Friday, July 23, 2010

The Other Side of the Ledger


I discovered this film on the National Film Board of Canada website today, which I was not aware of before. I think it has a lot to say, things that needed to be said, and I want to share them with my readers. Some of the white traders the indigenous peoples worked with, knew the natives were being exploited and refused to participate. Others knew it was wrong but just looked the other way. But far too many knowingly and willingly participated, using dishonest and immoral business practices with them.

It is described as a documentary about...
The Hudson's Bay Company's 300th anniversary celebration was no occasion for joy among the people whose lives were tied to the trading stores. This film, narrated by George Manuel, president of the National Indian Brotherhood, presents the view of spokesmen for Canadian Indian and Métis groups. There is a sharp contrast between the official celebrations, with Queen Elizabeth II among the guests, and what Indians have to say about their lot in the Company's operations.
It was one of the first NFB films made by a [Canadian] First Nations filmmaker. George Manuel, then president of the National Indian Brotherhood, narrated the film; he presents the views of spokesmen from First Nations and Métis groups, including Métis historian and activist Howard Adams. They discuss the unscrupulous economic control the Hudson’s Bay Company held over First Nations and Métis peoples.