Education Resources

Classroom Resources


Education Packages – Film

These educational guides were originally commissioned by the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. They include a range of questions that will help teachers frame discussions with their class, links for further research or discussion, and activities for before, during, and after viewing. Linked to the Ontario curriculum.

Turning Tables
2017 | Canada | 16 min
Powwow step DJ Joshua DePerry, a.k.a. Classic Roots, integrates the sounds of his Anishinaabe heritage with techno and house music, bringing a new sound and skills set to Indigenous youth, and redefining what it means to be urban and Indigenous.

Standing Rock Part 1 – Sacred Water
2016 | Canada | 44 min
The protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline was the biggest gathering of Indigenous peoples in living memory, highlighting issues of Indigenous sovereignty, treaties, and the effects of resource extraction on human communities and the natural world.

Standing Rock Part 2 – Red Power
2017 | Canada | 44 min
Interviews with Indigenous historians and archival protest footage provide context to the 2016 protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The film sheds light on structural issues that continue to support colonialism, including the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and the Winters Doctrine.

Colonization Road
2016 | Canada | 44 min
Follow Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon as he travels across Ontario speaking to Indigenous and settler lawyers, historians, researchers, and policy makers about roads built by the colonial government – and their impact on Indigenous peoples.

The Oka Legacy  
2015 | Canada | 44 min
The film retraces Indigenous resistance in Kanehsatake in 1990 by talking with survivors, community leaders, and changemakers to examine how the 78-day Oka Crisis has transformed Indigenous identity in Canada.

Indictment
2017 | Canada | 44 min
Directors Lisa Jackson and Shane Belcourt weave a complex and fascinating true crime story, raising important questions about Canada’s justice system, the Indigenous woman behind the events, and the effects of colonialism on her community.

Bee Nation
2017 | Canada | 78 min
Watch Grade 5 student Thomas Ibister from Ahtahkakoop First Nation represent his school and community in Saskatchewan’s first province-wide First Nations Spelling Bee. The heart of the film lies with the families and teachers, who are challenging inequity and refusing to limit the children’s options.

Tunniit: Retracing the Lines of Inuit Tattoos
2010 | Canada | 50 min
Tunniit details Inuk director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril as she travels to Inuit communities to speak to elders about the art of Inuit tattooing and the cultural significance behind it. Tunniit explores what it means to revive a cultural practice and wear that practice as a marker of identity.

The Creator’s Game: The Quest for Gold and the Fight for Nationhood
2011 | Canada | 42 min
A look at the Iroquois Nationals, who travelled to the 2011 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship on Haudenosaunee Confederacy passports. The film details the traditional values behind lacrosse and how those values continue to bind families, communities, and nations within the Confederacy.

The Life You Want: A Young Woman’S Struggle Through Addiction
2011 | Canada | 34 min
In Eabametoong First Nation, the addiction rate is 80 per cent, with most people addicted to OxyContin. Doris Slipperjack gives viewers an unflinching look into prescription drug abuse and the effects of her addiction on her children and relationship – and how she reaches out for help.

Music Is The Medicine
2010 | Canada | 45 min
Six Nations blues guitarist Derek Miller struggles to make it big in the music industry. The film features concert footage, deeply personal interviews, and two years of travels from the studio to small-town Ontario to Nashville.

Reel Injun: On The Trail Of The Hollywood Indian
2009 | Canada | 86 min
Featuring clips from hundreds of classic films and interviews with actors and directors, the film examines how Indigenous filmmakers are changing the way Indigenous peoples are portrayed on screen.

Land Of Oil And Water
2009 | Canada | 44 min
First Nations elders, youth, and politicians reflecting on Canada’s tar sands, including destruction of the natural world, pre-colonial Indigenous ways of life, and participation in the market economy.

Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge And Climate Change
2009 | Canada | 60 min
From acclaimed director Zacharias Kunuk, the world’s first Inuktitut-language film about climate change, told in the voices of Inuit elders and hunters who detail the social and ecological effects of global warming in the Arctic.

Pushing The Line: Art Without Reservations
2009 | Canada | 48 min
Director Lisa Jackson showcases West Coast artists, including manga artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, carver Dempsey Bob, graffiti artist Andrew Dexel, and visual artist Marianne Nicolson, as they describe how Indigenous art is much more than totem poles and masks sold in tourist shops.

The Experimental Eskimos
2009 | Canada | 70 min
In the 1960s, the government of Canada relocated three 12-year-old Inuit to Ottawa, where they lived with foster families and attended school as part of a formal government experiment. The men became accomplished leaders but struggled with the loss of their Inuit identity.

Unreserved: The Work Of Louie Gong
2010 | Canada | 14 min
A profile of artist, activist, and teacher Louie Gong, who designs shoes, T-shirts, and skateboard decks using Coast Salish artistic forms, testing the boundary between traditional and contemporary.

Mémére Métisse/My Métis Grandmother
2008 | Canada | 30 min
Filmmaker Janelle Wookey wants to know why her grandmother, 73-year-old Cecile St. Amant, denies her Métis roots. Watch as Wookey helps her grandmother admit she is Métis and honour a past she has hidden for over 60 years.

Athlii Gwaii: The Line at Lyell
2010 | Canada | 47 min
A logging blockade is started by young people at Athlii Gwaii, but Haida elders ask them to step aside – because they want to be the first ones arrested. Pairing archival clips with contemporary interviews, the film examines the role of elders, the fallout of the protest, and the Haida relationship with the land.

Mohawk Girls
2005 | Canada | 63 min
Director Tracey Deer chronicles the lives of three girls from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory and the issues facing Indigenous youth: identity, family, school, drug and alcohol use, racism both on- and off-reserve, the role of cultural traditions, sexuality and teenage pregnancy, and making choices for the future.

Spirit Doctors
2010 | Canada | 40 min
Okanagan elders Mary and Ed Louie are traditional healers in B.C.’s Similkameen Valley. They discuss the science behind Indigenous medicine, how they must live cleanly in order to be able to heal others, and the things they give up in order to work for their communities.

Thirst
2007 | Canada | 14 min
First Nations communities across Canada do not have clean, safe drinking water. Director Gail Maurice shows us Keewaywin, an Oji-Cree community north of Red Lake, Ontario, where the water is contaminated with uranium and residents are forced to purchase expensive bottled water.


Study Guides & Lesson Plans

How We Go Home: Voices from Indigenous North America shares contemporary first-person stories in the long and ongoing fight to protect Native land, rights, and life. These twelve oral histories shaped by injustice and resilience provide a nuanced, empathy-based understanding of the issues facing Indigenous communities.

Click the book cover to access the free download from Voice of Witness:

How We Go Home book cover

Seeing With Memory: The Artwork of Shelley Niro
A study guide for teachers on the artwork of Shelley Niro, winner of the Scotiabank Photography Award.

Soundscape Composition Through the Medicine Wheel
A music composition lesson (instrumental or vocal) connecting students to the world around them.

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