Kiviaq vs. Canada

The most recent grade eleven program of study created for social studies in Alberta deals with the concept of nationalism. Like other high school level social studies courses, the new curriculum includes a much greater focus on First Nations issues than what had been included in the past.

Quoting from the program of studies:
“Students will . . . evaluate the importance of reconciling contending nationalist loyalties (Canadian nationalism, First Nations and Métis nationalism, ethnic nationalism in Canada, civic nationalism in Canada, Québécois nationalism, Inuit perspectives on nationalism)”

A great resource that I have found is the movie Kiviaq vs. Canada. The film is a documentary from filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk. The subject of the film, Kiviaq is an Inuit man who was moved to Edmonton as a boy. He discusses his life and in the process gives great insight into the concept of nationalist loyalty, marginalization, and assimilation. Kiviaq was given the name David Ward by his father, and grew up boxing, playing football (ironically for a period for the Edmonton Eskimos), and working as an alderman and radio host. Later in life, he went back to school and became a lawyer. The film also examines his legal battles to be recognized by his Inuit name, and the challenges to have the Inuit receive similar funding as other First Nations people in Canada. The McGraw-Hill Ryerson textbooks for Social Studies 20-1 and 20-2 each have a short section dedicated to the story.

In the context of ETEC 521, the film is a great example of Aboriginal film makers using the media to illuminate an issue. This is not presented as a movie about Inuit issues. The issues become clear through an examination of the subject, Kiviaq.

September 30, 2010   No Comments