Every bit as unconventional, as rich and illuminating as Thomas King’s best-selling meditation on the fraught relations between First Peoples and white settlers, Michelle Latimer’s film is not quite a documentary nor an essay film but rather a poetic, defiant expression of an Indigenous vision, tracing the past, present and future.
With King chiming in as both an occasional off-screen narrator and a wry on-screen spectator, munching on popcorn in the Fox movie theatre, An Inconvenient Indian is structured as a series of jazzy riffs on aspects of Indigenous identity, beginning with Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North and proceeding through the genocidal stereotypes propagated by many a Hollywood western. But this chapter is succeeded by a hypnotic interlude, a declaration of independence from A Tribe Called Red (We Are the Halluci Nation); then a bravura seal-hunting sequence; pieces on Kent Monkman’s art and an Indigenous videogame; and much more besides. Mashing history and belief, art and politics, hardline resistance to colonialism and a hard-won reclamation of ancestral knowledge, this is a resonant and inspiring assertion of cultural authority.
Share this film
Please note that VIFF 2020 online films can be viewed in British Columbia only.
Michelle Latimer is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, writer and activist. She is currently showrunning and directing the scripted series Trickster. In 2016, Michelle chronicled the Standing Rock occupation protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, as part of the eight-part Indigenous resistance series RISE, for which she was also the showrunner and director. RISE was awarded the Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Program in 2018. In 2020, Michelle was named the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Sundance Institute Screenwriting Labs.
Photo: ©Hayden Wolf