the only answer for the Canadian Indian. Next, Tom attends a council meeting. The camera slowly pans across the men's faces i n close-up. A White man presides over the meeting, taking notes and conducting a vote. Tom t e l l s us that "My people were beginning to make th e i r own decisions now." But the picture t e l l s a very d i f f e r e n t story - the men appear as l i t t l e boys obeying a teacher i n c l a s s . Unlike most of the f i l m t h i s sequence i s unaccompanied by dramatic or rhapsodic music, and thus connotes a serious tone. This i s further developed by a very serious comment made to Tom by an elder. The subject of his monologue i s the inherent d i f f i c u l t y i n regaining autonomy on the reserve. He says: It i s n ' t easy to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y when you haven't had i t for so long. Like i n the army, you get r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , you get problems too. But you've got to learn by making your own mistakes. In t h i s scene, we see the Elder's face i n extreme close-up, then Tom's i n medium close-up, and then both of them i n medium long-shot. As he begins to speak, mellifluous music begins again. This i s the central point of the vignette, and i t i s g l a r i n g l y presented as such. The use of an elder - a respected figure i n Native society - to disseminate t h i s 54 p a t e r n a l i s t i c morality i s shockingly manipulative. E s s e n t i a l l y a statement of abdication of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y by the colonizer for the colonized (with an underlying message of admonition for perhaps not always learning fast enough from one's 'mistakes'), the passage speaks volumes. The issue of masking a White agenda i n a Native guise i s central to th i s film, and i s evidenced i n the 'Tom vignette' i n several ways. When we are i n i t i a l l y introduced to him, the voice-over t e l l s us that "he can speak for himself," at which point the narrative i s assumed by Tom. This statement i s problematic for a number of reasons. By mentioning something as obvious as the fact that someone can speak for themselves automatically makes the veracity of the statement questionable. Having an undeniable p a t e r n a l i s t i c q u a l i t y to i t , both i n terms of content and i n tone, i t sounds as though the authoritative voice i s allowing Tom to speak for himself, just t h i s once, or now that he i s suitably assimilated. I r o n i c a l l y , the voice that speaks for 'Tom' i s most d e f i n i t e l y not a Native voice, which i s corroborated by the fact that the credits t e l l us who the voices have been spoken by. Thus, c l e a r l y , Tom cannot t r u l y speak for himself, or more r i g h t l y , i s not being given the chance to. The tightly-constructed image of t h i s Indian (as well as the others i n the film) does not allow for the r e a l i t y of his voice. Perhaps his grammar would not be perfect, or words chosen might not be 'appropriate'. It c e r t a i n l y would not have been acceptable for a White 55 audience to l i s t e n to a Native voice i n the 1950's, because the majority of Canadians had never heard such a one, and i t would have been far too shocking an experience. The voice that poses for Tom's i s incongruously White, i n every way. Most noticeably inapt are the st r u c t u r a l nuances which b e l i e a B r i t i s h mind, replete with etiquette, p o l i t e s s e , and cla s s . The best example of thi s i s , when Tom's brother i s showing him around the construction s i t e where he works, Tom t e l l s us that "nothing would do, but he had to introduce me to his boss." Both l i n g u i s t i c a l l y and semantically t h i s formal s t y l e seems extremely removed from a Native way of speaking. The st r u c t u r a l style of expression often has as much or more impact upon the viewer than what i s being expressed. The way i n which the voice for Tom speaks t e l l s us subliminally that he i s just l i k e a White person. The next vignette i s about Theresa, a young nurse working at her f i r s t job i n a hos p i t a l . We see her i n close-up giving a patient an in j e c t i o n , then the patient i n close-up also, beaming at her nurse. She i s then met by a friend, George - "one of [her] own people" - with whom she goes out for a walk. He i s becoming a teacher. The message of t h i s vignette i s that education i s the saviour for the Indian. Although Theresa talks about the challenges she faced i n getting into nursing school, the majority of the ideas regarding education come from George, v i a Theresa. He t e l l s her that 30,000 Indians are going to school now, which i s twice as many as ten years previous, and that education i s 56 "the r e a l answer to the problems of our people." Interestingly, he wants to work i n a White school for the f i r s t two years, and then go on to an Indian school. George i s a symbol for government values being issued through the education system. George, through Theresa, presents a harmonious picture of Native education which has very l i t t l e basis i n r e a l i t y . To say that a horrendous s i t u a t i o n i s now good because i t i s better than i t once was i s a mistruth. He makes no mention of r e s i d e n t i a l schools, which at the time of the f i l m had been i n existence for seventy-five years (and would be entrenched i n the school system for another t h i r t y years), or discusses what she means by an Indian school. Without any attempt to explain that Indians only needed western education because t h e i r ways of l i f e and of learning had been obliterated, George's speech i s patently propagandistic and vacuous. The vignette closes with'the p a i r happening by two buffalo i n a pen. Theresa and George run up to the pen, and the camera presents a close-up of one of the buffalo's faces behind the wire. Theresa laughingly says that "George didn't have any s t a t i s t i c s about the buffalo, but said that they had stopped dying out and were on the increase again, l i k e our own people." The shot switches to a medium-long shot of Theresa and George smiling, then returns to the buffalo walking away. For such a b r i e f scene, the pathos which i t engenders i n t h i s writer i s astonishing. V i s u a l l y alone, the image of such a majestic beast i n c a p t i v i t y i s d i f f i c u l t to 57 look at, but the subtle concepts behind the dialogue and actions are even more astounding. Two Native people laughingly chatting about an animal that i s a profound symbol for the t r a d i t i o n s , culture, and s p i r i t of t h e i r peoples, while i t stands within a cage, i s a very powerful statement indeed. Are the pair of animals not a mirror image of the two assimilated Indians? That the p a r a l l e l i s made i n a p o s i t i v e sense i s more in t e r e s t i n g s t i l l . The next vignette i s extremely short, but says some important things too. E l l a works as a lab technician analysing blood. We see a young woman i n a lab dress putting blood samples into test tubes and shaking them. There i s no voice for E l l a , just the voice-over. We are t o l d : There's one thing E l l a knows - there's no difference between White blood and Indian blood. In the test tube i t reacts i n the same way to the same te s t . But she knows too that there's s t i l l a great deal of work to be done before the Indian health record comes up to that of other Canadians. Although i t s improving. For a time there was even a danger that the race might die out. But the tide has been turned. Since the beginning of the century, the Indian population has increased by more than h a l f . Just as the buffalo i s now being 'raised' by Whites, so the Indian population i s being managed, becoming bigger and improved d a i l y . Ostensibly addressing the poor health record of Indians, t h i s passage speaks more subtly about the power 58 r e l a t i o n s between Whites and Indians. Once again, the statement of an obvious fact such as "there's no difference between White blood and Indian blood" says more to cause one to question i t because of i t s being stated. Without commenting on the fact that poor health within a s o c i a l group i s often linked d i r e c t l y to poverty, by t h i s absence the passage insinuates a certa i n agency on the part of the Indian for his/her s i t u a t i o n . No mention i s made about the causes for the near extinction of Indians i n Canada, s o l e l y due to colonization. Instead, the tone i s purely that of praise for the custodians of thi s society for using science to 'turn the ti d e . ' The remainder of the f i l m presents seven vignettes of occupations i n which Indians are succeeding. In each short passage on farming, logging, f i s h i n g , academic professions, boat building, construction, and education, we are shown examples of men pursuing ways of l i f e outside of the reserve. The message i s clear. If one wants to succeed i n th i s l i f e , one must take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and leave one's culture behind. L i t t e r e d with stereotypes - "they are good at most outdoor jobs, c a l l i n g for physical endurance, and better than average reflexes," "inherent a b i l i t y and t r a d i t i o n make them s k i l l f u l at t h i s job (boat b u i l d i n g ) , " "they have a p a r t i c u l a r aptitude for working with sureness and confidence at great heights" - the focus i s on Indians being able and w i l l i n g to do labouring work i n the White 59 man's world, and the picture created i s that of achievement through assi m i l a t i o n . S a l t Water P e o p l e (1992, 122 minutes) Salt Water People treats the issue of Native f i s h i n g rights i n B r i t i s h Columbia i n a b l a t a n t l y biased fashion. More p o l i t i c a l l y intense than any of the l a t e r films i n t h i s study, Salt Water People t e l l s the story of the depletion and disappearance of seafood along the coast, and, from a Native perspective, what th i s has meant to the Kwakiutl people. Using a Native voice-over intermittently to summarize and explain factual d e t a i l s , the f i l m i s l a r g e l y comprised of various speakers bemoaning the changes i n f i s h and s h e l l f i s h stocks, due to over f i s h i n g and p o l l u t i o n . Time i s also given to government o f f i c i a l s - Department of Fisheries and Oceans o f f i c e r s speaking to a community meeting, as well as on board a Fisheries boat during the salmon-fishing season, and a salmon farm s c i e n t i s t - but the bulk of the f i l m most d e f i n i t e l y l i e s with the Natives. Speaking about the old ways of l i v i n g , subsisting from the land, and caretaking of the natural resources, as well as warning the viewer that t h i s present mismanagement w i l l have serious repercussions for humans, the Elders are 60 prominent interviewees i n Salt Water People. The f i l m moves slowly, and denotes a very serious tone. Salmon are the chief protagonists of t h i s f i l m . A multitude of images of t h i s coastal deity i s presented to us; we see many beau t i f u l shots (some i n slow-motion) of s i l v e r bodies swimming i n huge schools underwater, and thousands of f i s h hauled i n nets, both on commercial and small boats. They are shown being beheaded on assembly l i n e s i n canneries, spawning i n rushing r i v e r s , and i n ancient petroglyph paintings. We see the salmon i n d i f f e r e n t coloured schools on depth-sounder monitors, and i n graphics of Native art, i n p i l e s of dead bodies i n a r i v e r , and i n s i l v e r , wriggling p i l e s i n boats. We see them being raised i n square fish-farm pens, and being l o v i n g l y cut open, stretched on frames, and hung to dry. We see the salmon being c a r r i e d i n a chil d ' s arms, thrown into an old man's wheelbarrow, cooked i n a big pot, served at a feast, and eaten. A central message running through t h i s f i l m i s that Native people have s k i l l f u l l y managed t h e i r resources for thousands of years, through careful protection of t h e i r environment. The opening statement i s that of an Elder i n extreme close-up pointing out to the sea and saying "My farm i s out there." Clearly, his meaning i s that he has a re l a t i o n s h i p with the ocean and i t s animals that i s highly sophisticated, having been consciously developed over time. In d i r e c t attack upon the p r e v a i l i n g stereotype of the 61 Indian 'taking l i f e as he finds i t ' (as i s said i n People of the Potlatch), p r i m i t i v e l y hunting and gathering nature's bounty, with no sense of ' c i v i l i z e d ' husbandry, t h i s f i l m stands i n contrast to the message within People of the Potlatch. Spoken primarily by Elders - the respected teachers and holders of the wisdom i n Native society - are passages that challenge western epistemes. Intimating a s p i r i t u a l i t y that i s foreign to the White man, we are taught i n t h i s f i l m about the roots of Native ecology: 'Hah-houl-thi': a word i n Wakashan language meaning 'the t e r r i t o r y from the mountains to the sea, as far as the eye can see, how to .use a t e r r i t o r y , how to care for i t ' f o r those yet to come.' This term, we are told, expresses a West Coast concept, and i s central to the indigenous peoples' way of l i f e . Their way of caring for t h e i r environment i s so old and ingrained as to be an innate feature of t h e i r culture. They cannot mistreat t h e i r land or resources because they are one with them: For the F i r s t People, the salmon s p i r i t i s r e a l i t y . There i s a bond between them. They are what the salmon i s . This i n a b i l i t y to divorce themselves from the natural world i s what the speakers i n t h i s f i l m use to attempt to explain 62 t h e i r p o s i t i o n of anger at the White man's ex p l o i t a t i o n and greed. The anger i s meted out i n Salt Water People i n a judicious manner. Gradually, over the course of the f i l m we are t o l d a complex story, the many facets of which are unwound slowly and deliberately, culminating i n a powerful e f f e c t . While not shying away from voices of bitterness and tales of woe, the interweaving of these with l i v e l y s t o r i e s of old ways and times of plenty create a stronger message than one of mere gloom and doom. The emphasis upon the Elders' perspectives imbues the f i l m with a tone of undeniable wisdom. Thus the anger that i s present h i t s the viewer a l l the harder, for we are constantly shown how the f i s h stock once was, and how i t could be, alongside the disastrous r e a l i t y of what i t i s today. The story of the White man appropriating the salmon stocks i s t o l d early on i n the film, introduced by the voice-over, and then fleshed out with dates and facts by another voice. Both are women, and Native: The European s e t t l e r s made plans to exploit the great salmon runs. But f i r s t , the Indians had to be removed by laws and regulations, (new voice:) 1870: Land Ordinance p r o h i b i t i n g Indians from acquiring land for t h e i r own purposes. 1877: Fisheries Act p r o h i b i t i n g a l l net salmon f i s h i n g i n the fresh waters of B r i t i s h Columbia. 1888: Fisheries Regulation r e s t r i c t i n g Indians to f i s h only for food. 1894: Fisheries Regulation p r o h i b i t i n g Indians to f i s h without a license. 1920: 63 Signature of B i l l 13 enabling the reduction and cut-off of Indian reserve land. 1924: Indian Act r e s t r i c t i n g Indians from claiming t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l lands. 1927: Outlawing the p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y by Indians. 1960: The right to vote has been denied to Indians u n t i l t h i s date. This passage i s accompanied by archival footage of workers processing salmon i n cannery assembly l i n e s , sped up to twice natural speed. The ef f e c t of commercial rapacity i s heightened by the sense of man as a machine handling an inanimate product, i n an inhuman environment. Following t h i s sequence i s , i n d i r e c t contrast, a very o l d man i n extreme close-up speaking very slowly: A l l along, around the i s l a n d i s just l i k e that. When the White man come, they wipe out everything, they take over the island, and s e l l whatever they can s e l l . Nothing go to the Indians. The raw s i m p l i c i t y of his statement speaks volumes. The greed that drove the White man to take over the salmon, and irrevocably changed the Native relationship with the r i v e r s and the sea, i s unquestionable. The r e c i t a t i o n of laws and r e s t r i c t i o n s placed upon the Indian presented together with the v i s c e r a l memory of an old person combine to make a compelling assertion. This rawness continues with various excerpts of the f i l m which unabashedly address the ways i n which the fis h e r y 64 i n B r i t i s h Columbia has been mismanaged. In one passage, the voice-over introduces us to the theme of the Indian being blamed by the White man for the depletion of f i s h , with a summary of the t r a d i t i o n a l f i s h weir method. Arc h i v a l footage of the weir system i n use accompanies the narrative, and then the shot changes to a close-up of a middle-aged Native woman who explains why the weirs were subsequently outlawed and dismantled: Those f i s h weirs were broken up because the Fisheries O f f i c e r s thought that the weirs were stopping the salmon from going up to spawn. And, coincidentally, right about that time, the p r o v i n c i a l government had given a commercial seine license to one White man, and he had exclusive commercial f i s h i n g rights to the mouth of the Cowichan River. And the r e a l question that should have been asked at that time i s what caused the salmon to stop spawning i n the Cowichan River? Was i t the weirs, or was i t the over-fishing at the mouth? Cl e a r l y t h i s passage questions the authority of the government decision-making process regarding f i s h i n g r i g h t s . C a u s t i c a l l y using the word coincidentally, i n regard to the rights afforded the White fisherman, the speaker reveals her anger i n a more subtle tone than some others. Her question regarding the correct placement of blame i s b l a t a n t l y answered by t h e i r voices. In reference to the deleterious e f f e c t the logging practices have had upon B r i t i s h Columbia 65 r i v e r s and the l i f e within them, an Elder t e l l s us vehemently: Nobody cares no more. They're not lookin' after the r i v e r s no more. That's why i t ' s dying. As he speaks we are shown images of a r i v e r f u l l of logs, s t i c k s , and bark clogging i t s flow, reducing i t s mouth to a f r a c t i o n of i t s s i z e . He speaks of the way he used to take care of t h i s r i v e r , f a s t i d i o u s l y removing the debris. Shots of a massive clearcut and more waste are intercut with his face i n close-up. Everything's commercial now. It's destroyed the Indian way of l i v i n g . Completely. As other men survey a quagmire of bark chips, showing us the extent to which t h i s build-up of refuse has impinged upon the f i s h i n g area, one of them concludes that "Maybe i t s about time we got angry." Two Elders embellish t h i s sentiment with the angriest statements i n the f i l m : ... areas we once held have been ravished. They've been raped, dug up. We have nowhere to go. We are on the outside looking i n to what they are doing to our people. and And the Europeans are t e l l i n g me I am the cause of the shortage of the f i s h because I f i s h the r i v e r s . I've been doing that for 5,000 years, and there's 66 never been a shortage of f i s h i n that period of time. Where does he come i n to t e l l me that I am the problem? I'm not the problem. He's the problem. Other sequences i n Salt Water People address d i f f e r e n t facets of the White man's mismanagement of the fishery. The voice-over delivers facts about the degree to which the beaches along B r i t i s h Columbia's coast are contaminated with p o l l u t i o n from industry, and s h e l l f i s h which i s being over harvested by new immigrants. A f a i r l y lengthy portion of the f i l m depicts an immense multitude of commercial f i s h boats being commandeered by a Fisheries Boat. The scenario i s fraught with tension, as the boats manoeuvre amid a small bay awaiting word from the Fisheries O f f i c e r , releasing t h e i r nets (trying to avoid those of each other), and then hauling them i n upon his command. Well shot, and edited i n extremely short segments, the mood of chaotic furor and panic-stricken competition i s e f f e c t i v e l y presented. The Washing o f Tears (1994, 55 minutes) The Washing of Tears unabashedly concerns i t s e l f with a complex and emotionally d i f f i c u l t subject: the connection between homeland and psyche. In t e l l i n g very intimate, traumatic s t o r i e s , the speakers of t h i s f i l m a l l speak of the d i f f i c u l t i e s they have experienced as a r e s u l t of d i s l o c a t i o n , from t h e i r land and culture. 67 Through in-depth interviews with people from the Nuchalnuth community of Friendly Cove on the west coast of Vancouver Island, we are t o l d not only a t a l e of woe, however. The relocation of the people from t h e i r ancestral home due to White laws enforcing education on t h e i r children i s openly discussed, as well as the tragedy of t h e i r new v i l l a g e being overshadowed by the mammoth pulp and paper m i l l at Gold River. But, far from emphasizing the actions and e f f e c t s of colonization, t h i s f i l m discusses the d i r e c t i o n people are turning to now, to heal t h e i r pain and r e b u i l d t h e i r l i v e s . Using symbolic shots, no voice-overs, and extremely intimate sequences of speakers i n s i t u at and i n ceremonies, the f i l m presents a bold representation that i s uncannily imbued with a Native s e n s i b i l i t y and ambiance. The s e n s i t i v i t y of the content as well as the depth to which i t i s explored bespeak a trust and collaboration between f i l m -maker and p a r t i c i p a n t s . The central message of The Washing of Tears i s that a grave i n j u s t i c e was meted out to the Nuchalnuth people of Friendly Cove (as to a l l Native peoples of Canada), and that they are a c t i v e l y engaged i n recovering from the damage they incurred. Through intensely personal (in terms of both content and camera techniques) interview sequences, seven people recount s t o r i e s of pain and suffering, simply and d i r e c t l y to the camera. In each case a raw, completely unaffected, and genuine qua l i t y exists, which i s more than 68 compelling. As one watches these people, i n the privacy of th e i r homes, (in extreme close-up) unfold tales of poverty, alcoholism, abuse, and fear, the viewer becomes deeply involved; somehow one i s transported to t h e i r space, t h e i r home, t h e i r r e a l i t y . < A middle-aged man functions as somewhat of a spokesperson for his community. He i s whom we meet f i r s t . Unshirted, i n close-up, standing outside at Friendly Cove, he t e l l s us f i r s t about the whaling hi s t o r y of his people, and the sacred shrine that the whalers used to use as a s p i r i t u a l 'well.' His ancestors performed secret r i t u a l s and ceremonies i n th i s shrine to gather the inner strength they needed to perform the overwhelming feat of harpooning humpback whales. A v i t a l element of t h e i r c u l t u r a l , s p i r i t u a l , and hunting l i f e , t h i s shrine, c a l l e d by the Nuchalnuth "Che'esum," was sold to an anthropologist and taken to a museum i n New York City i n the 1920's. The speaker entreats the viewer to understand the si g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s action, and the imperative need for t h i s shrine to return and be re-established at Friendly Cove: Its gotta go back where i t belongs. It was a part of us ... It represented our 'Hah-houl-thi'. It represented a l o t of things. It represented our strength. That's what Che'esum meant to us, and I think that when that Che'esum was taken away from us i t was a rea l shocker for our people. It took away our s p i r i t u a l i t y . 69 While he i s speaking, we are 'taken i n ' to the shrine v i a a slow pan across an archival photograph of the Che'esum. As the camera zooms i n on a myriad of carved wooden human figures, they stare out at the viewer, hauntingly i n i t i a t i n g us with t h e i r gaze. The next interview i s with a middle-aged woman who t e l l s us she i s a whaler's daughter. Speaking d i r e c t l y into the camera, she t e l l s of the v i r t u a l evacuation of a l l her people from Friendly Cove i n the 1970's, and how t h i s made her f e e l : I f e l t r e a l l y sad about i t ... When my parents moved away, that was the hardest thing for me ... They just went away to die. She and her children were some of the only people to stay i n the v i l l a g e , a f t e r the Department of Indian A f f a i r s shut down the school by cutting o f f funding, thus forcing the people of Friendly Cove to relocate, or have t h e i r children taken away to r e s i d e n t i a l schools. As she s i t s i n her house, beside a window, the camera shoots out the window and into an archival photograph of the v i l l a g e , panning slowly along the cove, revealing a t h r i v i n g community of crowded houses and boats pulled up on the beach. Again, the camera draws the viewer i n to t h i s place, so mysteriously d i f f e r e n t i n f e e l i n g from the lonely words of the speaker. One i s struck 70 by the l i f e that used to infuse t h i s place, as opposed to the vacuum of today. A s i m i l a r mood prevails i n the next interview with an old man i n a rocking chair - the chief of the v i l l a g e . He s i t s i n his home i n the nearby reserve i n Gold River, and i s shot i n close-up. A chief should never break his roots ... I had to go, 'cause there was nothing there ... I don't seem to f e e l r ight that I'm here. But what can I do? I want to be home at Friendly Cove. I've been fe e l i n g l i k e t h i s for about twenty years now, since I moved here. I want to be home. He looks out his window to a dilapidated car f o r l o r n l y beside a carved figure of a man, l i s t i n g , and alone. Trucks speed n o i s i l y by to the nearby m i l l . It i s a depressing scenario, and again i n stark contrast to the place that was home. Two middle-aged women follow, each with s t o r i e s of great misery r e l a t i n g to al c o h o l i c husbands who v i o l e n t l y abused them, causing one to star t drinking herself, so she "wouldn't have to f e e l the punches," and the other to run away to another c i t y . The f i r s t woman l a t e r speaks of the healing she has done through becoming sober by reclaiming her Native s p i r i t u a l i t y . We•see her dressed i n f u l l button-blanket r e g a l i a , p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n a potlatch ceremony i n her honour. The f i r s t speaker - the 'spokesperson' - i s her new 71 husband, and speaks of the power of t h e i r culture, and the successful physical and emotional healing that i s occurring through p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the 'cultural r e v i v a l ' : Our culture has done a l o t more for our Mowachaht Nation than a l l the experts i n t h i s world. We can get the best experts i n t h i s world, and pay thousands of d o l l a r s for a workshop. Nothing comes close to our culture. The growing resurgence of Mowachaht pride i n t h e i r heritage, and the increasing p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n songs and celebrations can and i s helping to rebuild his peoples' self-esteem and i d e n t i t y and i s something he i s passionate about. It i s a central message i n The Washing of Tears. Two other speakers r e i t e r a t e and i l l u s t r a t e t h i s message. A young man i n his late twenties to early t h i r t i e s t e l l s of his father's alcoholism and death due to a drinking-related accident. It i s a very poignant moment i n the film, as he f a l t e r s while remembering t h i s great lo s s . Then, he goes on to speak of his b a t t l e with alcohol, and how his son has helped him become sober. We are shown another ceremony where th i s man i s present, and his son i s a dancer. Finally:: a young woman gives her testimony of pain; her husband and young son were k i l l e d i n an accident, and, understandably, she has been through a great deal. She recounts a time, aft e r t h e i r death, when she was walking on 72 a beach and came upon seven eagle feathers. It i s very auspicious to f i n d one such feather i n Native culture, but t h i s she considered to be an astounding g i f t . She speaks of the f a i t h she had i n the fact that the Creator was sending her a sign that her loved ones were with her. The next shot i s of her i n a button blanket. The camera zooms i n on the eagle crest. She i s then shown giving the feathers away i n t h i s potlatch given for those that helped her. A l l aspects of t h i s sequence are very moving, but the potlatch e s p e c i a l l y shows the strength and warmth and sense of community of these people. A very i n t e r e s t i n g portion of t h i s f i l m comes toward the end, when a group from the Mowachaht Nation t r a v e l to New York to view the Shrine at the American Museum of Natural History. Throughout the sequence there i s no speaking. The filming technique i s extremely intimate, showing the viewer everything as i f we were one of the group. The f i r s t shot i s from inside the t a x i , winding i t s way through a noisy, busy street i n the big c i t y . The whaler's daughter i s i n the front seat, looking culture-shocked. We see the sign for the museum, replete with a statue of a man on a horse. Then, we are inside, and a woman i s shown i n close-up, opening a room-sized vault, l i k e a ship's hold. The camera zooms i n on her hands on the wheel-l i k e handle, unwinding i t , slowly. The symbolism of the unlocking, the releasing, the f e e l i n g of t h i s pirated treasure i s undeniable. The tension and a n t i c i p a t i o n are 73 emphasized. We are now inside the s t e r i l e room, and a gloved hand opens a drawer, revealing a mask l y i n g upwards. The mask f i l l s the frame for a few seconds. Then we see the p r o f i l e of the daughter's face, looking very serious, as the camera then pans across the figures; l i f e - s i z e cedar men, standing, quietly, waiting. A s k u l l f i l l s the frame, showing the anthropologist's disfigurement: "Nootka 99/4568." The 'spokesperson' shakes a r a t t l e , as the camera pans across the group of descendants i n a solemn l i n e , then closes i n on the s k u l l s , masks, and wooden heads. A series of interactions between the group and the objects i n the shrine follow: close-up of a man's hands caressing a wooden whale, hands picking up and handling harpoons and water f l o a t s , and small carvings, one man smelling and then b i t i n g a small carved paddle. These are museum pieces that are not allowed to be touched, are they not? This i s a sacred place where White man's rules do not apply, and yet, locked i n a bastion of White establishment. The power of these actions being so s e n s i t i v e l y and reverently recorded renounces the power of the colonization, and maje s t i c a l l y venerates and consecrates the Mowachaht s p i r i t u a l i t y and culture. The r i t u a l e f f e c t of the filming of t h i s sequence, with shamanistic overtones heightened by the group's chanting as well as the quiet, mysterious way of shooting the objects, has tremendous potency. Without any words, th i s sequence acts as a b r i l l i a n t culmination of the statement of c u l t u r a l reclamation. 74 As t h i s sequence comes to a close, one more interview begins, spoken by a man who was at the Che'esum i n New York. His story i s the verbal culmination and fulcrum of the same statement: That New York t r i p was something else to me. Right away I could f e e l the power that was there. I never experienced anything l i k e i t i n my l i f e ... I started to pray - i n my own language. Deep within. I asked for the knowledge, the s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . A l l that i t took to get that whale out there. I noticed that there was something strange was happening to me. I f e e l that I used to shrink away from problems - whether i t be family or t r i b a l , and I had, I was a f r a i d of everything; a f r a i d of making mistakes, and a f r a i d of being rejected, and a l l the things that go with i t . Today I have a hard time keeping quiet i n our meetings, and workshops and everything else. Now I want to learn a l l there i s to know about my culture. That's another rea l change, and we're picking up songs that our ancestors sang. I believe that my prayers were answered. Its l i k e the whaler of yesterday going out, and I got the whale. Like I ' l l k i l l the whale. The whale i s i n my ta x i boat, worth a hundred thousand d o l l a r s . As the visuals switch to him i n close-up, and then untying his boat at the wharf, and heading out for a day's work, one feels the unlocking, the freedom, and the healing of which he speaks. We understand the meaning i n the shots of whales' flukes diving i n slow-motion that have recurred throughout the f i l m - the symbolism of the whale, the power to catch 75 such an animal, and the connection with the s p i r i t of the whale i s omnipresent i n The Washing of Tears; the whale, or the t a x i boat, or the land, or sobriety or the Whaler's Shrine a l l amount to the reclamation of t h i s peoples' culture. The f i n a l image shows a totem-pole r a i s i n g . Very short and simple, the sequence speaks again very symbolically, and thus with great power. The pole i s being raised inside a Chr i s t i a n church. The reformation has indeed taken hold. The L e a r n i n g P a t h (1991, 59 minutes) Addressing the area of Native autonomy i n education, The Learning Path i s a f i l m which i s simultaneously informative and a r t i s t i c a l l y complex. Through the intertwining of interview sequences with experimental/dramatized sections and manipulated archival footage, t h i s treatment of the subject i s highly emotional, and very e f f e c t i v e i n i t s a b i l i t y to bring the viewer to a v i s c e r a l understanding of the importance of the issues discussed. The three primary participants are Elder women who are educators of Native culture and language. Speaking at times of t h e i r work, of t h e i r mothers, or of t h e i r experiences of r e s i d e n t i a l school l i f e as children, they share very intimate and emotional stories with the camera. One feels as though one knows these women quite well aft e r viewing. 76 Very c a r e f u l l y crafted, more so than any of the other films i n t h i s study, The Learning Path explores a multitude of techniques, and a r t i s t i c e f f e c t s to achieve a f a i r l y calculated r e s u l t . While i t uses drama i n part, the emphasis upon personal interview creates an o v e r a l l e f f e c t of honest exposure and raw truth. The sections of thi s f i l m which consist of extensive informant interviews occupy most of the footage, and comprise the st r u c t u r a l core of The Learning Path. As i n Saltwater People and The Washing of Tears, the informants are not engaged i n actual question and answer interviews i n front of the camera, but t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s d i r e c t l y to the camera. S i m i l a r l y also, there i s no constant narration threading the f i l m together. The voice of the di r e c t o r however does contribute narrative fragments at various points; comments which give information that i s c l e a r l y and openly opinionated, and added i n a conjunctive rather than over-arching manner. The three primary informants i n the f i l m are a l l women, a l l teachers, and a l l Native. Eva Cardinal, Supervisor of the Sacred C i r c l e Program, i n the Edmonton Public School system, i s a Native woman i n her f i f t i e s . Olive Dickasoh, Native h i s t o r i a n , Professor at the University of Alberta, i s a Metis woman i n her seventies. Ann Anderson, teacher of Cree language i n Edmonton, i s a Native woman of 86 . We see them both alone and with t h e i r students, and i n a l l instances they speak of education. Two of the three central 77 informants have experienced r e s i d e n t i a l schools, and speak of t h e i r memories and of the effects thereof. Their personal st o r i e s occupy the majority of the f i l m . Eva embodies the heart of the f i l m . In a l l of the six segments i n which she speaks, she reveals herself i n an extremely personal tone, addressing p a i n f u l areas of her l i f e , past and present. In two segments we hear her voice over footage of her i n t e r a c t i n g with classes. She speaks of Native knowledge, and i t s power to survive, as she teaches Cree to l i t t l e children, and then demonstrates to a non-Native class about her peoples' food. In another two sections, Eva i s seen i n medium close-up giving very emotional, very d i f f i c u l t testimony about her p a i n f u l experiences, her recovery from the pain, her insights into pain being a teacher, and an appeal to her children to understand her healing. She views her work i n the area of Native education as making "a great dent i n the learning path"; an attempt to give a g i f t to her people through her "breakthrough". By surviving and learning from the h e l l she has been through, Eva l i v e s to pass on her knowledge and wisdom. In These sections, there i s a quiet, slow, respectful mood. As one views the unfolding of t h i s woman's suffering, one comes to know her. We are given time to l i s t e n and watch her crying, to see her face contort, and thus, be with her, and, on some l e v e l , to understand. For t h i s l e v e l of intimacy to exist, i t seems clear that the 78 camera person and dire c t o r had a very t r u s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p with the subject. The most powerful of Eva's segments i s also the emotional, poetic centre of the f i l m . It begins as a dramatization of a l i t t l e g i r l walking down a snow-covered road with her grandmother. A car approaches, stops, and from i t a man emerges to say that he must take the c h i l d away. She goes with him and disappears down the winding road. This i s a l l i n colour. Eva's voice cuts i n at the beginning of the next shot, which i s of moccasins walking up a stone stairway: I remember very v i v i d l y walking down the road with my father. I was hanging onto his hand, and walking up the stairway. I was coming to t h i s great building and wondering "Am I i n the right place?" And I was taken down the hallway wondering what was going to happen to me . . . As she begins to speak, the moccasins become black and white, and we enter the world of her past. We are l e d down a dark and ominous hallway, the camera at c h i l d height. The steps are slow and somewhat halting, f i n a l l y reaching the end. The shot switches to Eva then, i n long shot, standing outside the school building, leaning against the stone wall. Her arms are crossed, the wind i s blowing, i t i s colour. The camera moves ever so slowly i n on t h i s symbol of strength, as she continues to remember that f i r s t day of confusion, being t o l d never to speak her language, ("the language of 79 the Devil") again, not understanding t h i s , being translated to by her friend, and f i n a l l y answering to an English name. The shot closes with an extreme close-up of her face, stony as the wall behind i t . Following t h i s i s a very i n t e r e s t i n g *tour' of the school, wherein we see Eva walking up an i n t e r n a l staircase, and, reaching the top, the t r a n s i t i o n to black and white recurs. This time we are behind a nun who walks s i l e n t l y down a h a l l , and darts into a side room. Cutting back and forth from Eva (in colour) to the nun (black and white), the editing i n t h i s sequence creates an unnervingly r e a l / s u r r e a l e f f e c t . Reliving her memory of wondering what the nuns did i n the mysterious recesses of the school (Eva's voice over the images t e l l s us), t h i s sequence alarmingly allows not only Eva, but the viewer, to go back i n time, and journey into a world of fear. The interviews with Ann and Olive serve to give balance to Eva's segments by being of a more r a t i o n a l , c o n t r o l l e d nature. Neither of these women show any anger or sadness outwardly, although some of what i s said i s disturbing. Ann says i n voice-over while her image teaches a class, " I always wanted respect and equality. It was hard for me that we never get i t . But now we do. Its beginning to." This e l d e r l y woman's strength and softness are b e a u t i f u l l y revealed by the va r i e t y of the aspects of her l i f e which are shown to us; teaching, s i t t i n g i n a h i s t o r i c classroom r e f l e c t i n g , and walking down a snowy sidewalk to her c l a s s . An i n t e r e s t i n g sequence reveals the power of t h i s woman's 80 work and contribution to her culture and the great respect which she receives from those around her. The f i r s t shot i s of a sign advertising "Dr. Ann Anderson Native Heritage Cultural Centre," and Ann walking toward t h i s b u i l d i n g along a snowy sidewalk. Entering the building, she i s greeted by a younger woman who takes and carri e s her bag for her. They pass a display which shows a stereotyped portrayal of Native l i f e : White mannequins dressed up i n buckskin o u t f i t s , and standing i n front of a teepee with an assortment of cl i c h e d paraphernalia. The camera zooms i n s l i g h t l y . Then Ann's degree, a Doctor of Laws from the University of Alberta, i s shown i n close-up, and the camera zooms out to her o f f i c e . The young woman i s helping Ann with her coat, and then Ann s i t s down at her desk, and i s shown i n close-up, writing something. Cl e a r l y the meaning of thi s sequence i s that t h i s woman has devoted herself to the reclamation of Native culture, through the teaching of Cree, and i s a respected figure therefore. Olive i s revealed f a i r l y intimately as well. The academic of the three, she i s shown primarily i n her places of work - i n the l i b r a r y , looking for a book, s i t t i n g at her computer, or teaching a class. A very personal sequence exists though, wherein she i s shown at her kitchen table drinking a cup of tea, and r e c a l l i n g her childhood. She speaks of the times when her family would go trapping, and the taste of the tea when they were camping i n the snow. We see a dramatization of t h i s scene, with a l i t t l e g i r l of 81 about ten being served a cup of tea, and drinking i t bundled up i n winter clothes, standing beside the f i r e . Then as she talks about her mother, and the teachings she gave her about the plants, nature, and the country way of looking at things and doing things, we see old photos of her and her mother i n black and white. Previously shown i n more formal aspects of her l i f e , t h i s portrayal reveals her understanding and esteem for the learning which comes from l i v i n g , from family, and from the everyday. The primary message of The Learning Path i s the advocating of s p i r i t u a l growth through healing. Each of the informants emphasizes a d i f f e r e n t aspect of t h i s theme, and the narrator integrates and connects t h e i r experiences into a cohesive picture. Eva's experience and consequent message to the viewer i s that pain i s a fact of l i f e , and can be a tremendous teacher, i f we l i s t e n to i t , and learn from i t . In t e l l i n g of her r e s i d e n t i a l school trauma, she recounts the lessons she has gleaned from having survived: What I have shared i s a thing of the past. The scars are s t i l l here, however. I have worked on myself, and I have been able to l e t go a l o t , of those p a i n f u l experiences . . . . I am where I'm at now, and have learned a l o t . And I can bid those hard times farewell. They have been guidances. 82 Through the process of having explored the e f f e c t s of the abuses she suffered, she has learned about herself, accepted herself, and become stronger. This healing, Eva says, i s a necessary passage to t r a v e l through i n one's l i f e . Instead of a n g r i l y admonishing what happened to her, and prolonging her misery, she t e l l s us that i t has been important to her to f u l l y understand the impact of the experience, and then to release herself from the pain. Ann embodies the power of self-esteem. In her we see a woman who has overcome great pain and d i f f i c u l t y also, and has forged ahead, embracing something she passionately believes i n . Having focused her energies upon the dissemination of her language, she presents the viewer with an example of pain transmuted into power. As such, she acts as a model both of personal accomplishment and of what can and i s being achieved i n Native education. Olive represents the t h e o r e t i c a l and academic underpinnings of the movement toward educational autonomy, as a facet of the larger picture of Native c u l t u r a l reclamation. Giving h i s t o r i c a l background to the colonization process, speaking s p e c i f i c a l l y about the denial by Whites of Aboriginal culture and rights, she l e g i t i m i z e s through fact where the others used f e e l i n g . Using a more ra t i o n a l approach to the issues, yet c e r t a i n l y not devoid of emotion, Olive speaks of her goal to illuminate what has very nearly been l o s t , i n order to help i n the strengthening, and r e v i v i f y i n g of indigenous culture: 83 I hope that I am extending the knowledges of and the knowledges about the contribution and the role that our Native people have played i n the development of Canada. Cinematically, The Learning Path employs the intensely symbolic shot, and the manipulation therein to help communicate the theme of s p i r i t u a l healing. Highlighting the issues of oppression and repression, various powerful images are used to seduce the viewer into a v i s c e r a l understanding of the feelings associated with containment and despoilment of the s p i r i t s of Native children i n White schools. Several examples are noteworthy. At the outset of the film, we see a slow motion sequence of archival footage of children playing outside a r e s i d e n t i a l school. The camera slowly pans across a gaggle of boys crammed behind a wire fence, looking s t a r t l i n g l y l i k e caged or trapped animals, or prisoners of war, desperately looking at the camera for help, as though appealing to a witness, or a saviour, a possible hand that might reach out to p u l l them out of t h e i r pain, and free them. In t h i s shocking image of horror, the viewer i s struck by the entrapment of both the wire fence and the suits and haircuts which shroud the children. It i s a powerful opening shot indeed. This sense of i n s t i t u t i o n a l control i s soon again evidenced i n a new black and white shot of a row of lockers. 84 We see a slow pan down the steel doors, a l l with locks. The symbolic import i s profound, as the camera gives us time to bring our understanding of the meaning of these boxes to the image; grey r e p e t i t i v e icons of order, formal patterning, i s o l a t i o n , ownership, possessions, security, numbers, i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , conformity, uniformity, control, i n s t i t u t i o n a l i s m , lack of individualism, locks that can only be opened with the right combination, the knowledge of the system, the correct ordering of numbers. Later on i n the f i l m another new shot of a row of sinks becomes a v a r i a t i o n on t h i s theme of r e p e t i t i v e order. Slowly panning across a l i n e of white sinks and s i l v e r mirrors, the camera closes i n on just the sinks, and then, monumentally, on one i n p a r t i c u l a r . The shot switches to archival footage of l i t t l e g i r l s i n a l i n e , each at a sink, brushing t h e i r teeth before going to bed. A f t e r t h e i r nighttime washing r i t u a l , the g i r l s , a l l dressed i n i d e n t i c a l flowered nighties, a l l with clean teeth, walk toward i d e n t i c a l army-style beds i n rows, i n a big room l i k e a barrack, kneel at t h e i r bedsides, say t h e i r prayers i n unison, p u l l back t h e i r covers i n unison, and get into t h e i r beds i n unison. F i n a l l y , a window i s used symbolically i n a shot of Eva i n the r e s i d e n t i a l school she attended as a c h i l d . Six squares within a rectangle, within a thick window frame, are shown i n close-up. The camera then zooms i n on one pane, which i s cracked. Many cracks radiate out from the centre, 85 as though someone has thrown a rock at the window. Eva i s then shown inside the room, looking out the window, holding a curtain back to do so. The image of the window i s heavily symbolic; a way of seeing the outside world, yet also a b a r r i e r between the inner and outer worlds, a way of t a n t a l i z i n g the person inside with the i l l u s i o n of knowing the outside world of fresh a i r and freedom, yet a part of the wall which contains, and, a square framing device imposed by the i n s t i t u t i o n s of White society, to be used i n the seeing/perceiving of r e a l i t y . Emphasis upon the cracked pane i n the context of t h i s symbolism thus becomes an important feature of the sequence. Thus, i n a more conscious way than i n any of the other films, inanimate objects - the trappings of White i n s t i t u t i o n s - are used as reinforcements to the testimonies i n The Learning Path. This symbolism i s powerful i n i t s experimental emotionalism. 86 V ANALYSIS To understand the ways i n which the films i n t h i s study compare and contrast i n terms of t h e i r representation of Native people, i t i s necessary to apply the t h e o r e t i c a l underpinnings to the data. The following chapter analyses the films according to both how the representations d i f f e r i n terms of imagery, attitude, and cinematography. Theories regarding imagery as well as documentary f i l m are therefore examined i n d i r e c t r e l a t i o n to the films. When comparing documentary films from the mid-century with films from the 1990's several things must be considered. The only accepted form of documentary f i l m i n the early years of the National Film Board was the expository documentary film, the q u a l i t i e s of which have been discussed. Thus, the implications for ethnographic documentary films, describing Canada's Indians to Canadians, were f a i r l y straightforward. There was only one possible means of portraying these people, and that was with an attitude of superiority, and from a stance of safe remove. The only conceivable ends to be attained by making such films were a) to record the curious ways of peoples who once had unique cultures, but were now becoming assimilated into the dominant White society, and b) to assuage any remnants of g u i l t or worry on the part of White viewers about 'the Indian s i t u a t i o n . ' 87 Documentary films of an ethnographic nature being made today by the NFB have quite.a d i f f e r e n t agenda. Instead of celebrating the death of Native culture, these films proclaim the urgent need to address i n j u s t i c e s done to F i r s t Nation peoples, and rejo i c e i n the r e b i r t h and regeneration of Native culture, s p i r i t u a l i t y , and autonomy. It would be dangerous and perhaps spurious to suggest that the present day owns a 'better 1 perspective than that of the past. It i s c e r t a i n l y not my intent to condemn attitudes of the past, but instead to observe ways i n which those attitudes have changed over time. As well as being documents of both the Indian of the mid-century, and the F i r s t Nations person of the 1990's, these films are, perhaps more accurately, records of the White man, and his evolving perception of Native people. It i s i n thi s l i g h t that the films w i l l be analysed, interpreted, and compared. Technical, s t y l i s t i c , and id e o l o g i c a l aspects of the films within each period w i l l be discussed. Through inv e s t i g a t i n g the ways i n which representation of Native peoples has been constructed i n these films, an understanding of both the resu l t s of such representation and the reasons behind i t w i l l be attempted. In the two examples of ' c l a s s i c ' expository documentary f i l m used i n th i s study, Peopie of the Potlatch and Peoples of the Skeena, both cinematic and textual (spoken) decisions reveal a l i m i t e d understanding and propagandistic treatment of Indians and t h e i r ways of l i f e . Embodying the underlying 88 p o s i t i o n of the time that t h i s indigenous 'race' was vanishing 5 0 the films serve both to embalm and romanticize the culture. This tendency of ethnographic f i l m to represent xthe Other' by maintaining a distant, detached stance i s explained by f i l m t heorist B i l l Nichols as a manifestation of inherent power r e l a t i o n s : The objects of . . . ethnography are constituted as i f i n a fishbowl; and the coherence, "naturalness", and realism of th i s fishbowl i s guaranteed through distance. The fishbowl experience allows us to experience the t h r i l l of strangeness and the apprehension of an Other while also providing the distance from the Other that assures safety. The ef f e c t of realism i s to allow the spectator to dominate the Other v i c a r i o u s l y without openly acknowledging complicity with the very apparatus and t a c t i c s of domination. 5 1 Complying with codes of realism, t h i s rhetoric of detachment was necessary i n order to maintain the status quo i n terms of p o l i t i c a l power and conformity to the concensual posture toward the Native. As the projected audience for such films was comprised primarily of White Anglo-Saxon Canadians (most of whom had had l i t t l e or no contact with Indians, and generally perceived themselves to be of a higher socio-p o l i t i c a l l e v e l than these people), the attitude to be purported n a t u r a l l y r e f l e c t e d that experience, one of 89 removed s u p e r i o r i t y and condescension. Since t h i s race was dying, the n o t i o n went, i t was the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of the ones i n charge to record i t s passing. A s u b t l e and complex image i n these e a r l y f i l m s i s the ' S o c i a l Nuisance' stereotype. C l e a r l y understood to be at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder i n Canadian s o c i e t y , the Indian was both deprecated and p i t i e d f o r h i s s i t u a t i o n . However, i n answer to t h i s unconscionable s t a t e of c u l t u r a l a p a r t h e i d , whereby the r e a l i t y of Native poverty and s p i r i t u a l d e s t i t u t i o n became an impossible legacy to accept, the concept of ' S o c i a l Nuisance' was permutated to that of ' A s s i m i l a t i o n Success Story,' and a c t i v e l y p r o j e c t e d to the p u b l i c i n documentary f i l m s . Thus the ' S o c i a l Nuisance' n o t i o n i s e s s e n t i a l i n the need to p o r t r a y the Indian as on the way to becoming White. Hand i n hand w i t h the c e l e b r a t o r y a t t i t u d e of the a s s i m i l a t i o n of Indians i n t o the dominant White c u l t u r e was a d u t i f u l homage to the customs that were seen to be dying out. As the 'Warrior' no longer had to be feared, i t became acceptable to mourn the l o s s of the ways of the 'Noble Savage' through f u r t h e r r o m a n t i c i z a t i o n . 5 2 As l e s s and l e s s of the o l d ways were i n evidence, i t became imperative to document them, and present them as remnants of the past. Thus, i n c e r t a i n e a r l y documentary f i l m s about Native 90 Canadians made by the NFB, a combination of romanticization and denial of t h i s culture e x i s t s . This tendency i s most notable i n The People of the Potlatch and Peoples of the Skeena. As has been noted, the f i r s t f i l m i s a mixture of innovative camera work and conventional language. The narrative i s composed of a voice-over that overtly suggests that the changes to the Indian's way of l i f e have improved him, and bettered his condition. Through use of the past tense, and a tone of p a t e r n a l i s t i c authority throughout, the narrative imperiously condescends, thus constructing an image of a c h i l d - l i k e people who must be looked after, and who are now, thankfully, less trouble as t h e i r indigenous ways of being are disappearing or indeed gone, and they are learning the ways of t h e i r superior. The dichotomy between a reverence or, at least, a respectful acknowledgment for Native c u l t u r a l ways and a tone of dismissive abnegation l i e s , i n t h i s film, i n the d i v i s i o n between the v i s u a l and l i n g u i s t i c treatments. As Nichols notes, a central aspect of documentary f i l m i s i t s basis i n argument, or i t s attempt to persuade the viewer of some point of view. Expository documentary adheres most c l o s e l y to t h i s form, which r e l i e s heavily on the Word to present i t s case. 5 3 Therefore, the language i s an extremely important element, as "Arguments require a l o g i c that words are able to bear far more e a s i l y than images." 5 4 The 91 narrative text dominates the v i s u a l imagery i n these types of t r a d i t i o n a l documentaries: "The rhe t o r i c of the commentator's argument serves as the textual dominant, moving the text forward i n service of i t s persuasive needs." 5 5 Thus although the v i s u a l elements of People of the Potlatch are at times stunning i n t h e i r r e v e r e n t i a l portrayal of the West Coast Indian way of l i f e , - t h e y are overshadowed and coloured by the much less p o s i t i v e commentary. An understanding of the d u a l i t y inherent i n these two facets of t h i s f i l m i s gained by viewing i t f i r s t with sound and then without. A s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n exists i n Peoples of the Skeena, i n that the vi s u a l s are dominated by a voice-over which i s distant and patronizing i n tone. The v i s u a l i n t h i s case are not at a l l interesting, but instead are v o y e u r i s t i c and thus contribute to an o v e r a l l sense of observing a museum-like recreation of a disappeared c i v i l i z a t i o n . As i n these expository films, the argument i s dominant to the point of being s o l e l y responsible for the meaning i n No Longer Vanishing. In t h i s f i l m the sta t i n g of the case i s evinced by dramatic episodes wherein Indians are shown as p e r f e c t l y assimilated into White' culture and society. D i f f e r i n g from the other films i n t h i s study, we would today term t h i s a docu-drama, by virt u e of i t s being e n t i r e l y pre-scripted and enacted. The 'argument' or 'rhetoric' of t h i s 92 f i l m i s much more i n t r i c a t e l y constructed than i n either of the two previous films, and "the voices of others are woven into a textual l o g i c that subsumes and orchestrates them."56 Not only i s the commentary attempting to persuade, but the whole body of the f i l m (from the i n i t i a l concept, to the s c r i p t , to the sets, to the actors, and the way i n which they present t h e i r lines) i s designed to create an image of the Indian i n keeping with a very d e f i n i t e and p a r t i c u l a r agenda. Made for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, i t was very l i k e l y used both for t r a i n i n g purposes (for both Indians and s o c i a l workers, teachers, and government workers working with Indians) and for general 'education' about improving the Indian s i t u a t i o n . The message, for whatever purpose, i s imminently clear i n t h i s f i l m ; Indians who assimilate to the dominant White culture succeed, and those who don't do not. Hidden just beneath the surface of t h i s idea are two i m p l i c i t statements. The f i r s t i s that White culture i s superior to Indian culture, and the second i s that i t i s a simple matter of agency on the part of the Indian as to whether he or she assimilates and therefore experiences a better l i f e . Both of these messages are i m p l i c i t because they are presented through the omission of any alternative viewpoints. Examples of Indian culture or t r a d i t i o n , and perhaps a rudimentary discussion of the h i s t o r i c a l underpinnings of the Indian 93 'problem,' (or of the harsh r e a l i t i e s of poverty and devastation which have resulted), would have provided such al t e r n a t i v e viewpoints. Instead of exploring the complex problem with an eye to learning about and presenting some sort of r e a l picture of the s i t u a t i o n , No Longer Vanishing was made i n order to present an extremely s i m p l i s t i c solution to i t s audience. We are t o l d and shown, with unabashed gusto, that the p o l i c y of c u l t u r a l genocide (in the name of c u l t u r a l assimilation) provides the most ef f i c a c i o u s means of achieving prosperity for the Canadian Indian. In each vignette, a 'good Indian, 1 one who has l e f t the reservation and embraced White society, i s portrayed i n an e n t i r e l y p o s i t i v e , harmonious l i g h t , devoid of any trace of s o c i a l , f i n a n c i a l , or emotional d i f f i c u l t y . Each character i s e b u l l i e n t l y happy, employed i n a 'respectable' occupation, and, most importantly, blending into the dominant culture, and therefore no longer a 'problem.' He or she embraces such White i n s t i t u t i o n s as the armed forces, the medical, educational, l e g a l , and banking systems, science, technology, and the forestry, f i s h i n g and leisure-boat-building industries. In terms of customs, White food (tea and sandwiches with the crusts cut off) and courtship practices (male-dominated conversation and power structure) are embraced also. As i f to h i t the viewer over the head with the message of the Indian's amiable relinquishment of a l l c u l t u r a l ways, we are even shown Indians i n a band council meeting, apparently happily 94 accepting of the White government o f f i c i a l who presides, and l a t e r , a scene i n which two Indians laughingly dismiss the near extinction of the buffalo. In these highly u n r e a l i s t i c scenarios No Longer Vanishing suggests to the viewer that the Indian i s on the way to leaving his world behind, and f u l l y integrating into the dominant culture, and that t h i s i s indeed what i s saving him from 'vanishing.' What i s not addressed at a l l , and by i t s omission speaks loudly, i s the issue of the profound deterioration of t r a d i t i o n a l Indian culture and way of l i f e incurred by contact with the White man. By aligning i t s e l f with the romantic and arrogant notion of the charitable induction of a savage people into the realm of c i v i l i z a t i o n , t h i s f i l m b l a t a n t l y purports a propagandist missive. Although the presentation of such material i n the guise of a documentary f i l m seems unbelievable and d i s t a s t e f u l by today's standards, i t i s important to attempt an understanding of the perspective of the audience at the time of the film's release. Although every element of the f i l m i s completely White i n form and character, the degree of accessible information, and knowledge of the Indian i n 1955, was minimal within the general Canadian public; such a portrayal therefore must have been believable and acceptable. 5 7 95 On the theme of culture, the two periods vary widely. In the early films Native ways are either openly b e l i t t l e d or covertly c r i t i c i z e d i n l i g h t of the progressive, more e f f i c i e n t , and c i v i l i z e d ways of the White man. Whereas, i n the recent films Native customs are depicted as being wholly good, i n harmony with nature and thus environmentally sound, s p i r i t u a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y r e v i v i f y i n g and thus p o l i t i c a l l y correct. White ways are shown to be barbaric, inhumane, and generally destructive environmentally, s p i r i t u a l l y , and c u l t u r a l l y . The most s t r i k i n g examples of these attitudes are evidenced i n the passages about f i s h i n g practices i n People of the Potlatch, No Longer Vanishing, and Saltwater People, and i n passages regarding education i n People of the Potlatch, No Longer Vanishing, and The Learning Path. In general, Native culture i s portrayed i n the early films as a problem to be eradicated and forgotten by means of assi m i l a t i o n . In the recent films we are t o l d that Native culture i s a powerful force for healing the damage i n f l i c t e d by the oppressor. Most prominently i n The Washing of Tears, and to a lesser extent i n The Learning Path, the message i s c l e a r l y that White culture has nearly k i l l e d that of the Native Canadian, and must i n turn take the blame. Interestingly, both the early and late films deal i n propaganda. Both o f f e r f a i r l y s i m p l i s t i c , dramatic arguments which aim to persuade the viewer to believe a d e f i n i t e point of view. None of the films from either period o f f e r a lternative perspectives or contravening voices or arguments 96 which would ask the viewer to c a l l the evidence into question. In the more recent documentary films examined i n t h i s study, the expository s t y l e i s not i n evidence. A l l three films exhibit c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the ' i n t e r a c t i v e ' s t y l e , and one demonstrates examples of the ' r e f l e x i v e ' s t y l e also. A major difference between the expository and i n t e r a c t i v e styles, and thus the three early and three late films i n t h i s study, i s the locus of textual authority. In the expository f i l m t h i s resides i n e n t i r e t y with the voice-over. The reasons for and implications of t h i s have been discussed. In the i n t e r a c t i v e s t y l e , the perceived authority i s situated i n the mouths of the participants, to a large extent, i f not s o l e l y . Influenced by the currently accepted p o s i t i o n that n e u t r a l i t y or o b j e c t i v i t y on the part of the observer or researcher/theorizer i s no longer a viable stance, 5 8 these new documentaries derive from an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t motivation than those of the early years of the NFB. Made i n a time when Native peoples have vehemently protested t h e i r oppression, by way of multitudinous land claims and natural resources t r i a l s , and, more recently, by i n s t i g a t i n g v i o l e n t r e b e l l i o n s , these films depict a very d i f f e r e n t p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n than that of the 1940's and 1950's. Undeniably, Native Canadians have more p o l i t i c a l power i n the 1990's 97 t h a n i n the 1940's and '50's, and t h i s i s r e f l e c t e d i n b o t h t h e c o n t e n t and t h e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e f i l m s . Of t h e t h r e e l a t e r f i l m s , The Washing of Tears p r e s e n t s t h e c l e a r e s t example o f the ' i n t e r a c t i v e ' s t y l e . U s i n g t h e v o i c e s o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s e x c l u s i v e l y , w i t h no v o i c e - o v e r whatsoever, the a u t h o r i t y o f t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e i s t h u s emphasized, and i n d e e d forms the message and meaning o f t h e f i l m . As has been mentioned, the f i l m i s u n u s u a l i n terms o f i t s degree o f i n t i m a c y , and a f f i n i t y t o N a t i v e s e n s i b i l i t y . These e f f e c t s a r e not a c c i d e n t a l , b u t v e r y i n t e n t i o n a l ; t h e d i r e c t o r , when q u e s t i o n e d as t o t h e making o f t h e f i l m , a t a r e c e n t s c r e e n i n g o f The Washing of Tears, emphasized t h e fundamental i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e c o l l a b o r a t i v e n a t u r e o f t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e f i l m , from i t s o u t s e t t o c o m p l e t i o n . There i s a sense, i n t h i s f i l m , o f deep commitment on t h e p a r t o f t h e d i r e c t o r , n ot o n l y t o t h e making o f a good documentary, bu t t o the i s s u e and t o t h e p e o p l e i t a d d r e s s e s . T h i s i n t e n s e p e r s o n a l i n v o l v e m e n t g i v e s t h e work an i n t e g r i t y and r i c h n e s s which compels t h e v i e w e r t o engage i n t h e s t o r y . I t i s because o f t h i s degree o f commitment, and the d e c i s i o n t o share the p r o c e s s o f making th e documentary, I b e l i e v e , t h a t when w a t c h i n g the f i l m , one g e t s drawn i n t o the c u l t u r e and h i s t o r y o f t h e s e p e o p l e i n a ' m a g i c a l ' way; the p r e s e n c e o f t h e f i l m m a k e r d i s a p p e a r s so t h a t t h e s p e a k e r s assume complete c o n t r o l . I n Saltwater People the i n t e n s i t y l i e s i n i t s b o l d p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n , as opposed t o t h e more p e r s o n a l tone o f 98 The Washing of Tears. Whereas i n the l a t t e r film, the viewer i s drawn into the world of the Nuchalnuth, i n the former the viewer i s taught about the Kwakiutl people's s i t u a t i o n from the outside. This perspective i s i n t e n t i o n a l on the part of Maurice Bulbulian, d i r e c t o r of Saltwater People. As he notes i n a recent interview about his work, he has an a f f i n i t y with the Native perspective due to his own background and p o l i t i c a l stance as an outsider. 5 9 He respects the autonomy of the subjects of his film, yet sees himself as the messenger for them, hence his need to "keep the d i d a c t i c a l thing i n mind" 6 0 i n order to d e l i v e r the message with the appropriate importance. The testimonies i n Saltwater People are not as fervent, nor are the stories as personally t r a g i c as those i n The Washing of Tears. Instead of the majority of p a r t i c i p a n t s speaking i n solo about t h e i r l i v e s and experiences, d i r e c t l y into the camera, the informants i n t h i s f i l m are often shot i n groups, discussing the seafood s i t u a t i o n together. Bulbulian explains his rationale for organising the speaking i n his films i n t h i s way: I never have one p r i n c i p l e character i n my films. It's always between for t y and two hundred p r i n c i p l e characters. With these public and c o l l e c t i v e issues I f i n d that the best situations, when ideas and feelings r e a l l y come out, i s 99 when people are together. Now i t ' s not cinematographic per se. But there's always moments when you get the basic statements and feelings coming from people wherever they are. If they're around a table, which i s not an easy thing to film, and i t happens there, so be i t . You don't run away from i t . More important i s to be with people when they are together and things are happening. That's what I'm t r y i n g to do most of the time. 6 1 Thus, these discussions are r i c h i n t h e i r r a t i o n a l and a n a l y t i c a l tone, and adhere more c l o s e l y to the issue at hand, i t s history, and i t s possible solution. This i s complemented by the intermittent accompaniment of a commentary. A Native woman's voice contributes information i n the form of s c i e n t i f i c facts as well as references to the s p i r i t u a l connections that exist between the people and t h e i r environment. Generally the tone of these voice-over sequences i s detached and unemotional. As the content being offered i s extremely s i g n i f i c a n t and loaded with an onerous message, the e f f e c t of the cool, almost monotone delivery i s i r o n i c a l l y powerful. This i s e s p e c i a l l y evident when the comment veers o f f the factual track, and enters the more Native t e r r a i n of s p i r i t u a l and symbolic matters: For the F i r s t People, the salmon s p i r i t i s r e a l i t y . There i s a bond between them. They are what the salmon i s . They w i l l become what the salmon becomes. If 100 the salmon disappears, so w i l l they, but i f the salmon i s raised i n c a p t i v i t y , i s i t not l i k e the F i r s t People l i v i n g on reserve? 6 2 The presentation of the language i n t h i s f i l m i s more r i g i d , i n structure and i n tone, than i n The Washing of Tears, and thus embodies and emits more of the 'outsider's' perspective. In The Learning Path there are elements of both the two other l a t e r films. At times the participants speak d i r e c t l y to the camera, and at times they are i n conversation with the unseen filmmaker, and we are aware of her "situated presence." They are presented alone, and t h e i r s t o r i e s are intensely emotional and personal, which likens the interview segments to those i n The Washing of Tears. However, there i s a Native woman's voice-over (the voice of the d i r e c t o r ) , which gives the viewer additional information as well as moralizes, t e l l i n g the hard-to-hear truths about what Native people have had to endure at the hand of the White man, and confronting the viewer with the urgent need for change and r e c t i f i c a t i o n for the past. Although the tone of t h i s commentary i s much more impassioned than that of Saltwater People, i t serves a si m i l a r function; to focus and d i r e c t what the informants are saying, and to add emphasis to the film's argument. B i l l Nichols speaks of the role of the commentary as being quite d i f f e r e n t from the "di r e c t address" voice-over: 101 ... commentary i s a form of argument i n which the voice of the f i l m i s seen or heard d i r e c t l y . ... Commentary gives d i d a c t i c orientation toward the argument. Commentary guides our grasp of the moral, p o l i t i c a l view of the world offered by the documentary text. ... i t diverts our attention from the world represented to the discourse of the text, to the representations of a documentary l o g i c . 6 3 Rather than being the voice of the film, as i s the d i r e c t address voice-over, the commentary adds to the voice(s) of the film, either i n affirmation or contradiction. Indeed a manipulative device, i t causes the viewer to further consider what i s being said by the informants, and to either agree or disagree with them. In The Learning Path the commentary serves to galvanize the viewer into a f u l l emotional i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the part i c i p a n t s , and an awareness of the a t r o c i t y of the r e s i d e n t i a l school experience i n general. Together with the very intimate portrayal of the speakers, i n terms of the content of t h e i r s t o r i e s and the techniques of shooting discussed e a r l i e r , the e f f e c t of the commentary i s at times almost that of a reprimand; the viewer i s not allowed to be uninvolved or dispassionate, but must feel the pain, and somehow j o i n the participants i n t h e i r struggle. 102 The primary d i v i s i o n between the early and late documentary films i n t h i s study l i e s i n the s i t u a t i o n of the authorial voice. C l e a r l y not an uncomplicated issue i n documentary film, as i t i s not i n scholarship at large, the dramatic changes that have occurred i n t h i s p a r t i c u l a r medium and with regard to t h i s subject are profound. The most obvious t r a n s i t i o n s that have taken place a f f e c t i n g t h i s issue are due to the current p o l i t i c a l reconstruction of the rel a t i o n s h i p between Native and White Canadians. This s h i f t away from c o l o n i a l domination toward a more equitable co-existence i s having an undeniable e f f e c t upon the way i n which Native peoples are represented i n f i l m . It i s simply not acceptable any longer to devalue any culture i n t h i s country i n any way. The emphasis upon disappropriation of voice, so prevalent at the present i n most d i s c i p l i n e s , i s f a c i l i t a t e d i n documentary f i l m by the fact that filming techniques are becoming increasingly advanced. In the early days of the NFB f a c i l i t i e s were not yet available to record sound synchronously with image; a technique which greatly expedites the a b i l i t y to give voice to the p a r t i c i p a n t s of a f i l m . 6 4 Now cordless microphones the size of a thumb and small, unobtrusive cameras enable an informant to speak onto f i l m i n almost any environment. 103 Another factor a f f e c t i n g the change that has occurred i n terms of authorial voice i s the degree to which the f i l m d i r e c t o r i s subjugated to his/her producer's ideas regarding the f i l m . Whereas i n the early years of the NFB the dir e c t o r had very l i t t l e control over creative and technical decisions, and had to acquiesce to the i n s t i t u t i o n , today, the personality of the director i s often prominent. A r e l a t i v e l y recent development i n the filmmaking s i t u a t i o n at the NFB, t h i s d i r e c t o r i a l control has been given more f r e e l y to certa i n directors (such as Brody and Todd) who have established a reputation with t h e i r work of being innovative and powerful. Although very d i f f e r e n t i n th e i r approaches and resu l t s , c l e a r l y the films of these two directors are i n d i c a t i v e of t h i s creative freedom. Their approaches to disappropriation of voice are also d i f f e r e n t , and yet both make extremely potent statements about voice, which r e f l e c t t h e i r very subjective, personal agendas. As conceptual, p o l i t i c a l , and technological advances continue to be made, we w i l l undoubtedly witness further s h i f t s i n the representation of Native peoples i n documentary f i l m . As to whether or not the changes w i l l be as dramatic as those we have encountered i n t h i s century remains to be seen, but w i l l be conjectured i n the following chapter. 104 VI WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE In a recent a r t i c l e i n the Globe and Mail, Sandra MacDonald, the new Film Commissioner of the National Film Board, speaks of her v i s i o n of the future directions of the organisation. She uses a documentary f i l m analogy: Our mandate i s to make films i n the public i n t e r e s t . My i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of that i s to t e l l the truth to the best of your a b i l i t y . You don't go out and do an investigative documentary with the conclusions already i n mind. 6 5 She posits an attitude of openness, a willingness to look deeply into a problem or s i t u a t i o n with an eye to attempting to understand i t and, through such understanding, to shed l i g h t upon i t . Embodying the more recent ways of perceiving and making documentary films discussed i n t h i s paper, t h i s approach has significance for me, as I attempt to sum up my study, or investigation. When I i n i t i a l l y formulated my thesis topic, I most d e f i n i t e l y held a p o s i t i o n ; a preconceived notion that the old films would reveal nothing but negative portrayals of Native peoples, poor f i l m quality, and generally a s i m p l i c i t y that would thus afford l i m i t e d usage or i n t e r e s t . The new films would be manifestations of a growing respect 105 for Native autonomy, and be devoid of stereotyping or negative representation. Needless to say, such notions changed as I studied the films, and explored the meaning of documentary f i l m and i t s implementation. In my investigation of the problem of Native representation i n documentary film, i t soon became clear to me that the re a l question, and the fascinating heart of the issue, i s the degree to which dominant White values are revealed i n the constructions made to explain 'the Other.' As racism and i t s roots and function have long been an inte r e s t of mine, the evolution of White attitudes to Native Canadians s w i f t l y became my focus. Of course, as I learned more about the evolution of documentary film, the focus here too s h i f t e d and deepened from study of the films as vehicles for information and attitudes, to examination of t h e i r a r t i s t i c , t h e o r e t i c a l , and p r a c t i c a l facets as well. Linking these two f o c i has been my intere s t i n issues regarding hidden c u r r i c u l a . Documentary f i l m thus became for me a way to examine i m p l i c i t reproduction of s o c i a l constructions i n curriculum, and the need for understanding and deconstruction of such mechanisms. Another finding which contributed to the s h i f t i n my preconceptions was the fact that s i m i l a r themes had been addressed i n the old and new films, and that propaganda existed i n both periods' treatments. Somehow through comparative analysis of p a r a l l e l subject matter, i t became easier to see the biases inherent i n the newer films, 106 although i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y less obvious than i n the older films. The ways i n which representation of Native people i n National Film Board documentary films has changed became more important to my study, than a judgment upon the representation i t s e l f . Within t h i s evolution l i e s much fodder for exploration i n the areas of White attitudes toward Native people, documentary f i l m theory and practice, and the issue of appropriation, or speaking for others. The pro-assimilation ideology g l a r i n g l y evident i n the early films i s r e f l e c t i v e of an era i n which the Indian was disregarded as being an i n f e r i o r nuisance. The federal government was a c t i v e l y engaged i n administering p o l i c i e s which would s t r i p the Indians of t h e i r c u l t u r a l ways, and f o r c i b l y inculcate the dominant culture upon them. The films not only r e f l e c t e d t h i s attitude, but were made to shape and reinforce i t also. Films today which vehemently deplore the c o l o n i a l wound, proclaim v i c t o r i o u s c u l t u r a l regeneration, and support land and resources r e t r i b u t i o n and s e l f - r u l e for Native people i n Canada are also involved i n both r e f l e c t i n g and constructing an attitude. The d i s p a r i t y i n ideologies i n the e a r l i e s t and most recent NFB films about Native people could not be greater. A tremendous transformation has occurred i n the realm of documentary f i l m i n the past h a l f century. From a form which once proposed to state The Truth about any given s i t u a t i o n , i n as removed and objective a fashion as was 107 possible, i t has become a form which i s wholeheartedly embracing the v a l i d i t y of subjectivity, and celebrating the value of the personal and in d i v i d u a l nature of t r u t h . 6 6 There has been a movement away from the r e a l i s t concept of universal, unequivocal Truth, toward what Michael Renov c a l l s a more " f i c t i v e construct" of r e a l i t y : The truth of aesthetic forms i n the c l a s s i c a l mode has been rendered through a kind of "crucible e f f e c t " i n which r e a l i t y i s subjected to the heat and pressure of the creative imagination -the passage of truth through f i c t i o n . 6 7 Increased media awareness on the part of viewers, coupled with advancements i n technology, have at once demystified and complicated documentary f i l m . In other words, as the ways i n which stories are t o l d become more subtle, audience understanding of the manufacture or construction of f i l m i c argument i s becoming more developed, allowing for t h i s opening up of the form to take place. To quote Renov again, t h i s expansion of the form i s p o s i t i v e : That a work undertaking some manner of documentation renders that representation i n a challenging or innovative manner should i n no way d i s q u a l i f y i t as nonfiction because the question of expressivity i s , i n a l l events, a matter of degree. A l l such renderings require a series of authorial choices, none neutral, some of which may 108 appear more " a r t f u l " or purely expressive than others. Moreover, the a b i l i t y to evoke emotional response or induce pleasure i n the spectator by formal means, to generate l y r i c power through shadings of sound and image i n a manner exclusive of verbalization, or to engage with the musical or poetic q u a l i t i e s of language i t s e l f must not be seen as mere di s t r a c t i o n s from the main event. Documentary culture i s c l e a r l y the worse for such aesthetic straightjacketing. Indeed, the communicative aim i s frequently enhanced by attention to the expressive dimension; the a r t f u l f i l m or tape can be said to u t i l i z e more e f f e c t i v e l y the p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of i t s chosen medium to convey ideas and feelings. In the end, the aesthetic function can never be wholly divorced from the d i d a c t i c one insofar as the aim remains "pleasurable lear n i n g . 1 , 6 8 The freedom of expression which i s now i n evidence i n documentary filmmaking does not impinge on the t e l l i n g of the truth, but rather encourages i t . The s h i f t s i n both attitude and a r t i s t i c expression are i n d i c a t i v e of profound philosophical and p o l i t i c a l changes occurring now i n regard to voice. 6 9 Many d i s c i p l i n e s are a c t i v e l y questioning the v a l i d i t y of speaking for others. The discourse suggests that i n the act of representing another person (either speaking for or about them), one i s p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the construction of who they are, and thus engaging i n a practice of disempowerment of the represented and hegemonic control on the part of the speaker. 7 0 109 The issue of voice has d i r e c t bearing, on the subject of t h i s t h e s i s . In regard to future directions for the representation of Native people i n documentary film, many directors are currently speaking and writing about the problematic of voice, and how i t i s influencing the ways i n which they make th e i r films. Bulbulian speaks of the process he goes through both before making a f i l m and during the filming: It was the same i n B.C. I spent nearly a year i n research, meeting people, t a l k i n g to them. I always present my hypothesis for the f i l m : "So far my ideas are l i k e t h i s . " They tear i t apart or they add something, and I go on l i k e that u n t i l the moment we s t a r t filming. But at the moment we sta r t i t becomes my f i l m . There's only one person running a f i l m . It has to be th i s way.71 More and more I worry about how the crew i s f e eling, how the subjects are feeling, and a l l these rela t i o n s h i p s . The entire crew has to work well together. Because i f you have trouble working together don't expect to see any magic on the screen. There i s something which i s not what the camera sees, and not what the sound records, and not the intention of the director; i t ' s beyond that - the something which i s magic i n f i l m . Like everybody drinking from the same bott l e of wine. 7 2 Although c l e a r l y at the helm of his documentary films, Bulbulian's comments indicate a growing in t e r e s t i n the 110 i n t e r a c t i v e dialogue between the.. subjects and the filmmakers. Cognizant of the fact that without rapport and trust and camaraderie the product w i l l not be as interesting, Bulbulian reveals an increasing a t t r a c t i o n to an approach which involves the sharing of his v i s i o n s . Hugh Brody, direc t o r of The Washing of Tears spoke passionately on the same issue when questioned regarding the edi t i n g decisions involved i n making that f i l m : I worked very c l o s e l y with the Nuchalnuth people at every stage of the filmmaking. A l l decisions were made c o l l a b o r a t i v e l y . 7 3 The attitude of l e t t i n g the subjects speak for themselves i s evidenced i n t h i s film, as i t i s i n his other work. Brody's involvement transcends the importance of the end r e s u l t . He imparts i n his films, writing, and when answering questions, a commitment borne of rel a t i o n s h i p . The products are most d e f i n i t e l y important p o l i t i c a l instruments, yet c l e a r l y the process of making his films i s an equally i n t e g r a l facet of his message; within the collaborative making of his films, i s the respect and the empowerment of which they ultimately speak. Of the three directors of the late films i n t h i s study, - Bulbulian, Brody, and Todd - Loretta Todd (The Learning Path) speaks most ardently of the c e n t r a l i t y that issues of voice and process occupy i n her work. In a lecture series 111 she organised, e n t i t l e d The Death of Documentary/Long Live the Documentary (Museum of /Anthropology, UBC, November, 1992), Todd spoke at length about the role NFB documentaries have played i n regard to the representation of Native people, how she perceives the documentary form to be changing, and how she positions herself i n t h i s process of transformation: What's transforming documentary i s those people who have been the subjects of documentary, those people who have had the documentary camera turned on them, those people whose l i f e has been spent being sc r u t i n i z e d by the camera, scr u t i n i z e d by an eye that's outside looking i n at you. /And what's happened, when those people have got that camera, now have that eye, what are they doing with the documentary? In my own work I t r y to go beyond the voyeur, and sort of dispense with the convenience of realism and the sort of obsessive desire for truth that i s achieved through t h i s idea that the image i s r e a l . Because I think there's a r e a l r i s k there that i t collapses our Otherness into t h i s whole homogeneous model, so the image of our Otherness, of our s u b j e c t i v i t y again w i l l continue to s i g n i f y , and reinforce that filmmaker, and view i t as a sense of themselves rather than my sense of myself, or that person's sense of the pain and su f f e r i n g or even joy that they might be trying, the f i l m i s try i n g to communicate. Someone asked me "How do you make a documentary?" and I said I ask people how they want to be represented. I ask people to imagine images, to r e c a l l memories, and someone said "Well, then aren't you a f r a i d of giving up your authorship? 112 You're i n v i t i n g t h e i r imagination into t h i s filmmaking process." And I said, that's where, f i r s t of a l l , where I'm breaking down documentary, by i n v i t i n g t h e i r point of view, i n v i t i n g t h e i r authorship to the process. And I said then the a r t i s t i n me comes into play because they give me insight into t h e i r memory and t h e i r imagination and then as a filmmaker, as an a r t i s t I then f i n d my int e r p r e t a t i o n of that v i s i o n that they've given me, that dream that they've given me. So I don't see i t as incompatible with documentary because what i t means i s I think i t ' s making more of documentary, i t ' s taking i t beyond i t s c o l o n i a l history, and turning into, allowing us to sort of reinvent i t . 7 4 C l e a r l y embracing a personal and p o l i t i c a l approach to her films, Todd's comments r e f l e c t a passionate commitment to her subjects as people. Adamant that Native Canadians become involved i n making documentary films about themselves, Todd argues well that as the power balance s h i f t s between the dominant society and those who have been oppressed, so should the power s h i f t i n terms of representation. Openly questioning the authority of the outsider's r e a l i s t perspective, she embraces the subjective world of the imagination and memory, arguing that these make up t h e i r truths, and must thus make up the truth of her films. I n v i t i n g access to the construction of t h e i r depiction, Todd not only makes an overt p o l i t i c a l statement, but r e l i e s on the collaboration with her f i l m subjects for her i n s p i r a t i o n . Both the involvement of her subjects and 113 her intimate involvement with t h e i r s t o r i e s make Todd's work very personal i n nature. The three c i t e d directors are i n the forefront of documentary filmmaking i n the area of Native representation for the National Film Board. Although i t would be questionable to extrapolate from t h e i r thoughts and words to other directors who make such films, i t would be safe to say that t h e i r perspectives are highly i n f l u e n t i a l within t h e i r f i e l d , i n t h i s country and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y . Therefore, i t seems safe to conjecture that the above questions of disappropriation of voice, collaboration, and i n t e r a c t i o n between directors and subjects of documentaries, and an increasing experimentation with r e f l e x i v e techniques which investigate the process of representation, w i l l continue to be prominent aspects of documentaries addressing Native issues. In regard to the future applications of documentary f i l m i n educational settings, I think a key factor i n the eff i c a c i o u s use of thi s tool w i l l l i e i n an emphasis upon media education. Before people can understand the i m p l i c i t messages that exist within any documentary f i l m which contribute to the o v e r a l l message, and the truth being disseminated, i t i s imperative that they be taught about the mechanics and underpinnings of filmmaking. Presuming analysis, or deconstruction of documentary films to be a valuable pursuit toward a deeper understanding of the content being taught, a l i t e r a c y of the medium w i l l 114 be necessary. As Michael Apple suggests, the unquestionable i n a society i s dangerous, 7 5 i n that i f we are not somehow engaged i n a c r i t i c a l dialogue with knowledge or information, i t has the pot e n t i a l to control us. If we do not examine c u r r i c u l a r materials as to t h e i r hidden " p o l i t i c a l , s o c i a l , e t h i c a l , and economic interests and commitments that are u n c r i t i c a l l y accepted as 'the way l i f e r e a l l y i s ' , " 7 6 we w i l l , as educators, be p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the reproduction of s o c i a l myths and norms based on inequality. In documentary films depicting Native people, there i s need for educational material which guides students c r i t i c a l l y through the films, provoking them to probe what they see with an eye to discerning the subtle attitudes as well as the not-so-subtle prejudices and stereotypes i n evidence. An excellent example exists i n the form of F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken - Teacher's Guide, developed i n 1993 by B.C. F i r s t Nations educators i n conjunction with the National Film Board. Designed to enhance usage of National Film Board documentary films about Native people, the guide o f f e r s an e x c i t i n g and comprehensive accompaniment to a s e l e c t i o n of films. The selection of thirteen shortened NFB documentary films provides an introduction to a va r i e t y of contemporary F i r s t Nations perspectives on history, culture, s p i r i t u a l i t y , education, j u s t i c e , the environment, racism, 115 colonialism, and Aboriginal t i t l e to land. They range from more general discussions of culture and his t o r y (for younger students) to more complex and controversial issues of p o l i t i c a l concern, aimed at older students. Addressing a lack of teaching materials of t h i s kind for t h i s subject area, F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken was developed to educate about F i r s t Nations issues, the media, as well as epistemology. Using the films as the catalyst, the series aims to "explore possible misconceptions" 7 7 about Native people, and "to help the teacher generate a safe environment where students can explore t h e i r knowledge and enlarge and complicate t h e i r thinking by dealing with a s p e c i f i c , focused i n q u i r y . " 7 8 The series implements Native perspective, t r a d i t i o n , and approach i n the r e a l i z a t i o n of these educational goals. Openly biased toward th i s orientation, one of the writers of the guide - Lorna Williams, F i r s t Nations Education S p e c i a l i s t for the Vancouver School Board - explains that i n the process of sharing one's stories, "the st o r i e s becomes t r u l y owned by the story t e l l e r " 7 9 i n Native t r a d i t i o n . Thus, by choosing p a r t i c u l a r films which t e l l s t o r i e s i n p o s i t i v e , non-victimizing ways, the subjects are portrayed as strong people, and by careful transmission of the films, the power stays with the speaker. 116 Gary Marcuse, documentary filmmaker, and one of the producers of the series, notes that F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken was born of a variety of ne c e s s i t i e s . He, as a filmmaker, enjoys making films that address controversial subjects, as a means for teachers to engender "real discussions" 8 0 that get to the heart of d i f f i c u l t issues. Native educators had been finding a dearth of films about t h e i r people i n which they were not portrayed as xthe victim'. Teachers at large needed films that were of a length that would be useable i n a fifty-minute class s i t u a t i o n , which would allow for pre- and post-viewing discussion. Thus the series came about, to an overwhelmingly successful reception. 8 1 Based upon a pedagogy designed "to help educate students for s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y " , the series "enlarges and complicates" students' thinking by way of a c t i v i t i e s that r e f l e c t a philosophy of c r i t i c a l thinking and deconstruction. 8 2 Demanding that students analyse t h e i r knowledge and the sources of t h e i r knowledge, the viewing a c t i v i t i e s focus on close investigation of the films, and the stereotypes, biases, and attitudes inherent within them. An element that I f i n d most i n t e r e s t i n g and adventurous i n the series i s the ^Integration' portions of the a c t i v i t i e s . In these exercises, the student i s asked questions drawn 117 from the content of the f i l m but extrapolated to incorporate his/her experience, and to leap beyond the s t r i c t u r e s of the subject into the realm of the student's l i f e . This process of personalizing the issues demands a high degree of p a r t i c i p a t i o n and commitment from the student, causing an understanding to occur through i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n and consequent empowerment. F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken i l l u s t r a t e s an example of what can and i s being done to educate i n both the areas of Native issues and media l i t e r a c y . Thoroughgoing and innovative, the series presents a model to be followed i n terms of using documentary f i l m for consciousness r a i s i n g and the deconstruction of myths. It i s hoped that the analysis of the six films i n t h i s study reveal the type of deconstruction that would be h e l p f u l . Instead of negating them for t h e i r outdated and r a c i s t perspectives, keeping them tucked away on sixteen millimetre reels and buried i n archival vaults, why not a c t i v e l y use the older films to show how the dominant viewpoint has evolved? Is denial not just as dangerous as b l i n d acceptance? Just as the early films bear analysis, so too do the more recent. A system of c r i t i c a l appraisal of the documentary f i l m as educational tool would be applied to the ' p o l i t i c a l l y correct' perspective as rigorously as to that of the 'voice-of-God.' As the National Film Board of Canada faces massive cutbacks which are a f f e c t i n g both the production and 118 educational facets of the organization, the role that documentary f i l m w i l l play i n the coming half century i s less c e r t a i n than i t has been i n the past. Closing a l l but three video lending l i b r a r i e s i n 1995, eliminating educational l i a i s o n o f f i c e r s , and reducing the number of filmmakers and films produced i s most c e r t a i n l y going to change the ways i n which Canadians perceive the NFB documentary. Decreased production and .distribution w i l l undoubtedly s t i f l e the creative output we have come to associate with t h i s national i n s t i t u t i o n . The s h i f t toward t e l e v i s i o n broadcast of films as the primary locus of viewing w i l l r a d i c a l l y change the nature of the documentary experience. Instead of l o c a l cinemas o f f e r i n g documentary evenings, groups renting documentaries for the purpose of discussion or work-related sessions, and teachers planning lessons around cert a i n films, Canadians w i l l for the most part catch the occasional documentary f i l m on the s p e c i a l t y t e l e v i s i o n cable channels, perhaps unaware that they are seeing National Film Board material. We are being t o l d that these changes w i l l not be so dramatic, and yet with the most recent announcement of the eradication of the Montreal studio f a c i l i t y , major layo f f s of established and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y renowned filmmakers, as well as further cuts to d i s t r i b u t i o n 8 3 , how can t h i s be so? 119 I can only hope that whatever the ultimate demise of this acclaimed purveyor of information and art, the National Film Board, we as a society continue to value the medium of documentary f i l m . Having taken for granted the r i c h resource that i s a national and international treasure, we are faced at the very least with the p o s s i b i l i t y of a much paler version of t h i s i n s t i t u t i o n . Less money means not only fewer but less adventuresome projects; p r a c t i c a l i t y and e f f i c a c y w i l l unquestionably reign over innovation and experimentation. Therefore, i t f a l l s upon us a l l to appreciate and u t i l i z e those documentaries that have been made, on a range of topics, and from a l l periods, not only with an eye to persuading our Ministers of Education and Heritage and Culture that we demand t h i s piece of our culture to remain a l i v e , but, perhaps, so that we can know what we've got before i t ' s gone. 120 Endnotes 1. Yasmin Jiwani, filmmaker, Through the Lens, t e l e v i s i o n performance, Knowledge Network, 12 February, 1996. 2. See Gary Evans, In The National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949-1989 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 169-171 for a h i s t o r i c a l outline of Native involvement i n national Film Board films. Studio 1, the NFB studio run by Native filmmakers, has been i n existence since the early 1990's. It was established both to t r a i n Native filmmakers and provide an environment whereby creative control could become established. 3. Robert Miles, Racism (London: Routledge, 1989), 11. Also see Robert F. Berkhofer Jr., The White Man's Indian; Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the Present (New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1978), 27. 4. See Berkhofer, loc. c i t . Also see Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 154-6. 5. For a discussion of t h i s philosophy of So c i a l Darwinism see Berkhofer, 47-55, and Barman, 154. 6. Marsden and Nachbar, "The Indian i n the Movies," History of Indian-White Relations, ed. Wilcomb E. Washburn, Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 4 (Washington: Smithsonian I n s t i t u t i o n , 1988), 608 7. Berkhofer, 65. 8. Ibid, 3. 9. For a thorough discussion of th i s concept see Berkhofer, 25-31, 72-80, 88, 101, 144-45, Daniel Francis, The Imaginary Indian; the Image of the Indian i n Canadian Culture (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992), 16-60, L e s l i e Monkman, A Native Heritage: Images of the Indian i n English-Canadian Literature (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981), [ l i t e r a r y history] 65-95, and Terry Goldie, Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene i n Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Literatures (Kingston, Ontario: McGill-Queens University Press, 1989). 121 10. R. J. Surtees, "The Changing Image of the Canadian Indian: An H i s t o r i c a l Approach," ed. D.A. Muise, Approaches to Native History i n Canada (Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, 1977), 111-125. 11. Ibid, 113. 12. Barman, 152-4. 13. Ibid, 154-6. 14. Gretchen M. B a t a i l l e and Charles L.P. S i l e t , The Pretend Indians: Images of Native Americans i n the Movies (Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1980), x x v i i . 15. Vine Deloria, "Forward: American Fantasy," ed. B a t a i l l e and S i l e t , x i . 16. Marsden and Nachbar, op. c i t . , 609-10. 17. John A. Price, "The Stereotyping of North 7American Indians i n Motion Pictures", ed. B a t a i l l e and S i l e t , 75. 18. Ibid, 76. 19. This i s a synopsis of various doeumentarists' views. For a thorough discussion, see Robert Edmonds, Anthropology on Film (Dayton: Pflaum Publishing, 1974), 11-15. 20. Michael Renov, Theorizing Documentary (New York: Routledge, 1993), 26. 21. Arlene Moscovitch, Constructing Reality; Exploring Media Issues i n Documentary (Montreal: National Film Board, 1993), 2. 22. P h i l i p Rosen, "Document and Documentary: On the Persistence of H i s t o r i c a l Concepts," ed. Renov, 87. 23. B i l l Nichols, Representing Reality; Issues and Concepts i n Documentary (Bloominton and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991), 17. 24. Ibid, 18. 25. The following i s a summary of Nichols' h i s t o r i c a l analysis of the evolution of documentary form. A thorough discussion may be found i n Representing Reality, 32-75. See also Paul Rotha, Documentary Film: The Use of the Film 122 Medium to Interpret Creatively and In Social Terms the L i f e of the People as It Exists i n Reality (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1952). 26. Nichols, Representing Reality 35. 27. Ibid, 43. 28. Ibid, 44. 29. Ibid, loc. c i t . 30. Ibid, 61. 31. Ibid, 63. 32. Michael Apple, Ideology and Curriculum Routledge, 1990), 14. 33. E. W. Eisner, The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs (New York: Macmillan, 1985), 96-7. 34. Apple, 8. 35. Ibid, 14. 36. Elizabeth Ellsworth, The Ideology of Images i n Educational Media; Hidden Curriculum i n the Classroom (New York: Teachers College Press, 1990), 1, and Elizabeth Ellsworth, "I Pledge Allegiance: The P o l i t i c s of Reading and Using Educational Films", eds. Cameron McCarthy and Warren Critchlow, Race, Identity, and Representation i n Education (London: Routledge, 1993), 201. 37. Ellsworth, I Pledge Allegiance, 204. 37. Ibid, 202. 38. Ibid, 209-10. 39. J.R. Martin, "What Should We Do With a Hidden Curriculum When We Find One?" Curriculum Inquiry 6, 197 6, 135-51. 40. Ibid, 148. 41. Ibid, 145. 123 42. Henri Giroux, "Theories of Reproduction and Resistance i n the New Sociology of Education: A C r i t i c a l A nalysis," Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 53, August 1983, 293. 43. Ellsworth, The Ideology of Images, 3. 44. Apple, 16, Ellsworth, I Pledge Allegiance, 214. 45. Jan Clemson, Education Liason O f f i c e r , National Film Board, P a c i f i c Region, November, 1995. 46. Ibid. 47. Moscovitch, x v i . 48. For a thorough discussion of the h i s t o r y of the White disavowel and outlawing of the Potlatch see Douglas Cole, and Aldona J o n a i t i s , C h i e f l y Feasts and Beastly Cheats: Salvaging and Savaging the Kwakiutl Potlatch, (Vancouver, B.C.: Douglas and Mclntyre, 1992). 49. A docudrama i s a dramatized f i l m based on r e a l events. 50. Regarding t h i s notion of saving through acculturation, and the consequent p o l i c i e s established therein, see Berkhofer and Francis. 1. Nichols, 223. 52. Berkhofer documents th i s process i n part three of The White Man's Indian, "Imagery i n Literature, Art, and Philosophy: The Indian i n White Imagination and Ideology", 71-111. 53. Nichols, 34-5. 54. Ibid, 21. 55. Ibid, 35. 56. Ibid, 38. 57. The hi s t o r y of Indian/White re l a t i o n s i s beyond the scope of t h i s thesis. For comprehensive treatment of t h i s subject please refer to Olive Dickason, The Canadian Connection: A Reader of Early Amer-Indian/Early European Experiences (Athabaska, Alberta: Alberta University Press, 1995), Olive Dickason, Canada's F i r s t Nations; A History of 124 Founding Peoples from E a r l i e s t Times (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), and J.R. M i l l e r , Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations i n Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1989). 58. Linda A l c o f f introduces the s a l i e n t points regarding issues of appropriation of voice i n her a r t i c l e "The Problem of Speaking for Others," C u l t u r a l Critique, Winter 1991-92, 5-32. Arguing that by speaking for others, one i s engaged i n representing who they are, and thus p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the construction of an image, A l c o f f s a r t i c l e provides valuable insights to the nature of t h i s t h e s i s . 59. Although being a Quebecois aligns him somewhat with the p o s i t i o n of Native people against English Canada, he i s also aware of his connection to a province with an extremely bad reputation for prejudice towards i t s Native people. These facts, coupled with his being the son of immigrants who f l e d pogroms and genocide i n Europe, cause Bulbulian to both f i g h t for s o c i a l j u s t i c e and also to empathize with and respect the p o s i t i o n of the Other. See Peter Steven, Brink of Reality; New Canadian Documentary Film and Video (Toronto: Between the Lines, 1993), 103, 108. 60. Ibid, 109. 61. Ibid, 101. 62. Voice-over, Saltwater People. 63. Nichols, 129. 64. In the early 1960's various filming equipment was developed which allowed for v i s u a l and audio tracks to be recorded simultaneously. This i s termed ^synchronous sound' recording, and the cameras concerned were the E c l a i r NPR, and the A r r i f l e x BL, as well as the Nagra portable tape recorder. 65. Ray Conlogue, "Carving out a new role for the NFB", Globe and Mail, A15, 30 January, 1996. 66. Many contemporary documentarists and theor i s t s are avid proponents of such changes. See theorists such as Renov, Rosen, and Trinh Minh-ha (both i n Renov) for further explanation of these ideas. 67. Renov, 6. 125 68. Ibid, 35. 69. The issues concerning voice and i t s appropriation are complex and thus beyond the scope of t h i s theses. A l c o f f provides a good introduction. See also Paul Rabinow, "Discourse and Power: On the Limits of Ethnographic Texts," i n D i a l e c t i c a l Anthropology, 10-1 and 2 (July 1985), 1-14, Edward Said, "Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's Interlocutors," C r i t i c a l Inquiry, Winter 1989, Volume 15, Number 2, 205-225, and Trinh T. Minh-ha, Woman, Native, Other: Writing P o s t c o l o n i a l i t y and Feminism (Bloominton: Indiana University Press, 1989).. 70. See A l c o f f , 9. 71. Steven, 101. 72. Ibid, 102. 73. Hugh Brody, speaking at a public screening of The Washing of Tears, Ridge Theatre, Vancouver, B.C., March, 1994. 74. Loretta Todd, speaking at the UBC Museum of Anthropology, November, 1992. 75. Apple, 13. 76. Apple, 14. 77. Geraldine Bob, Gary Marcuse, Deanne Nyce, and Lorna Williams, F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken - Teacher's Guide (Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, 1993), 6. 78. Ibid, 7. 79. Ibid, 6. 80. Gary Marcuse, March, 1996. 81. F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken has been a best s e l l e r , s e l l i n g roughly f i v e times the average number of package sets i n Canada, says Gary Marcuse, March, 1996. 82. This philosophy i s evidenced i n the following, reprinted from 7 of F i r s t Nations; The C i r c l e Unbroken: 126 THE TEACHING PROCESS The pedagogy used i n t h i s series i s designed to help educate students for s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . The key elements of the teaching process are: • an emphasis on the concept of social/cultural/environmental/global interdependence • a recognition of the importance of b u i l d i n g a community within the classroom and the school, and an emphasis on developing decision-making s k i l l s within the context of a democratic classroom • an emphasis on giving students a voice and l i s t e n i n g to t h e i r questions and concerns. This approach begins with what the students already know; helps them to examine c r i t i c a l l y the sources of t h e i r information and the assumptions and biases inherent i n those sources; and then moves on to questions the students r a i s e . • the i n c l u s i o n of multiple perspectives; seek wisdom from a l l ages • an emphasis on communication (verbal and non-verbal) as an attitude as well as a s k i l l ; on seeking common ground; and on t o l e r a t i n g ambiguity and the uncertainty of knowledge • a recognition of the importance of forming and acting upon convictions and commitments, while staying open to new ideas and the p o s s i b i l i t y of being wrong • the i n c l u s i o n of a c t i v i t i e s for information, feeling, and action, f a c i l i t a t i n g the integration of s p i r i t and mind • to create a climate where a l l are teachers, a l l are learners. 83. The Federal Budget tabled on March 6, 1996 outlines reductions i n funding to the National Film Board of ten 127 m i l l i o n d o l l a r s (from $75,800 i n 1995-96 to $65,184 i n 1996-97), which Film Comissioner Sandra Macdonald c a l l s "a major budget cut for the NFB". Jan Clemson commented upon these cuts as follows (March 22, 1996): D i s t r i b u t i o n has been v i r t u a l l y eliminated across the country, including a l l video lending l i b r a r i e s except Montreal [this l a t e s t termination of the Toronto and Ottawa l i b r a r i e s due to occur i n the summer of 1996], except for a small marketing s t a f f and p u b l i c i s t s , whose sole r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i s to stimulate sales on a cost-recovery basis. The success of the National Film Board over the l a s t f i f t y - s e v e n years has obviously been i n the qu a l i t y of i t s productions, but also very important has been i t s a b i l i t y to connect with the Canadian public on the use of films and provide a valuable two-way communications l i n k . The disappearance of d i s t r i b u t i o n a c t i v i t i e s and community l i a i s o n w i l l reduce the NFB i n the eyes of the public to a remote f i l m producer or funding agency, which could e a s i l y be absorbed by either T e l e f i l m Canada or the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 128 References Adams, John W. 1979. Representation and Context i n the Ethnographic Film. Film C r i t i c i s m Vol. IV No. 1: 89-100) . A l c o f f , Linda. 1991. The Problem of Speaking for Others. Cul t u r a l Critique Winter 1991-92: 5-32. Apple, Michael. 1990. Ideology and Curriculum. New York: Routledge. Appleford, Robert. 1995. 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What Should We Do With a Hidden Curriculum When We Find One?, Curriculum Inquiry 6, 1976: 135-51. McLean, Grant. 1955. No Longer Vanishing 16mm. 28 min. Produced and d i s t r i b u t e d by the National Film Board of Canada, Montreal. Miles, Robert 1989. Racism. London: Routledge. M i l l e r , J.R. 1989. Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens: A History of Indian-White Relations i n Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Monkman, L. 1981. A Native Heritage: Images of the Indian i n English-Canadian L i t e r a t u r e . Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Moscovitch, Arlene. 1993. Constructing Reality; Exploring Media Issues i n Documentary. Montreal: National Film Board. 132 Nash, M.T. 1983. (Unpublished PHD t h e s i s ) . Images of Women in National Film Board of Canada Films During World War II and the Post-War Years (1939 to 1949). Montreal: McGill University. Nelson, Joyce. 1988. The Colonized Eye: Rethinking the Grierson Legend. Toronto: Between the Lines Press. 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Exposing Yourself:Reflexivity, anthropology, and f i l m . Semiotica 30 - 1/2 : 153-79. Said, Edward. 1989. Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's Interlocutors. C r i t i c a l Inquiry, Winter 1989, Vol. 15, No. 2: 205-225. Sealey, D. Bruce. 1973. The Indians of Canada: An H i s t o r i c a l Sketch. In eds. D. Bruce Sealey and Verna J. Kirkness (1973). Indians Without T i p i s ; A Resource Book by Indians and Metis, 9-38. Winnipeg: William Clare (Manitoba) Limited. 133 Stam, Robert and Louise Spence. 1985. Colonialism, Racism, and Representation: Ah Introduction. In B i l l Nichols. Movies and Methods Volume II, 632-648. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press. Stedman, Raymond William. 1982. Shadows of the Indian. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press. Steven, Peter. 1993. Brink of Reality; New Canadian Documentary Film and Video. Toronto: Between the Lines. Surtees, R. J. 1977. The Changing Image of the Canadian Indian: An H i s t o r i c a l Approach. In ed. D.A. Muise Approaches to Native History i n Canada, 111-125. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada. Swan, Susan. 1984. Educative A c t i v i t i e s of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and The National Film Board of Canada. Ottawa: The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. T h i s t l e , Paul C. 1993. Images of Native People Associated with the Kelsey Event. Native Studies Review 9, No. 1: 33-112. Todd, Loretta. 1991. The Learning Path videorecording 59 min. Produced and d i s t r i b u t e d by the National Film Board of Canada, Montreal. . 1992. Unpublished Lecture. Vancouver: University of B r i t i s h Columbia Museum of Anthropology, November 17, 1992. Trinh, T. Minh-ha. 1989. Woman, Native, Other: Writing P o s t c o l o n i a l i t y and Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. . 1993. The T o t a l i z i n g Quest of Meaning. In Theorizing Documentary, ed. Michael Renov, 90-107. New York: Routledge. 134 Appendix A Questions Which I Considered as I Viewed the Films. Technical/Factual 1) Who i s the film's audience? 2) Does the f i l m follow a narrative storyline? 3) What i s the cinematic structure of the film? 4) What v i s u a l elements are used i n the f i l m (e.g.: a r c h i v a l footage, photographs, animation, news footage, etc.) and what e f f e c t do these have? 5) How does the f i l m construct the image of the Indian? What camera techniques does th i s f i l m use? What eff e c t s result? (e.g.: close-up, medium/close, medium, longshot, low angle, high angle, wide-angle, slow-motion) 6) Does the f i l m have an unseen narrator other, than the voices of the subjects? 7) Does the f i l m manipulate the soundtrack s i g n i f i c a n t l y ? How? What kind(s) of music does i t employ? Is the music used to heighten the impact of what i s being said, or to create a sense of drama? Conceptual 8) What i s the central message? What are the hidden messages? Does the f i l m have an argument? Does i t have a p o l i t i c a l agenda? 9) I s t h e f i l m o f the E x p o s i t o r y , O b s e r v a t i o n a l , I n t e r a c t i o n a l o r R e f l e x i v e mode o f documentary C o n c l u s i o n 10) Does t h e f i l m r e s p e c t t h i s c u l t u r e ? 11) Does t h e f i l m p o r t r a y g u i l t r e . W h i t e / I n d i a n r e l a t i o n s h i p ? 12) Does t h e f i l m r o m a n t i c i z e I n d i a n c u l t u r e ? How? 13) Does t h e f i l m r o m a n t i c i z e White c u l t u r e ? How? 14) What i s t h e f i l m ' s tone? Does i t have e m o t i o n a l resonance? 15) I s t h e f i l m e x c i t i n g v i s u a l l y ? How so? 

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