Back to All Events

Short Series: Indigenous Voices

  • AGG 358 Gordon Street Guelph, ON, N1G 1Y1 Canada (map)

79 min

Co-presented by MT Space


Short, sweet, and strong, this series of short docs delves into the diverse experiences and influential stories of indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States.

Kelly Milner | CANADA
28 min

In 2006, the Carcross-Tagish First Nation introduced a program to connect its youth to their culture and the land. Singletrack to Success capitalizes on the vast network of overgrown trails running through the mountains around their tiny community. They brought in trail-building experts and elders who remembered the old trails, and hired local kids to be on the trail crew. 

Over the past 10 years, Singletrack to Success has refurbished or built almost 100 kilometres of mountain bike trails on Montana Mountain above Carcross. The trail crew now boasts master builders whose talents are recognized far and wide - Outside Magazine listed Carcross as the top new North American mountain biking destination in 2013. 

Getting the community to buy into the program hasn't always been easy. Change is hard and the influx of visitors to the tiny town has taken some getting used to.
But for the local youth, Singletrack to Success has been an enormous boost and is helping revitalize the small community’s economy. Carcross is now an internationally recognized mountain biking destination that sees thousands of visitors each year. 

And the kids are the ones who made it happen. 

This inspiring film is more than a bike movie. It’s about how land claim agreements are empowering First Nations and what one First Nation has done with that opportunity. 

Three Thousand
Asinnajaq | CANADA
14 min

My father was born in a spring igloo—half snow, half skin. I was born in a hospital, with jaundice and two teeth.”

With quiet command, the young Inuk artist Asinnajaq plunges us into a sublime imaginary universe12 minutes of luminescent, archive-inspired cinema that recast the past, present and future of Inuit in a radiant new light.

Delving into the NFB’s vast archive, she casts a net across the complicated history of Inuit cinematic representation, harvesting fleeting truths and fortuitous accidents from a range of sourcesnewsreels, propaganda, ethnographic docs, as well as work by Inuit filmmakers.

Two Inuit children peer with startling immediacy through a colonial lens. Decades later, other children hastily look away from an intrusive camera. Later still, Asinnajaq’s own grandmother fashions sea lyme grass into a basket, at ease under the tender gaze of documentarian Jobie Weetaluktuk, the director’s father.

Part conjuror, part seamstress, Asinnajaq fuses contemporary sensibilities with the economic aesthetic of her ancestors, overlaying a quilt of hand-drawn and CGI animation with shimmering fragments of historic moving image. In reimagining the archive for a new century, she looks to a future of vast and beautiful possibility

Turning Tables
Chrisann Hessing | CANADA
16 min

In his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Joshua DePerry is known in the Anishinaabe community as a colourful “fancy dancer” who impressively integrates contemporary dance moves at traditional pow wows. In Toronto, he is known as Classic Roots, an up-and-coming music producer and DJ who blends Indigenous sounds with modern techno and house music. 

His vibrant and optimistic personality is invigorating, and is particularly effective in First Nations communities, where he often works to encourage creativity and a greater sense of self-confidence in the youth. 

While he is deeply rooted in his identity and his community, he is ready to soar to new heights as an artist. He dreams of taking off to Berlin, the techno capital of the world, and prepares to take his career as an educator and entertainer to the next level. 

Turning Tables is an uplifting story of resilience, passion and faith, and ultimately a positive reminder that it is possible to look to the future without losing sight of the past. 

Holy Angels 
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve | CANADA
14 min


Jay Cardinal Villeneuve’s short documentary Holy Angels powerfully recaptures Canada’s colonialist history through impressionistic images and the fragmented language of a child.

In 1963, Lena Wandering Spirit became one of the more than 150,000 Indigenous children who were removed from their families and sent to residential school. Villeneuve met Lena through his work as a videographer with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Wandering Spirit spent six years at the Holy Angels Residential School in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Against a backdrop of now-empty hallways and classrooms, fragments of memory return—the shadowy figures of nuns, bits of remembered catechism, and the nightmare sounds of the basement boiler.

“They call us by number,” she remembers. Wandering Spirit’s experience, like that of many other adult survivors, remains jagged and bright with pain and fear. But other, deeper memories also endured—of running barefoot in summer and picking berries, of stories shared, and of the warmth and love of family.

Five-year-old performer Phoenix Sawan brings Wandering Spirit’s recollections to vivid life, dancing through an abandoned building in easy defiance of the bleak history of the place. Filmed with elegance, precision, and fierce determination to not only uncover history but move past it, Holy Angels speaks of the resilience of a people who have found ways of healing—and of coming home again.

dukʷibəɫ swatixʷtəd (Changer’s Land)
Tracy Rector | USA
5 min

Changers Land -image1 (1).jpeg

The land endures despite foreign incursions of power plants and highways, as the people sing and drum in celebration of the ocean, mountains and creatures of the Salish Sea.

Time: 2:30pm
Venue: AGG
Tickets: $12/PYWC

Event: Talkback with director Chrisann Hessing (Turning Tables) and subject/musician Joshua "Classic Roots" DePerry (Turning Tables)

Earlier Event: November 10
Inventing Tomorrow
Later Event: November 10
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch