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Gathering knowledge : Indigenous methodologies of land/place-based visual storytelling/filmmaking and visual sovereignty Christian, Dorothy


This dissertation addresses two questions that examine how localized cultural knowledge informs production practices in visual narratives produced for Fourth World Cinema and how Indigenous visual storytelling/filmmaking styles based in that knowledge determine the film elements, thus the cultural congruency of their selected aesthetics. Secwepemc-Syilx systems of knowledge in British Columbia are used as an exemplar for the development of a localized theory for creating visually sovereign narratives for Fourth World Cinema. This culturally specific ontology formulates a land/place-based identity, specific to Secwepemc-Syilx territories. Land, story and cultural protocols are central to this work and the seamless relational quality is illustrated by emphasizing how integral they are to Indigenous self-representation and identity. In the film discourse, the researcher brings together Manuel (Secwepemc) and Poslun’s Fourth World (1974) and Barclay’s (Maori) (1990, 2003a, 2003b) assertion of a Fourth Cinema to further develop the notion of a Fourth World Cinema. The ways that Indigenous film aesthetics shape the meaning of visual sovereignty and the concept of cultural congruency in constructing film elements are fundamental for Fourth World Cinema. In the globalization and film discourses the researcher interrogates how the concepts of political identity (indigeneity) and geographical location (deterritorialization) affect the treatment of Indigenous representation. An Indigenous Inquiry process is set in an Indigenous research paradigm that privileges Indigenous systems of knowledge. Indigenous and Euro-Western systems of knowledge(s) are juxtaposed to reveal the philosophical differences that affect land, story, and cultural protocols. Archibald’s (2008) seven Indigenous storywork principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity, reverence, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy set the framework for the shared conversations of 13 Indigenous knowledge keepers. The findings of the knowledge gathered illustrate the commonalities in the cosmologies within the diverse expansive Indigenous worldviews. Another layer of investigation documents a peer-to-peer discussion between the researcher who is a visual storyteller and a diverse group of 17 Indigenous filmmakers who shared stories from their film production experiences. Their perspectives affirmed the role of culture in contemporary film production practices and led to the development of the concepts of story, land, cultural protocols, and Indigenous identity in Fourth World Cinema.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International