Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reel Injuns

Russell Means, American Indian Movement Leader featured in the film Reel Injuns

Every story is different based upon who tells it.  Nothing is more true than the story of Thanksgiving.  On this day, in addition to spending time with family and friends, we spend some time learning about the history of Native people.  We watched the film Reel Injuns. Excellent would be putting it mildly.  It's the story of how the image of Native people, mostly negative, has been created by Hollywood.  It's a superb film timeline ending with what one of the narrators describes as "progress" in Native films created by Native people.  Here is a list, complete with Netflix links, to some of the more positive First Nation People films, as recommended by Jesse Wente, film critic in Reel Injuns. (By the way, Netflix is a wonderful educational too!)

Smoke Signals
Whale Rider
Once We Were Warriors (Excellent!)
Ten Canoes
Rabbit Proof Fence (Outstanding!)

After the film was over, KingMan no doubt had a different perspective on terms such as "Indian Giver" and the "Red Skins."  Films are an excellent way to teach and begin important discussions.  Click this link for the Teacher's Guide for Reel Injuns

“When you’re kids and you’re trying to play Cowboys and Indians, and if you’re an Indian kid – well, doesn’t that mean you’re going to lose all the time?”

Jesse Wente has been the weekly film critic for CBC Radio for nearly a decade. He also appears on Q, CBC Radio’s national arts and culture show, and is seen regularly on TVO’s Saturday Night at the Movies. Jesse is a programmer at the Toronto International Film Festival as well as the imagine NATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. He is also president of Native Earth Performing Arts, Canada’s oldest Aboriginal theatre company.

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