WALLA WALLA, Wash.— Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation and one of Canada’s premiere Aboriginal documentary filmmakers, will make public presentations at Whitman College on Monday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, Feb. 13.
The grande dame of Canadian documentary filmmaking will present a lecture based on her recent (2006) film, “Waban-Aki People from Where the Sun Rises,” on Monday at 8 p.m. in Olin 157. She will show her 1993 film “Kanehsataki 270 Years of Resistance,” followed by a question and answer session on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Olin 130. Her presentations, sponsored by the Ashton J. and Virginia Graham O’Donnell Visiting Professorship in Global Studies Endowment, are free and open to the public.
Obomsawin, 75, is a writer, singer, educator, community activist and award-winning filmmaker who has spent her career advocating for social justice for Native people of Canada. Obomsawin’s reputation as a complex and compassionate advocate has its roots in her complicated life. Although her Native cultural roots can be found in the beauty of a childhood spent on the Odanak Reserve, her compelling need to fight against injustice and discrimination can be traced to her turbulent teenage years spent off the reserve in a school where she was the only Native.
In “Waban-Aki People from Where the Sun Rises” Obsomsawin returns to the village where she was raised to craft a lyrical account of her own people. In contrast, “Kanehsataki 270 Years of Resistance” chronicles an historic 78-day stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. This is a powerful feature-documentary set in the middle of the action of an age-old Aboriginal struggle. Obomsawin was the only filmmaker allowed behind the barricades to provide the true story behind the Mohawk’s unyielding determination to protect their land.
CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156