The NFB – A Resource for Aboriginal Documentaries

While looking for Canadian Indigenous films to augment Nanook of the North, I found myself visiting the National Film Board of Canada.  The NFB site has a section dedicated to the Aboriginal Perspective in film from 1940-2004.  The thirty –two Aboriginal documentaries are organized thematically: arts, cinema and representation, colonialism and racism, history and origins, Indigenous knowledge, sovereignty and resistance, and youth.

Within this collection there are films made by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.  Stereotypes are rampant, however the collection provides a starting point for critically analyzing Indigenous stereotypes in Canadian Film.  The 1943 Eskimo Arts and Crafts film perpetuates many stereotypes of the Inuit.  Upon seeing Robert Flaherty’s name as a consultant on the film, I began to further understand his role in creating the media’s Aboriginal persona of the time.  This documentary, along with many others, would be appropriate Canadian content for teachers wishing to compare and contrast historical media stereotypes of Indigenous people.  It would be interesting to analyze Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal films, thereby encouraging critical thinking about Indigenous stereotypes and media literacy in our students.


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