Alanis Obomsawin is a celebrated singer-songwriter, director and activist. She is widely considered to be one of the continent’s greatest documentary filmmakers. A member of the Abenaki Nation, she grew up in Québec and began playing music in Montréal in the 1960s.
As a musician and storyteller, she toured hundreds of schools and performed in prisons in an effort to connect with Indigenous inmates and share her culture. She was highly critical of the educational school system and its failure to teach the true history of Indigenous people.
Hired as a consultant by the National Film Board in 1967, Alanis has made over 50 documentaries during her tenure, including the award-winning film Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993), which explored the Oka crisis in Québec. Her films shone a light on the lives and perspectives of First Nations people in Canada.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Alanis Obomsawin has received many, many accolades and international honours. In 2018, Montréal’s Constellation Records reissued her only album, Bush Lady, on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.
Click here for a text transcription.
Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.