Winners 2006









Best Cinematography
In an independent production, filmed on a very slender budget, an attentive camera moves with guile through the natural light and is sensitive to its subject matter as it captures the humdrum daily life of humble people. For the authenticity of images permeated by the sounds and odours of the spaces they describe, focusing on the characters they reveal, the jury of Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 awards the best photography direction prize to Roldan Lozada for Gesture Down.

Main Film Youth Award
These runners weren't running after any awards. They were teenagers running on a lark through nocturnal trails. But we've caught up with them, via a wise, funny experimental documentary that captures Atikamekw youths in the very act of existing. At the finish line, for charting a flawless course, the Land InSights 2006 jury awards the youth prize to Shanouk Newashish for Coureurs de nuit.

Community category - 1st Rigoberta Menchu prize
Finding yourself on the streets in Montreal is not the outcome of mere chance. Urban Inuk delves into the mechanisms of relocation and dislocation behind the alienation pushing so many Aboriginal people into the ranks of the homeless. Pathos and pessimism have no place in such an approach. If you can understand something, you can also change it. For this strikingly realistic portrait of Inuit living on the margins of society, dreaming of their native tundra as they drift around the city, between nostalgia and the blues, the Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 jury awards the Rigoberta Menchu grand prize to Urban Inuk.

Community Category - 2nd Rigoberta Menchu Prize
Words fly away in the sky of Nitassinan to the accents of the ancestral language of the Innu hunters. Time passes and the seasons change but the echoes of the ancient dreams remain. On modern-day trails authors and composers from Quebec North Shore Innu communities have travelled with a happy heart, the documentary Nikamun accompanies these contemporary songsmiths in their journey of hope, healing and affirmation. For the youthful energy that emanates from their story and for its fraternal and enthusiastic approach to a cultural current that is becoming a social phenomenon, the First People's Festival 2006 jury awards the Rigoberta Menchu second prize to Nikamun.

Community Category - Special Mention
For the ambitious task of building a historical memory by means of a fictional reconstitution of the events, for a novel approach in which for once history has not been written from the conquerors' viewpoint, for the red alert signal it lights up on the business-as-usual outlook of people who refuse to see that the issues that set off the crisis have not been resolved, for the opportunity for dialogue and debate it opens up for everyone, the jury of Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 awards a special honour to: Indian Summer : The Oka Crisis.

Documentary Category Séquences Magazine Prize
A comedy sketch about a reserve becomes a wildfire success. But these belly laughs are symptomatic of a widespread malaise because they leave a bad taste in the mouth of the people who are the butts of the joke. For bursting the secret abscess festering in Canada's soul, for getting Drew Hayden Taylor to utter the memorable line "humour is there to amuse, not to abuse", the jury of Séquences magazine awards the best documentary of Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 to Brockett 99 - Rockin’ the Country.

Creation Category - 2nd Teueikan Prize
An utterly Amerindian outlook provides a seamless transition between team jerseys and clerical vestments, because human and divine realities play out on the same field. Capturing the rhythms of daily work and life, running after the soccer ball's leaps and bounds, graciously exploring ceremonial fields, the camera no longer looks in from outside but gets a hands-on look at the lives of a team of Panara youth for whom football, rituals, daily life, food, survival and Shamanism are not discordant aspects of postmodern social breakdown, but essential ingredients of the rigorously ordered harmony of the world.
For this extraordinary match between an original approach to filmmaking and a cosmic vision coming out of Panara tradition, The Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 awards Teueikan second prize to: Kiarâsâ Yô Sâty, la Cacahuète de l’agouti.

Creation Category - 1stTeueikan Prize
The stark, grandiose landscape of the Siberian tundra provides the backdrop for a human drama that takes on epic dimensions in this setting. No shortcuts are provided to give viewers instant access to the complexities of Nenet culture. Free of artifice and pathos, moving us through the implacable rigours of tragedy, the film leaves us dazzled by its mysterious splendour.
For its expressive qualities, combining modesty and respect towards the unfathomable mysteries of human realities, for its meticulous observation of everyday life as ordered by the binding rules of an ancient cosmic vision, for the perfect interplay of sounds and images allowing us access to the intimate life of a woman marked from birth by an inescapable fate, the jury of Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006 awards Teueikan grand prize to A Bride of the Seventh Heaven.

Between Youth and Wisdom

A walker who has reached a bend in the tracks casts a glance back at the road he already travelled. But he does not wallow in nostalgia. His stride is firm, and all his energy is concentrated on the destination he must reach. Osunkhiline is not a fictional character; he is an Abenaki who left his mark in Odanak history. Having heard that the University of Dartmouth was opening its doors to Amerindians, he followed the railway tracks and walked all the way to Dartmouth to enrol there. With his degree in hand, he returned to initiate a school in his village. Alanis Obomsawin's etching, where we can feel the steadfast resolve of a man setting off on the journey that would change his and his people's destiny, is the emblem of Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006.

Alanis Obomsawin, 2005

A moment in one-quarter profile, gauging the distance travelled, knowing that in this suspended point the journey is far from over, that this moment of reprieve is only a brief moment on the way, unaware of the obstacles to be faced or the discoveries revealed.

The effervescence of learning, training and questioning among First Nations youth: the pyramid of ages, planet-wide globalization and social problems in the communities come together to create a state of urgency. We must hurry along slowly, but not waste a second. Our hours are numbered.

Artists have planted signs along the tracks that can be read like a journey's log. Weighing our assets, updating our legacies, revitalizing our languages, rebuilding social and individual autonomy, plotting out promising itineraries: works that it takes time to see from above and afar, for a short moment, as the road ahead of us is long.

At journey's end, the seventh generation.

Reasons to Celebrate

Birthday wishes are full of meaning. They mark a given moment, a point in time, as a decisive point in history where a destiny took shape.

Several anniversaries and commemorations are coming up during Montréal First Peoples' Festival 2006. . The foundin of a mission at a specific place in Nitaskinan was at the origin of Manawan's first hundred years. A community is affirming itself well beyond the few acres of the reserve and proclaims its belonging to a geographical, national and human ensemble, broader than the perimeter within which attempts were made to confine them. Happy birthday to the Atikamekw!

The journal Recherches amérindiennes au Québec was first published 35 years ago. Far from limiting its readership to academic circles, its seriousness in scientific terms has made it a reference; each issue has become a signpost along a history/process of exchanges and dialogues between cultures and civilizations. When we know how difficult it is to keep any publication going, a run of several decades, with a consistent quality in terms of rigour and honesty certainly merits a hearty round of happy birthday to the journal!

The Federation of cooperatives of Nouveau Quebec has been providing good and loyal services among Nunavik Inuit. From bringing in everyday consumer goods to the promotion of Inuit art, there is a remarkable structure in which economics and culture support each other, each side contributing to the development of the other. Happy birthday, co-op members!

The Canadian Guild of Crafts is certainly a venerable institution —this year it will be blowing out 100 candles on its birthday cake. First Nations artists are certainly among those celebrating, for the many decades during which the Guild promoted and sold their creations. So, happy birthday and a long life to the Guild!

The Summer Solstice is a great bonfire celebration at which humanity recognizes its symbiotic relationship with the great order of the universe. In Quebec, the 21st and 24th of June are links in a chain of friendship between the different peoples in this place.

This place, Montreal, or as the Iroquois name for the archipelago puts it:"where the currents meet and separate"is obviously destined to be a place for meetings and trade: that is its luminous side. But such encounters can also break down into division and confrontation: there is its dark side.

We extend the wish that this celebration —these celebrations— become a ceremony bringing new light to dissipate the spirit of discord in the rays of the solar star and that, in a spirit of sharing, all the peoples of the Earth may gather around the Tree of Peace that, in the words of the great Kondiaronk in 1701,"shines from this day on the highest mountain in the world". . .Mount Royal, of course!