This theme focuses on the ways in which Aboriginal peoples have been represented in NFB documentaries. Film excerpts illustrate how the representation of Aboriginal peoples has evolved over the last fifty years.


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Overall Objective
Clearly there has been an evolution in how the media has portrayed Aboriginal people through the ages. The most significant advancement has been the emergence of Aboriginal filmmakers, whose work provides an authentic look at our Aboriginal peoples, cultures and issues. The suggested activities for this theme will engage students in critical thinking exercises that examine stereotypes and the role the media plays in accurately representing all people and their cultures.

Grade Levels

Content Areas
Media Studies
Language Arts
Social Studies
Native Studies
Computer Literacy

Films (and excerpts used)
How to Build an Igloo, 1950, excerpt 1 (1 min 24 s – 2 min 6 s)
Land of the Long Day, 1952, excerpt 1 (27 min 51 s – 29 min 17 s)
Circle of the Sun, 1960, excerpt 2 (24 min 37 s – 27 min 44 s)
Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance, 1993, excerpt 6 (1 h 19 min 19 s – 1 h 21 min 16 s)
My Village in Nunavik, 1999, excerpt 1 (10 min 4 s – 10 min 48 s)
Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole, 2003, excerpt 1 (14 min 54 s – 19 min 52 s)

Materials Required
Internet, data projector, VCR, notebook, poster paper, old magazines, markers and access to a computer lab that has some type of presentation software.

The suggested activities for this theme are intended to guide students through the critical process of analysis. An examination of the film excerpts and other visual media will be the basis for the critical analysis of stereotypes in the media.

There will also be an opportunity to examine the emergence of Aboriginal filmmakers and study their contributions to the art form. Students can be challenged to compare and contrast the documentaries made by and for Aboriginal Peoples.

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