Sovereignty and Resistance

This theme offers film excerpts on land claims, management of natural resources, ancestral rights and recovery of Aboriginal cultural artefacts. It also presents images showing the resistance of Aboriginal peoples to repression by non-Aboriginal culture.


Our Nationhood

Our Nationhood 3

Our Nationhood 5

Riel Country

Riel Country 3

Riel Country 4

Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole

Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole 2

Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole

2003, Director: Cardinal, Gil

excerpt 2      3 min 29 s


Description Gil Cardinal talks about how he came to make Totem: The Return of the G'psgolox Pole and how he heard about the totem pole.

Gil Cardinal is a director, writer and producer based in Edmonton, Alberta. Of Métis descent (Cree and French), much of his work relates to Aboriginal themes.

His film and television career began in 1973 behind a studio camera at Alberta’s educational television service, ACCESS. Leaving the studio floor, he became a staff producer-director. The 1980s were spent freelancing, mainly with the National Film Board, up until the establishment of his own production company in the early nineties. He now works as an independent under the banner of Homeland Films.

His documentary work covers a range of topics, including the search for his own Aboriginal heritage and natural family (Foster Child), the inclusion of First Nations in the 1992 Constitutional negotiations (Our Home and Native Land) and fetal alcohol syndrome (David with F.A.S.). His 2003 film, Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox pole, documents the efforts of the Haisla people of Kitamaat Village, B.C., to repatriate a totem pole from Sweden back to their community.

His dramatic work includes episodic television (North of 60, The Rez, Mentors), anthologies (Four Directions: The Border), a four-hour CBC mini-series (Big Bear) and the Galafilm/History Television Chiefs series – (episodes on Poundmaker and Joseph Brant). Recently, in 2006, he wrote and directed another four-hour CBC mini-series, Indian Summer: the Oka Crisis.

A filmography of his work with the NFB can be consulted by going to, clicking on “Find a film”, and searching for Gil Cardinal in the credits.


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