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Produced by Bruna Mastroianni;
Directed by Louise Abbott
Kativik School Board Educational Television 1993.
VHS cassette, p art l (30 min. ,), $99.00; part 2 (41 min.,), $99.00.
Distributed by Magic Lantern Communications.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up

Reviewed by Sharon A. McLennan McCue

Volume 22 Number 3
1994 May / June

Today, when we talk turns to aboriginal affairs, the focus is on self-government. The follow-up question, whether you are a member of the Reform Party or an ordinary citizen, goes something like "So what does that mean?" The short answer is that it means a lot of things. One of those things is control of education.

For more than a century, the educati on of the aboriginal children of this country was controlled by the federal government. As a consequence of signing the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, the Inuit of Nunavik gained control over the education of their children. The Kativik School Board is the en tity that was created to oversee the process. This video is, in a very real sense, the sort of thing that the Reform Party and the ordinary citizen can expect from aboriginal self-government. It is a telling of history from the Inuit point of view.

Part l of the video covers the period of Inuit history leading up to and including earliest European contact. It discusses the development of Inuit culture, including the Inuit and Thule periods. When the explorers arrived it is sa fe to s ay that neither culture could have imagined what eventually resulted. Part 2 covers the time from the early 1800s to the early part of the twentieth century. Where Part 1 is interesting and informative, Part 2 is heart-breaking. It shows the impact of the whalers and traders and of the Christian church, and how these combined to render the Inuit dependent on the people who had come to their land, unannounced and uninvited.

This video is recommended for anyone studying the Inuit. That the video is balanced and totally lacking in bitterness is a credit to the people who made it. The fact that they have managed to remain so generous, given their history, is a credit to their spirit.

Sharon A. McLennan McCue (Ottawa, Ontario) formerly worked for the Cree School Board, an educational entity created as a consequence of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

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