________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 15 . . . . March 26, 1999

cover No Turning Back: The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

Greg Coyes (Director), Carol Geddes, Michael Doxtater, Jerry Krepakevich (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: The National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
47 min. 20 secs., VHS, $39.95.
Order number 9196 118.

Subject Headings:
Native peoples-Canada-Government relations.
Native peoples-Canada-Legal status, laws, etc.
Native peoples-Canada-Politics and government.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Katie Cook.

**** /4

Seven months after the barricades came down in Oka, PQ, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney announced the creation of a Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The Commission, comprised of independent men and women, travelled to more than 100 communities and heard from more than 1,000 Aboriginal representatives. This video follows the journey of that Royal Commission.

      The video begins with footage of the Oka stand-off, moves into other First Nations' protests of the 1990s and then interviews the commissioners of this inquiry. The commissioners, men and women, political and non-political representatives, Aboriginal and white, from varying backgrounds, seem to have been inspired choices. Without exception, they are articulate on camera and seem to have real "heart" for what they are trying to accomplish.

      Naturally, 1,000 presentations could not be shown in this short video. The presentations that have been included are intelligent looks at the problems facing Canada's First Nations peoples and possible solutions to them. They allow the viewer to understand the current plight of Canada's First Nations peoples.

      This video also gives an accurate, concise overview of the difficulties between the federal government and Canada's Aboriginal peoples, starting with the Indian Act and the Department of Indian Affairs, going through the residential school system, and on to the lives of Aboriginal women. Self-government and justice are also topics of the inquiry.

      The most surprising part of the video is when the Commission went into Canada's prisons to ensure that no views would remain unheard. The statements of the prisoners make a very strong impact on the viewer.

      This video would fit well into most senior high Canadian history curricula. Its powerful impact, crisp images, excellent choice of interviews, and great historical footage and clips make it a natural choice to augment classroom discussions on Aboriginal rights.

Highly Recommended.

Katie Cook is a social studies teacher and teacher-librarian at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Steinbach, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364