Thanks to Shirley Fredeen for sharing a link to this NFB film, the very first directed by the legendary Alanis Obomsawin. It captures joy and hope and family and adventure, and Cree children’s best understanding of Christmas in 1971. Giving us narration of children’s drawings in their own voices is golden, but wait for the photographs of the artists themselves, that are simply breathtaking. (You can also listen for the hymn singing in Cree.)
From the NFB: “Released in 1971, this lyrical short documentary marked the directorial debut of legendary Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin. Filmed at a residential school in northern Ontario, it is composed entirely of drawings by young Cree children and stories told by the children themselves. Listening has been at the core of Obomsawin’s practice since the very beginning. “Documentary film,” she said in a 2017 interview, “is the one place that our people can speak for themselves. I feel that the documentaries that I’ve been working on have been very valuable for the people, for our people to look at ourselves… and through that be able to make changes that really count for the future of our children to come.”
Christmas at Moose Factory, Alanis Obomsawin, provided by the National Film Board of Canada
This a beautiful documentary spoken by innocent children of residential schools. Its very healing in our reconciliation. Thank you for sharing.