The Comox Valley Art Gallery/TIFF Winter Film Series concludes this Sunday, March 22 at 5 p.m. with Trick or Treaty?
Director Alanis Obomsawin has spent decades chronicling the state-sanctioned indignities and injustices visited on First Nations communities, creating a remarkable body of work driven by equal parts outrage and compassion.
Trick or Treaty?, Obomsawin’s most recent feature documentary, shines a light on the most important document in the history of Canada’s First Peoples: the infamous Treaty 9, a 1905 agreement in which First Nations communities supposedly relinquished sovereignty over their traditional lands — a precedent that is routinely invoked whenever governments are challenged about rights issues involving aboriginal communities.
Against the backdrop of numerous key recent events, such as Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the rise of Idle No More and other youth-oriented aboriginal movements, Obomsawin interviews a string of legal, historical and cultural experts — as well as people whose forebears were present when the treaty was signed more than a century ago — about the corrupt genesis of Treaty 9.
The deeper Obomsawin digs, the more disturbing the revelations. It gradually becomes clear that the printed copy of the treaty is not the only valid version. Even more startling, the First Nations signatories themselves were not able to see the written treaty until decades after the signing, and then in a language they didn’t understand.
As powerful, provocative and important as any of her previous films, Trick or Treaty? once again demonstrates why Obomsawin is one of Canada’s most vital cinematic voices.
Tickets are $13, $12 for CVAG members, available at the CVAG Gift Shop, 580 Duncan Ave. in downtown Courtenay, and at the door if available.
Door is cash only. Exact change is appreciated.
To purchase tickets over the phone call CVAG at (250) 338-6211. All screenings are at the Rialto Theatre on Sundays at 5 p.m. The theatre is at Driftwood Mall, 2665 Cliffe Ave.
For complete film series information visit www.comoxvalleyartgallery.com