ARTICLES BY Martin Siberok

Films to watch at this year's First Peoples' Festival

Here are three films to watch out for at the First People’s Film Festival, organized by Land InSights / Terres en vues. Films will be screened from July 30 to August 5, and to check out the detailed schedule, go to Xingu (Jungle) Cao Hamburger (Brazil, 103 min) Xingu is a Brazilian ... read more ››

Images of assimilation

Surrounded by the glass towers of downtown Montreal, a row of 13 metal display panels featuring a collection of black-and-white photographs populate a block on the tree-lined McGill College Avenue. Every day, throngs of office workers, students and tourists stroll pass these images. Some briefly glance at the photographs, while others ... read more ››

Moving in a new direction

It’s no surprise that the atmosphere is upbeat in the offices of Minority Media. On August 14, the Montreal-based video-game company released Papo & Yo, the first game it has developed – and the response has been very positive. Set up in 2010, Minority Media is an amalgamation of individuals from ... read more ››

Still here

  “The Indian as he has hitherto been is on the point of passing away,” states US President Theodore Roosevelt on Oct. 1, 1906. “It would be a veritable calamity if a vivid and truthful record of these conditions were not kept.” Those words appear in the foreword in The North American ... read more ››

Sacred right

Visit the Mohawk community of Kahnawake and the number of smoke shops within the community is staggering. Along the major routes cutting through the reserve, smoke shops line the roadsides. Every second property seems to have a small shed on it selling cigarettes. It seems like everyone is involved in ... read more ››

Standing proud

The poster for the film Sauvage says it all. It’s a drawing of an Aboriginal man decked out in traditional clothes and a feathered headdress speaking on a cellphone. It’s this image that’s at the heart of this uncompromising, yet appealing documentary as it delves into the issue of Aboriginals ... read more ››

A worthy recognition

After a successful year on the international film-festival circuit and brief theatrical runs in several major Canadian cities, Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian keeps making headlines. On April 1, filmmaker Neil Diamond and the production crew at Rezolution Films heard the unbelievable news that Reel Injun had ... read more ››

And the winner is…

The past several weeks have been a rollercoaster ride for the CerAmony boys. Matthew Iserhoff and Pakesso Mukash returned to Montreal from a recent visit to Toronto with a shiny new possession in their hands – a Juno statue for Best Aboriginal Recording of the Year. Relaxing at home after a ... read more ››

Celebrating National Aboriginal Day in Montreal

It was a beautiful sunny day as a diverse group of people congregated at the entrance of the Montreal Botanical Garden on June 21, National Aboriginal Day. Most striking among the group were several Elders and youths dressed in traditional clothes and carrying drums. Then shortly after 10 am, a conch was ... read more ››

Northern songbird

Meeting Elisapie Isaac is like hooking up with an old friend you haven’t seen for years. Within minutes, you are in deep conversation catching up on past events. As the electronic music pulsated over the speakers in the designer lounge of the Sofitel Hotel in downtown Montreal, the strikingly attractive Inuk ... read more ››

Indigenous images

Here are several films to watch out for at the First People’s Film Festival, organized by Land InSights / Terres en vues. Films will be screened from June 16 to June 23, and to check out the detailed schedule, go to Pudana: Last of the Line Anastasia Lapsui & Markku Lehmuskallio (Finland, 83 ... read more ››

Young at Heart

In early October, Buffy Sainte-Marie returned to Montreal to perform at the Église St-Jean-Baptiste as part of the Pop Montreal music festival. When tracked down in New York City a week before her arrival, Sainte-Marie was curious about the venue. “What’s the church like? Does it have good acoustics? I’ve got ... read more ››

Hey, is that me on the screen?

The portrayal of Indians on the silver screen has always intrigued Neil Diamond. That’s because he is a filmmaker and a Cree. And that is why he decided to make a feature-length documentary on the way Hollywood has depicted North American Natives over the last 120 years. On September 15, Reel ... read more ››

Space Indian

We’ve all stared into space and wondered what it would be like to be up there in the cosmos looking down at our planet. Only a handful of individuals have had that kind of experience – and one of them is John B. Herrington. Besides being a former NASA astronaut, Herrington ... read more ››

Empowering art

The Native Friendship Centre of Montreal (MFCM) has a fantastic youth centre called the Inter-Tribal Youth Centre of Montreal (ITYC) which boasts a stone-carving room and a music room as well as being well equipped to carry out numerous activities and projects. Of course, the need is always great for ... read more ››

The prodigal son returns

Matthew Coon Come is a man on the move. On July 30, Coon Come won the office of Grand Chief with 63% of the vote, soundly defeating his opponent, incumbent Matthew Mukash. The newly elected Grand Chief of Eeyou Istchee has been on the road all day as he drives to ... read more ››

To pave or not to pave

You would think building a new road would be a straightforward issue. But when it concerns the extension of the James Bay Highway from Radisson to Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, it’s a whole other story. In late June, the Ministère des transport du Québec released a statement saying that the SNC-Lavalin/GENIVAR consortium had chosen ... read more ››

Learning about the shrooms

There’s more to find in the bush than meets the eye. That’s what Pierre Chevrier is betting on. The Economic Development Advisor and Sustainable Development Officer for the James Bay Development Society (SDBJ) in Matagami, Chevrier is spearheading a pilot project that will champion the development of the mushroom in Eeyou ... read more ››

Vegetable fun

The game of street hockey will never be the same for a group of young Natives from the Val-d’Or Native Friendship Centre. On July 1 and 2, Loco Locass, the popular francophone hip-hop band, visited the centre and hooked up with 12 Native youths, between the ages of 12 and 16, ... read more ››

Controlling the waste

Just when you thought everything is in place, you realize it’s not. That’s what Rod Mamianskum is discovering. He’s the new Local Environment Administrator who took over the Environment and Land Management Department in Wemindji four months ago. He’s now responsible for several portfolios including the community’s water system and ... read more ››

Changing Times

Things are on the move in Ouje-Bougoumou. Not only has the community just received its full status under the Cree Naskapi Act, but the ever-expanding Ouje is focussing on its energy sources. The community has long been at the cutting edge of energy efficiency and self-sufficiency when, in 1992, it set ... read more ››

Cree Events

If you are traveling to another community this summer, have a look at what’s going on and plan your trip accordingly. Among the Cree communities – in Quebec and Ontario – there are numerous activities, sports events, festivals and celebrations that happen throughout the summer months with something that will ... read more ››

19th First Peoples’ Festival film reviews

Rain of the Children Vincent Ward (New Zealand, 110 min) In the late 1970s when New Zealand director Vincent Ward was 21, he spent two years working on a documentary about an elderly Maori woman and her schizophrenic son living in a rural area on the North Island. Thirty years later, the world-renown ... read more ››

An Inspiring Force

Last year, former Grand Chief Billy Diamond was named a Dobson Fellow by the Dobson Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies at McGill University in Montreal. However, due to a massive stroke he suffered in April 2008, Diamond was unable to attend the awards ceremony and was presented the honour at a later ... read more ››

Stating the obvious

The death of any individual is hard to deal with. It is even harder when that loss is tragic. But when an incident involves two young men whose lives were tragically cut short, questions need to be asked. On January 8, 2006, Ricardo Wesley, 22, and James Goodwin, 20, died of ... read more ››

The Kids Aren’t Alright

When it comes to healthy living, Native youth aren’t doing that well. If you’re a child growing up on a reserve the odds are stacked up against you from Day One – that’s according to a recent health study on Aboriginal children. On March 30, the Toronto-based Centre for Research on ... read more ››