Docu about relatively recent attempts by Quebec natives to settle land-claim issues doesn't come close to the power of multiple award-winning helmer Alanis Obamsawin's previous "Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance," but its relatively upbeat ending does make for a nice change in coverage of aboriginal affairs.

Docu about relatively recent attempts by Quebec natives to settle land-claim issues doesn’t come close to the power of multiple award-winning helmer Alanis Obamsawin’s previous “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance,” but its relatively upbeat ending does make for a nice change in coverage of aboriginal affairs. Fine programming for pubcasters and aboriginal skeins, pic could nevertheless use an update soon.

Looking at developments in logging and fishing in areas around the Miqmaq reservation on the Gaspe Peninsula, “Our Nationhood” draws on helmer’s earlier “Incident at Restigouche,” which covered a violent 1981 contretemps between Quebec police and local fisherfolk. Her proximity to the action way back then compares with relatively tepid proceedings here, which involve cutting from chats with recent tribal leaders to pompous, sometimes oblivious responses by Quebec City officials, who refer to natives in shockingly patronizing terms. The sudden succession in power from articulate hereditary Miqmaq chief Gary Metallic to his more pugnacious brother Allison should have been explored further. In any case, the final easing of literal loggerheads between the two sides does seem to yield solid results.

Our Nationhood

Canada

Production

A National Film Board of Canada production, with assistance from the Canadian Television Fund. Produced by Alanis Obomsawin. Executive producer, Sally Bochner. Directed, written by Alanis Obomsawin.

Crew

Camera (color, BetaSP), Philippe Amiguet, Yoan Cart, Michel La Veux, Calvin Barnaby; editor, Alison Burns; music, Francis Grandmont. Reviewed on videocassette at Vancouver Film Festival (Canadian Images), Oct. 10, 2003. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Gary Metallic, Allison Metallic.
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