“Inhabited by a Cry”: Representations of Music, Self‐Expression and Survivance in Québécois Indigenous Film

Claire Gray

Music in Indi­ge­nous Québec

In Jeu­nesses autoch­tones (2009), young poli­ti­cal acti­vist Mona Bel­leau (Inuk) points out that Indi­ge­nous youth are faced with nume­rous chal­lenges, one of them being the conci­lia­tion of a life inside and out­side their com­mu­ni­ty in the contem­po­ra­ry world. While they have to par­ti­ci­pate and get edu­ca­ted in today’s social sys­tem, they also inhe­rit the res­pon­si­bi­li­ty of kee­ping their own culture, tra­di­tions and lan­guage alive.1 They also have to live with the conse­quences of colonialism–and of their long las­ting era­di­ca­tion from history–on a dai­ly basis, which often encou­rages them to use tools such as art and poli­ti­cal acti­vism to make their voices heard. 2 For Indi­ge­nous youth living in Qué­bec, music pro­vides a sense of com­mu­ni­ty among­st indi­vi­duals. While tra­di­tio­nal music-making (such as drum­ming) and dan­cing are two impor­tant elements2 to lear­ning cus­toms within Indi­ge­nous cultures, music also pos­sesses a cru­cial social dimen­sion for these youth as it connects them with a sense of cultu­ral iden­ti­ty and with others in their com­mu­ni­ty circles. As music scho­lar Byron Dueck writes, this connec­tion extends beyond the realm of music-making: when Indi­ge­nous youth get toge­ther to make music or share the music they are lis­te­ning to, “musi­cal and social inter­ac­tions can become the mate­rial of public culture [where] [c]irculating music and dis­course not only consti­tute ima­gi­na­ries but also dis­tin­guish them from one ano­ther.”3 In other words, per­for­ming and lis­te­ning to music allows them to take the phy­si­cal musi­cal mate­rials of the set­tler nations (such as ins­tru­ments or music players) and become empo­we­red through deve­lo­ping their own inter­pre­ta­tions of this music, effec­ti­ve­ly expres­sing their own Indi­ge­nous cultu­ral iden­ti­ty, while these social inter­ac­tions play an impor­tant role in dis­tin­gui­shing them from set­tler nations. Unan­gax̂ socio­lo­gist Eve Tuck takes this posi­tion fur­ther, adding that, through cultu­ral ave­nues like music-making, Indi­ge­nous youth obtain a sense of sur­vi­vance, or “an active sense of [Indi­ge­nous] pre­sence over absence, dera­ci­na­tion, and obli­vion [they are ensu­ring] the conti­nuance of sto­ries […] howe­ver per­ti­nent.”4 As such, music-making does not only pro­vide Indi­ge­nous youth with a com­mu­ni­ty, but also has the poten­tial to give them a voice against a colo­nia­list sys­tem that often works against them.

There is ample scho­lar­ly lite­ra­ture on how musi­cal ins­tru­ments help Indi­ge­nous youth in Qué­bec find their voices. Yet, there is lit­tle dis­cus­sion on how this pro­cess of self-dis­co­ve­ry and sur­vi­vance through music is unders­tood in aca­de­mia. To per­ceive this pro­cess in its various forms, it is cru­cial to observe how it is por­trayed and repre­sen­ted in cine­ma. In Indi­ge­nous and Qué­bé­cois cine­ma, music is beco­ming increa­sin­gly pre­valent as a means for young Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ters to dis­co­ver their iden­ti­ties. The mul­ti­tude of musi­cal expe­riences that Indi­ge­nous youth encounter—i.e. making and lis­te­ning to music—leads to nume­rous ques­tions: how does the repre­sen­ta­tion of Indi­ge­nous music appear in recent Indi­ge­nous and Qué­be­cois films? How is sur­vi­vance depic­ted soni­cal­ly in these films, if at all? This paper observes both sides of this ques­tion and offers a new pers­pec­tive on two dif­ferent approaches to Indi­ge­nous sur­vi­vance through voice, music lis­te­ning and music-making in Qué­bec cine­ma. It will first stu­dy 3 his­toires d’Indiens (2014), a film direc­ted by the non-Indigenous, Qué­bé­cois film­ma­ker Robert Morin. This film fol­lows an Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ter, Shayne, using an iPod3 to express him­self and pays spe­ci­fic atten­tion as to how music influences Shayne’s abi­li­ty to reflect on his world and com­mu­ni­cate his thoughts with others. It will then look at other examples of how music assists Indi­ge­nous youth to nar­ra­ti­vize their own expe­riences and find their voices as a com­mu­ni­ty through a selec­tion of auto­bio­gra­phi­cal short films from the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile. In com­pa­ring these examples, we will be able to unders­tand the various pro­cesses of sur­vi­vance through music-making that are depic­ted in Indi­ge­nous and Qué­bé­cois films, as well as ques­tion how Indi­ge­nous voices are repre­sen­ted in these films.

3 his­toires d’Indiens

As its title sug­gests, 3 his­toires d’Indiens is com­pri­sed of three over­lap­ping plots. Each fol­lows the sto­ry of dif­ferent First Nations youth as they use the cultu­ral mate­rials around them to locate their own cultu­ral iden­ti­ty and ima­gine a more enti­cing future for them­selves in their com­mu­ni­ties. The three plots are as fol­lows: Erik wants to build a tele­vi­sion set so he may set up a sta­tion to ins­truct people in his com­mu­ni­ty on tra­di­tio­nal know­ledge; a group of three unna­med girls fol­low the sto­ries of a book that ste­reo­ty­pi­cal­ly dis­plays the lives of Indi­ge­nous women; and Shayne, who, after his girl­friend leaves to get a job in a town far away from him, lis­tens to clas­si­cal music to cope with his lone­li­ness and tries to find a way for­ward in what has become an emp­ty life.

The film was not sole­ly writ­ten and direc­ted by Morin. Its script was con‑ cei­ved through the assis­tance of the youth acting in the film, whom were recrui­ted through Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s net­work of young Indi­ge­nous film­ma­kers.5 While Morin recei­ved cre­dit for direc­ting and wri­ting the final film, he none­the­less encou­ra­ged the young Indi­ge­nous actors to share their opi­nions. He wan­ted to focus on the oppres­sion they were expe­rien­cing and represent their posi­tions on issues that were impor­tant to them. In his review of the film, Chris­tian Nadeau notes that this type of pro­duc­tion desi­gn causes these three plots to be “extra­or­di­na­ry chro­nicles of ordi­na­ry life, essen­tial­ly that of three people, with their faces, their eyes, their emo­tions and their wor­ries. And these people talk about them­selves, their lone­li­ness, their iso­la­tion, or even friend­ship and love.”6 The aim of the film was to give Indi­ge­nous youth the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak out about issues they dee­med impor­tant and com‑ ment on how the set­tler cultu­ral mate­rials they grew up with was harm­ful to4 them. While all three plots merit indi­vi­dual exploration—they each observe how dif­ferent media (name­ly public tele­vi­sion, digi­tal music and teen nov‑ els) affect Indi­ge­nous iden­ti­ty and self-expres­sion, this sec­tion will focus on Shayne’s arc as his reliance on music demons­trates how the appro­pria­tion of cultu­ral mate­rials of colo­ni­zing nations do not work for Indi­ge­nous youth. It will observe the repre­sen­ta­tion of the Indi­ge­nous “voice” through under‑ sco­ring how Morin, a non-Indi­ge­nous film­ma­ker, attempts to cap­ture the rela­tion­ship bet­ween Indi­ge­nous youth and their music while often silen­cing the Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ter whose voice he ori­gi­nal­ly wan­ted to represent. In order to per­form this stu­dy, this sec­tion will exa­mine how music is used in key scenes of the film and will assess how Shayne attempts to use music to claim a sense of agency.

Shayne does not speak at any point in the film. He lives in a pol­lu­ted Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ty in the pro­vince of Qué­bec with his fami­ly and his only friend is his girl­friend. Ins­tead of having regu­lar dia­logue with other cha­rac­ters, he relies on his music and iPod Nano to convey his fee­lings to them and to the audience. He also main­tains his rela­tion­ship with his girl­friend through sha­ring music with her. He gets so atta­ched to his iPod as a way of unders­tan­ding his envi­ron­ment that it becomes his way to “speak out”or claim agen­cy over the spaces he exists within: in eve­ry scene, he indeed uses his iPod to fuel his ima­gi­na­tion and change the land­scapes of the places he sees. This form of attach­ment to the lis­te­ning device is not rare. In his stu­dy of the iPod, sound scho­lar Michael Bull des­cribes the rea­sons why indi­vi­duals use them so regu­lar­ly. He posits that musi­cal devices offer users the abi­li­ty to move “to the rhythm of their music rather [than] the rhythm of the street. In tune with their thoughts—their cho­sen music enables them to focus on their fee­lings, desires, and audi­to­ry memo­ries.”7 Bull goes on to sug­gest that the iPod’s mobi­li­ty grants the lis­te­ners the abi­li­ty to manage eve­ry­day life, espe­cial­ly in urban set­tings. Bull places empha­sis on the users’ abi­li­ty to “re-ima­gine their envi­ron­ments”, nota­bly by chan­ging a stress­ful urban set­ting into a more com­for­table one.8 Through constant­ly lis­te­ning to his iPod, Shayne is able to feel like he is not alone, like he is in control of eve­ry part of his imme­diate envi­ron­ment. This is a key ele­ment in the desi­gn of the iPod, accor­ding to Bull, as he writes that “the grea­ter the cra­ving for solitari‑ ness the grea­ter the fear of being social­ly iso­la­ted. This contra­dic­to­ry desire for pri­va­cy and fear of social iso­la­tion is resol­ved using [the per­so­nal music5 player].”9 The film shows that Shayne’s self-expres­sion is resol­ved through the rela­tion­ship he has with his music, as it helps him pro­cess and reflect on the world around him. His sur­vi­vance is thus tied to his abi­li­ty to tune into his music and ignore the stress­ful envi­ron­ment around him.

His plot begins as he and his girl­friend are lis­te­ning to his iPod in a taxi. They each have one ear­bud in their ear as a cal­ming clas­si­cal vio­lin ensemble is heard. It is the scene’s only sound­track and the noises of the trucks pas­sing in the other direc­tion are com­ple­te­ly muted. Throu­ghout this scene, Shayne and his girl­friend remain still and quiet. Howe­ver, based on the relaxed smiles they both express, they are clear­ly hap­py with this silence. The music they are both enjoying unites them; they are both able to expe­rience it in a simi­lar set‑ ting and inti­ma­te­ly share the emo­tions they feel towards it. Howe­ver, these relaxed emo­tions only last for so long, and they ulti­ma­te­ly arrive at their des­ti­na­tion. Shayne drops his girl­friend off at a near­by Wal­mart, where she is seen wea­ring an employee vest. The music from the pre­vious scene bleeds into this new shot, even though nei­ther of the cha­rac­ters are wea­ring their head­phones. Howe­ver, the ori­gi­nal calm tone rapid­ly takes a dis­so­nant turn. Based on this musi­cal cue, the audience can assume that the worst is about to hap­pen for Shayne, and the vie­wers’ sus­pi­cions are qui­ck­ly confir­med: Shayne’s girl­friend has to leave him to go find a job and he now has to fend for him­self. He silent­ly hugs her good­bye and gazes at her as she walks away, the inten­si­ty of the song going into a cres­cen­do and beco­ming lou­der, in a minor key that is dif­fi­cult to lis­ten to. When the girl even­tual­ly disap­pears into the buil­ding, the music slow­ly fades again. Shayne then looks down at the ground in dejec­tion, but he ulti­ma­te­ly looks up, connec­ting his ear­buds to his iPod and put­ting them into his ears. Once he has cho­sen an album to lis­ten to, the clas­si­cal music fades to a silence. He then walks out of the frame with a new song in mind.

This sequence, which main­ly serves to com­mu­ni­cate Shayne’s thoughts to the audience, shows that he is only able to unders­tand the world he lives in through the pre­sence of music. As infer­red by his shy and intro­ver­ted man­ner, Shayne’s abi­li­ty to com­mu­ni­cate is limi­ted, which makes him only able to deve­lop rela­tion­ships through cho­sen tracks. Once Shayne’s girl‑ friend leaves him to work, the caco­pho­nous music indi­cates the stress of this sepa­ra­tion for him, who is now left in a world where he has dif­fi­cul­ty com­mu­ni­ca­ting with others. Fee­ling pani­cked when left on his own, he6 imme­dia­te­ly uses music as a coping mecha­nism. Only when he has found an album that he enjoys is he able to momen­ta­ri­ly over­come the stress he feels after his girl­friend has left. As he wan­ders off­screen, he is not moving in any par­ti­cu­lar direc­tion nor with any dis­tinc­tive moti­va­tion. He is clear­ly lost, trying to find a new iden­ti­ty on his own. His use of music as a coping mecha­nism thus sug­gests that he can only com­bat stress­ful situa­tions and feel as if he can go on in the world, loca­ting a sense of sur­vi­vance, through his favou­rite music.

The next few scenes in Shayne’s plot involve him wal­king around natu­ral areas and obser­ving the land around him. He walks on the high­way accom­pa­nied by a new clas­si­cal piece that is fast in pace and played in a minor key. The anxie­ty sug­ges­ted by this track’s com­po­si­tion indi­cates that Shayne is thin­king about the fact he is alone in a stress­ful envi­ron­ment. His com­mu­ni­ty is next to a loud high­way and the only place he can go for a relaxing walk is along­side cars. The way Shayne walks in this scene is notable—his steps are timed up with the music’s 4/4 time signature—following Bull’s idea that music helps people feel in agen­cy over the rhythm of their own body. Howe­ver, the film asserts that he is not in com­plete control over his sur‑ roun­dings as he can­not ignore the nega­tive condi­tion he is living in—the sounds of the streets are too loud and he can­not ignore them.

Shayne’s need to claim agen­cy over space is present in a later scene, where he is seen wal­king around in a forest, rea­ching a hill. As he climbs it, exci­ting clas­si­cal music plays in a loud man­ner, indi­ca­ting his desire to feel heroic and in control of the space around him. This desire is also reflec­ted in the film’s visuals, as the scene frames Shayne as a hero, jum­ping over boul­ders and pushing trees aside. Through the confi­dence music pro­vides him, he conquers over the land and the noise pol­lu­tion he ear­lier expe­rien­ced. Howe­ver, once he reaches the top, he comes across a fence lite­ral­ly and meta­pho­ri­cal­ly blo­cking his path to the vic­to­rious conclu­sion of the song he is lis­te­ning to. Ins­tead of rea­ching the top and stan­ding over his com­mu­ni­ty, he sees a construc­tion site that des­troys the natu­ral land­scape at the top of the hill. As the film shows Shayne’s pers­pec­tive on this des­truc­tion, the sounds of machi­ne­ry and construc­tion wor­kers yel­ling at each other domi­nate the sound­track and the flou­ri­shing vio­lins of the clas­si­cal song begin to fade out. his desire to claim agen­cy over space is thus yet again inter­rup­ted, as he can­not connect with the music he enjoys.7

This inter­rup­tion of esca­pist fan­ta­sies is seen again in Shayne’s nar­ra­tive when he decides to relax and attend to his men­tal well­being. After making it back to the com­mu­ni­ty, he sits in a Tim Hor­tons and enjoys a cof­fee by him­self while lis­te­ning to his music. He is using both the cof­fee and the music as a means of relaxa­tion and esca­pism, as he shuts out his sense of sight by clo­sing his eyes and focusses on his hea­ring and sense of taste. The film then cuts to the young man fini­shing his cof­fee when the music sud­den­ly becomes dis­tres­sing and frigh­te­ning again. A loud minor chord is struck as a group of set­tler boys form out­side the win­dow where Shayne is sit­ting, and they all look at him with anger and aggres­sion. At first, he ignores them and consumes the rest of his drink. The music conti­nues to be frigh­te­ning but played at a quiet volume as Shayne ignores their glances. But he soon exits the store, going in an oppo­site direc­tion with his hood up and his ear­buds in his ears, trying to use music to avoid them. The boys conti­nue to taunt him and, while their voices are not ini­tial­ly heard over the music, they soon become loud and frigh­te­ning for Shayne. When the group of boys even­tual­ly catches up to him, the music becomes even more alar­ming. The song’s chord pro­gres­sions increase in their speed and the minor tone comes to be jar­ring to lis­ten to. The group then pushes and hits Shayne, even­tual­ly sho­ving him to the ground. They take turns kicking him as the film changes to Shayne’s point of audi­tion. The kicks are all out of syn­chro­ni­za­tion, cla­shing with the beat of the song that Shayne was enjoying. The boys’ taunts then begin to be heard on the films’ sound­track as the music becomes quie­ter. As the music fades, vie­wers can hear that the group teases Shayne’s appea­rance in a racist man­ner. Even­tual­ly seeing a car go by, the assai­lants scat­ter through some alley­ways, lea­ving him on the ground. The song changes again to a clas­si­cal song that is more down tem­po, but still played in a minor chord. Jud­ging by the look of anguish on Shayne’s face as he picks him­self up and walks away, his music is not enough to help him through this epi­sode of bul­lying. The came­ra focusses on his pain while the music remains faded, sho­wing that his escapism—yet again–ceases to work in the way he wishes. Because Shayne can­not use his music to ignore his bul­lies, the film repre­sents his voi­ce­less­ness as inevi­table, espe­cial­ly in the face of set­tlers set to hurt him. 

After his encoun­ter with the bul­lies, Shayne returns to his neigh­bou­rhood. He conti­nues to lis­ten to his music as he walks through the streets, pol­lu­ted with trash and aban­do­ned objects such as bicycles, contai­ners and8 card­board boxes. The new orches­tral track that Shayne is lis­te­ning to is grave and rising in tone, reflec­ting his sense of a jour­ney and his need to move for‑ ward from the bul­lying he expe­rien­ced. A wide shot por­trays him as a tiny speck in a large area filled with debris, trying to find a path where he is not run­ning into any gar­bage. His motions indi­cate that he is trying to move in time with the music as he did in the pre­vious sequence, but he is now strug­gling to do so in this extre­me­ly pol­lu­ted and envi­ron­men­tal­ly dama­ged area. The social impacts of colo­nia­lism are thus pre­sen­ted again by the film, not just in the phy­si­cal debris scat­te­red in his com­mu­ni­ty, but through Shayne’s labo­rious attempt to pos­sess the space around him. As he parses through the phy­si­cal debris, it makes noise as the clut­ter moves, effec­ti­ve­ly silen­cing his music. While the device Shayne is lis­te­ning to is desi­gned to help him escape, meant to give him the abi­li­ty to syn­chro­nize his thoughts with his move­ments and ignore the out­side noise, it no lon­ger works as his space becomes so dis­trac­ting that his music can­not help him escape. Thus, through this dif­fe­rence in music and space, it becomes evident that he can­not use his cho­sen music to re-ima­gine his space in the way that Michael Bull has pre vious­ly des­cri­bed. 10

These scenes high­light how musi­cal tech­no­lo­gies do not pro­vide end­less enjoy­ment and esca­pism for Indi­ge­nous youth, as they are not able to have com­plete control over the sound­scapes they are lis­te­ning to. As the film pro­gresses, Shayne moves less and less in syn­chro­ni­za­tion with the beat of his music, sho­wing that he no lon­ger feels like he is in control of his sound­scape. Sound scho­lars like Shu­hei Hoso­ka­wa insist per­so­nal music players were desi­gned to make the lis­te­ner become a “musi­ca mobi­lis,” a body that moves with the beat of their music in a mecha­nic, pre­dic­table fashion.11 Yet this fee­ling of embo­di­ment does not hap­pen for Shayne as he is constant­ly remin­ded of the fact that the damage done by colo­nia­lism is quite severe, so much so that he can­not achieve the same type of esca­pism that scho­lars like Bull and Hoso­ka­wa des­cribe. His means of reflec­ting on the world and expres­sing him­self are always silen­ced by the modern (set­tler) world around him, and his music does not grant him the abi­li­ty to resolve his stresses.

This seg­ment of 3 his­toires d’Indiens culmi­nates when Shayne returns to the Wal­mart where his girl­friend works. In this scene, he is stan­ding still, lis­te­ning to his iPod, with his ear­buds in his ears and his back­pack on. The tone of the clas­si­cal song playing is vic­to­rious and roman­tic, sug­ges­ting a possible9 reu­nion bet­ween him and his girl­friend. After a few seconds of sta­ring at the Wal­mart, Shayne advances towards the store in a confi­dent and asser­tive man­ner. The music then builds and gets lou­der. Shayne even­tual­ly enters the buil­ding, while the shot remains on the ini­tial wide shot from the par­king lot. As Shayne moves into the crow­ded store, it becomes dif­fi­cult to make out where he is; the audience must then rely on the musi­cal cues to indi­cate where Shayne is and what he is going to do. As the music builds in a major key, the vio­lins and harps (ins­tru­ments tra­di­tio­nal­ly asso­cia­ted with romance) beco­ming increa­sin­gly lou­der, it seems like­ly that Shayne will reu­nite with his girl­friend. Howe­ver, five seconds later, people begin to leave the store in panic, and the num­ber of pani­cked people increase as their screams of ter­ror gra­dual­ly replaces the clas­si­cal song in the film’s sound­track. Large explo­sions are seen and heard within the store while these noises, too, begin to blend into the film’s sound­track. The song again fades as atten­tion is taken away from the store and from the conse­quences of the explo­sion. After a few seconds, sirens are heard in an increa­sin­gly loud man­ner, hin­ting that police and ambu­lances have arri­ved at the scene. The shot goes black and the film’s sound­track fades to a com­plete silence. While this scene begins by pro­mi­sing a reu­nion bet­ween two close people who use music to com­mu­ni­cate, it ends as Shayne com­mits a dra­ma­tic act of vio­lence that demons­trates that he can‑ not use music to escape in the way he desires and that he does not know how to regain the fee­lings of agen­cy he once had.

As this scene plays out, it becomes clear that Shayne’s actions were an act of pro­test against the com­pa­ny that took away his only com­pa­nion, and per­haps also a ges­ture of vio­lence in oppo­si­tion to a tool of set­tler culture and the damage cau­sed by its colo­ni­za­tion and racism. Morin him­self has sta­ted that this was his inten­tion for the final ver­sion of the screenplay–to cri­tique and com­ment on the type of “pover­ty” that Indi­ge­nous youth expe­rience in terms of the artis­tic sources they receive, and how they turn to vio­lence as a means of pro­test: “[In the end of Shayne’s plot] he loses his tem­per. But the pro­blem is pover­ty. [His Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ty] got more ‘scre­wed’ than [set­tler Qué­bé­cois people] […]. I find this kind of racist and dee­ply unfair. These are […] the condi­tions of life on a reserve that should be com­pa­red to refu­gee camps.” 12

Morin’s film echoes the wri­tings of phi­lo­so­pher Ronald Nei­zen, who explains how Indi­ge­nous peoples want to fight back against sym­bols of10 colo­nia­lism. When tal­king about how contem­po­ra­ry Indi­ge­nous iden­ti­ty is ima­gi­ned, Nei­zen posits that an “inter­nal colo­nia­lism” exists within Indi­ge­nous peoples as they not only deal with the hatred of tra­di­tio­nal cultures, but also face “the unwan­ted reach of state power and extrac­tive indus­tries to dis­tinct peoples in the mar­gins of states.”13 While Neizen’s ana­ly­sis focusses on the role of capi­tal in the crea­tion of Indi­ge­nous iden­ti­ty, his argu­ment adds a valuable com­ment to this dis­cus­sion. He indeed believes that Indi­ge­nous people must constant­ly accept that, even though they live on Indi­ge­nous lands, they will always be aware of the pre­sence of their colo nizing nations, either through poli­ti­cal autho­ri­ties or the pre­sence of super‑ stores and other capi­ta­list venues. Shayne’s deci­sion to take action against a Wal­mart demons­trates he is fed up with the cultu­ral control the set­tler state has taken.

The Wal­mart loca­tion in Shayne’s com­mu­ni­ty could the­re­fore sym­bo­lize how capi­ta­lism and set­tler-made com­pa­nies disen­fran­chise and dis­rupt the tra­di­tio­nal culture of the Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ty through their capi­ta­list values, expan­sive use of space and large noise pol­lu­tion as their trucks deli­ver pro­ducts to and from the stores. In order to escape this and cope with an enor­mous amount of stress, Shayne must use the culture that is imme­dia­te­ly avai­lable to him—an iPod. Yet, he only achieves a tem­po­ra­ry sense of agen­cy through lis­te­ning to music as other noises bleed through his lis­te­ning experience.

While Morin uses Shayne’s plot to cor­rect­ly high­light the issues of cultu­ral colo­nia­lism, the film repre­sents only one unders­tan­ding of how Indi­ge­nous peoples use music in their dai­ly lives. Morin’s choice to frame Shayne’s plot around the damages of cultu­ral colo­nia­lism shows he accu­ra­te­ly assumes the dif­fe­rences bet­ween how a set­tler user might inter­act with an iPod and how an Indi­ge­nous user does. But this damage-cen­tric pers­pec­tive of Indi­ge­nous peoples often plays for a set­tler audience. Fur­ther­more, this type of damage-cen­te­red film­ma­king by set­tlers is no lon­ger use­ful, as Unan­gax ˆ socio­lo­gist Eve Tuck argues. She recom­mends that set­tler cultures move away from these “damage cen­te­red” models of media repre­sen­ta­tion, which per­pe­tuate the image of Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ties, neigh­bo­rhoods, and tribes as “defea­ted and bro­ken” and in need of set­tler groups to revise their mind­sets and pro­vide them with sup­port.14 Tuck’s argu­ment sug­gests that nar­ra­tives like Shayne’s present Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ters as unable to take care of them­selves and in need of the set­tlers’ sup­port. The ending of Morin’s film fol­lows this idea, as it pro­poses that Shayne can­not use music to find a mea­ning­ful connec­tion with his thoughts and desires and pur­sue his goals of esca­ping the damages of colo­nia­lism: he can only resort to vio­lence upon the settler’s ins­ti­tu­tion and, cru­cial­ly, him­self. This type of upset­ting social repre­sen­ta­tion are frequent in the ending of Morin’s films, which tend to vis­ce­ral­ly present the oppres­sions faced by various people in Qué­bec. In Qui­conque meurt, meurt à dou­leur (1994), the rami­fi­ca­tions of drug laws and addic­tion are obser­ved through the deaths of the cha­rac­ters, while in Le nèg’ (2004), racist vio­lence is depic­ted seve­re­ly on screen. 3 his­toires d’Indiens is no excep­tion to this trend, as it por­trays Shayne com­mit­ting an act of vio­lence as his final resort, as well as the three unna­med girls com­mit­ting sui­cide as the cha­rac­ters do in their book. While Morin’s dis­cus­sion of oppres­sion in Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ties within the film is valuable, it often ignores their sense of com­mu­ni­ty and indi­vi­dual connec tion with their own know­ledge and tra­di­tion. Morin’s unders­tan­ding of the oppres­sion that Indi­ge­nous people face is fur­ther under­ser­ved by the opi­nions he has on the com­mu­ni­ty he wor­ked in. In a review for Films du Qué­bec, Morin dis­cusses his rela­tion­ship with the Indi­ge­nous people he wor­ked with in the making of the film: 

I have had a cabin for 30 years near Mani­wa­ki, at the entrance to Parc La Véren­drye. So I get to know these people a lot. I also hunt cari­bou with Cree Indians in James Bay, I go fishing with them… I deal with these people, unlike many people who live there. I don’t know why, but I’m hoo­ked on them. I have always admi­red them in their dra­mas. They are very sup­por­tive, although they also have a self-des­truc­tive side. In fact, there is no dif­fe­rence bet­ween an abo­ri­gi­nal back­ground and a poor one. They are like a poor envi­ron­ment in a forest envi­ron­ment. They have the same pro­blems and the same qua­li­ties as the poor of Saint-Hen­ri, Côte-Saint-Paul or Hoche­la­ga-Mai­son­neuve. They are tra­shy, they des­troy them­selves, but they have a sense of mutual aid which is grea­ter than that of pri­vi­le­ged circles.15

Here, Morin arti­cu­lates a pro­ble­ma­tic unders­tan­ding of the Indi­ge­nous people within his own film, des­cri­bing them just as Tuck sug­gests, as res­pon­sible for their own undoing. As Nadeau notes, Morin’s desire to include his own12 stance on Indi­ge­nous poli­ti­cal issues affects the ove­rall social impact of his work and the way Indi­ge­nous youth are repre­sen­ted: “[Morin repre­sents] the life, that of these Indians, mine, yours too, pro­vi­ded you accept him. We [refer­ring to set­tler audiences] are no dif­ferent from the Indians of Robert Morin. We sim­ply have less cou­rage, light, rage, strength, more money, means, free­doms.”16 Nadeau posits that we need not accept this ste­reo­ty­pi­cal and one-sided inter­pre­ta­tion of Indi­ge­nous poli­ti­cal issues. If we are to accept that cultu­ral colo­nia­lism is dama­ging, but reject Morin’s inter­pre­ta­tion of Indi­ge­nous youth and their rela­tion­ship with music, what other cine­ma­tic ver­sions exist of Indi­ge­nous youth’s sense of musi­ca­li­ty? If we inter­pret this film­ma­king cultu­ral encoun­ter as a fai­lure, how can one be suc­cess­ful? Tuck offers a solu­tion to this pro­blem through the idea of sur­vi­vance, as she urges aca­de­mics and resear­chers to pur­sue Gerald Vizenor’s ideo­lo­gy of sur­vi­vance when explo­ring Indi­ge­nous nar­ra­tives. Sur­vi­vance appears through many art forms that cele­brate conti­nued Indi­ge­nous pre­sence in a set­tler-domi­na­ted world. Thus, it is also impor­tant to ana­lyze cine­ma­tic repre­sen­ta­tions of how actual Indi­ge­nous voices are expres­sed through music-making. While Morin’s attempt to cap­ture how Indi­ge­nous youth inter­act with music is pro­ble­ma­tic and damage-focu­sed, the films of the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile show­case how using one’s lite­ral voice and musi­cal tools can create an act of survivance. 

The Musi­ca­li­ty of the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile 

The Wapi­ko­ni Mobile is a mobile film and music stu­dio that pro­vides Indi­ge­nous people with the abi­li­ty and equip­ment nee­ded to create their own works. The volun­teers visit and connect with Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ties, pro­vide film­ma­king and music video work­shops and lend equip­ment to the film­ma­kers. Once com­ple­ted, the films are scree­ned in the com­mu­ni­ties and uploa­ded online for easier access. The film­ma­kers have com­plete control over their films and tend to explore many dif­ferent genres. One theme that appears across these genres is the omni­pre­sence of musi­ca­li­ty in the film­ma­kers’ dai­ly lives. Karine Ber­trand pre­vious­ly wrote on the poe­try within the short films of the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile, noting that “[i]t is pre­ci­se­ly [a poe­tic inter­pre­ta­tion of the real world] that come[s] to mind when ente­ring the world put for­ward by the young Wapi­ko­ni film­ma­kers in their short films, where eve­ry­day struggles, hopes for the future and legi­ti­mate claims are arti­cu­la­ted with can­dor, mind­ful­ness.”17 This poe­try is often inter­pre­ted in terms of musi­ca­li­ty, since young people use musi­cal ins­tru­ments, sing songs or prac­tice drum­ming in order to express their thoughts. There are seve­ral music videos within the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s out­put, but there are also auto­bio­gra­phi­cal works in which musi­cal ins­tru­ments and voices are high­ligh­ted, espe­cial­ly as a means to locate one’s own cultu­ral iden­ti­ty.18 In order to explore this topic, I will exa­mine the pre­sence of music within three of these auto­bio­gra­phi­cal films, paying spe­ci­fic atten­tion to the way music assists the Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ters por­trayed in the films with accom­pli­shing survivance. 

In his short film The Music in Me (2016), direc­tor Emi­lio Wawa­tie (Ani­shi­naabe) explores his own rela­tion­ship to music and music-making. This first example places music as its key theme, as musi­ca­li­ty is depic­ted both in a lite­ral and meta­pho­ri­cal sense in the film. The film opens with seve­ral shots of Wawa­tie loo­king at various pieces of musi­cal ins­tru­men­ta­tion, such as sheet music and an elec­tric gui­tar. Over these shots, the film­ma­ker pro‑ vides a voi­ceo­ver explai­ning that “it’s easy enough to learn and prac­tice piece of music alrea­dy com­po­sed by someone, but crea­ting your own music is one of the most chal­len­ging yet rewar­ding fee­lings ever.” Wawa­tie then posits that in order to find his musi­cal ins­pi­ra­tion, he has to go “out in the world,” where he believes his crea­ti­vi­ty will be influen­ced. The fol­lo­wing shots are of Wawa­tie going for a walk in the forest, fin­ding ins­pi­ra­tion in the nature sur­roun­ding him. The sound­track of these shots begins with Wawatie’s foot‑ steps and sounds of twigs snap­ping against the ground, which set a beat for the rest of the film. Wawa­tie then begins a short slam poem fol­lo­wing said beat: “I see the land­scapes of the forests like texts and colours/the songs of the ani­mals, the earth and the sky/like motifs, melo­dies and orchestras/one giant sym­pho­ny.” After he finishes, he slaps a tree stump, adding ano­ther layer to the beat while sounds of him skip­ping stones against the water add a melo­dy to the tune. An elec­tric gui­tar then comes into the track, conti­nuing the mel‑ ody set by the sounds of skip­ping stones. After one and a half minute of this song, the sounds fade. Wawa­tie then says, in a voi­ceo­ver: “There is ins­pi­ra­tion in all our sur­roun­dings, both in the natu­ral and man-made world.” In the film’s conclu­sion, he admits: “I’ll always put my heart and soul into music ‘cause the music has always been there—in me.” 

Wawatie’s film esta­blishes an unbrea­kable rela­tion­ship bet­ween the body of the Indi­ge­nous per­son and the music. The title of the film itself sug­gests that musi­ca­li­ty will always exist in Wawa­tie, as long as he goes and looks for14 it. While this film is auto­bio­gra­phi­cal, it sends a mes­sage to other Indi­ge­nous youth, sho­wing that music does not exist sole­ly in the ins­tru­ments and sheet music, but also in their heads and in the nature sur­roun­ding them. Unlike Shayne in 3 his­toires d’Indiens, Wawa­tie uses music as a way to give him­self a voice when he is expe­rien­cing a crea­tive block. When he can­not speak out to express him­self, he turns to music. He re-appro­priates the settler’s tools of music through his use of the elec­tric gui­tar. He also sets aside the sheet music (a way set­tler cultures create music) and finds more ins­pi­ra­tion in the sounds of nature around him. While Shayne embraces the set­tler tool and music who­le­hear­ted­ly in 3 his­toires d’Indiens, Wawa­tie decides to com­bine the set­tler tools of music making with those of his natu­ral surroundings—appropriating set­tler music by pro­vi­ding an Indi­ge­nous twist. Thus, through music-making, this film pro­vides a posi­tive example of an Indi­ge­nous youth’s connec­tion with the land and shows how they can deve­lop their own voices as they dis­co­ver the natu­ral and cultu­ral mate­rials avai­lable to them. Wawa­tie demons­trates his pride in his music at the end of the film by wal­king away, gui­tar in hand, saying “the music is in me” as the shot focuses on how the gui­tar looks like a natu­ral exten­sion of his body. As the film high­lights Wawatie’s embo­died connec­tion with the musi­ca­li­ty he finds both in the natu­ral and modern worlds, it most­ly empha­sizes on the fact that it is the music in the natu­ral world that allows him to find his own voice as a musi­cian. It also calls atten­tion to the way Indi­ge­nous youth can have a posi­tive and agen­cy-buil­ding expe­rience through this connec­tion with music, saying that music is “in all of [them].”

Ano­ther take on musi­ca­li­ty as sur­vi­vance within the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s short film col­lec­tion is evident in Craig Commanda’s (Ani­shi­naabe) Call and Res­ponse (2014). This film opens with Com­man­da tuning his elec­tric gui­tar in the middle of a forest at night. He then plays a gui­tar solo while fog starts to set in beneath him, in a mise-en-scène that is almost remi­nis­cent of a rock star playing a solo at a concert. As he plays, ano­ther man in full cus­to­ma­ry rega­lia appears behind him with a drum and sits beside him. Com­man­da stops and looks at the man. Then, in a voi­ceo­ver, he confesses: “I’ve always been around music, but not the music of my culture. I’ve always heard, but never real­ly lis­te­ned. I seem to be mis­sing some­thing.” The man then stand­sand looks at Com­man­da, begin­ning to play his drum and throat sing. While he plays and sings, the shots gets clo­ser and clo­ser in frame, focus­sing on the man’s tech­nique. After a minute, the musi­cian stops, as Com­man­da admits15 that he does not know the songs of his own com­mu­ni­ty and feels “caught bet­ween two worlds.” He then plays gui­tar again, with the shots focus­sing on his move­ments around the fret­board. While he plays, he notes that the space bet­ween his know­ledge of contem­po­ra­ry musi­cal tech­niques and his lack of know­ledge of tra­di­tio­nal songs is large, and the “silence [bet­ween them] […] dea­fe­ning.” He then plays two notes over and over on his gui­tar as the man begins to drum and sing along. After they play toge­ther for thir­ty seconds, the man then moves over to Com­man­da and says: “only when you are rea­dy,” refer­ring to the filmmaker’s desire to learn tra­di­tio­nal music. The man then walks away into the forest, still sin­ging. Com­man­da plays a final two-note gui­tar riff while he admits, in a voi­ceo­ver, “maybe if I lis­ten, I can hear what it has to say.” Thus, the film ends on the note of Com­man­da lear­ning how to blend his two cultures through the music he plays and lis­tens to.

Commanda’s film has simi­lar themes as Wawatie’s. It sets the natu­ral world as a type of concert stage that is alrea­dy esta­bli­shed as a musi­cal loca­tion. Howe­ver, it fur­ther deve­lops the ques­tion of the rela­tion­ship bet­ween the contem­po­ra­ry and the tra­di­tio­nal in both Indi­ge­nous music and iden­ti­ty. Com­man­da exposes his own rela­tion­ship with music and Indi­ge­nous iden­ti­ty by playing it out him­self and lis­te­ning to the tra­di­tio­nal music of his Ani­shi­naabe heri­tage. At first, both his contem­po­ra­ry self and the repre­sen­ta­tion of his Indi­ge­nous heri­tage take turns playing, trying to unders­tand each other. When they play toge­ther, the film sends the mes­sage that enjoying music and music-making for the twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry Indi­ge­nous youth involves blen­ding the contem­po­ra­ry with the tra­di­tio­nal, taking the time to lis­ten to both sides and play out the “conver­sa­tion” them­selves. While 3 his­toires d’Indiens spe­ci­fi­cal­ly observes the damage done to Indi­ge­nous youth when they use the musi­cal devices within their reach to iso­late, this short film (and Wawatie’s short film) por­trays the dua­li­ty of iden­ti­ty that Indi­ge­nous youth expe­rience and uses music to exa­mine how they navi­gate through both iden­ti­ties. More impor­tant­ly, it focusses on how Indi­ge­nous youth can find their own voice through embra­cing tra­di­tions and playing out the two sides of their iden­ti­ty in a musi­cal style. The film thus show­cases music as a sur­vi­vance tool, as Indi­ge­nous youth like Com­man­da can locate their voice through a musi­cal pro­cess of self-discovery.

The final film I will exa­mine from the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s col­lec­tion is one that does not use settler’s musi­cal ins­tru­ments but rather uses tra­di­tio­nal music as a means to high­light the sur­vi­vance of the Indi­ge­nous people. In her short film Nous nous sou­lè­ve­rons (We Will Rise Up) (2015), poet Nata­sha Kana­pé Fon­taine (Innue) deli­vers a slam poem about how Indi­ge­nous people have stayed alive through years of poli­ti­cal, social and cultu­ral colo­nia­lism. The film’s visual opens with Kana­pé Fon­taine stan­ding in a creek within a woo­ded area, obser­ving the world around her. Throu­ghout the enti­re­ty of the film, she wan­ders around the streets of down­town Mont­réal and the woo­den paths of a forest, taking in these land­scapes. Through these mini­ma­list visuals, the film directs the vie­wers’ focus onto the sound­track. In order to pro­per­ly represent how Indi­ge­nous peoples have sur­vi­ved cultu­ral colo­nia­lism, Kana­pé Fontaine’s film focuses on the role of the filmmaker’s voice and on how it can be a power­ful tool against the set­tler noises. It layers seve­ral natu­ral and musi­cal sound­tracks: a drum­beat car­ries the beat of the poem, rivers and wind sounds ope­rate as chords, crea­ting a tone to the poem while the poem’s words, spo­ken in a voi­ceo­ver, car­ry a melo­dy. The lines of Kana­pé Fon­taine often focus on the voice of Indi­ge­nous peoples or on how they have been silen­ced. She com­ments that set­tler media often “discus[ses] [Indi­ge­nous peoples] without reci­pro­ci­ty.” Later in the film, she asserts that “[t]hey will call us red-skin Qua­kers for we will quake to the sound of the drums and leaves dan­cing in the dawn wind.” Over archi­val images of Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ties pro­tes­ting police, Kana­pé Fon­taine states that “after the legal and ter­ri­to­rial bat­tles, we can whis­per to our grand­pa­rents’ ears that we have won the long fight.” Through the use of these archives, the film adds a cri­ti­cal poli­ti­cal dimen­sion to the voice: qua­king becomes a poli­ti­cal chan­ging of autho­ri­ty over Indi­ge­nous culture. While both Wawa­tie and Com­man­da explore their per­so­nal dis­co­ve­ry of Indi­ge­nous voice and musi­ca­li­ty in their film, Kana­pé Fon­taine shows a poli­ti­cal and col­lec­tive sense of self-expres­sion in hers. She believes that because they will win the fight, Indi­ge­nous com­mu­ni­ties will “fill the moor’s open wounds with a new song of run­ning ether: the cry of the unta­med.” This new song repre­sents the rising voices of Indi­ge­nous peoples, fin­ding a sense of col­lec­ti­vi­ty that was pre­vious­ly hard to attain. The final lines of the film are par­ti­cu­lar­ly revea­ling in this aspect, as Kana­pé Fon­taine looks up to the sky while stan­ding on a woo­ded path and says, direct­ly to the came­ra: “Today, I am waking up so I can conti­nue my long jour­ney to hope […]. I am reborn, inha­bi­ted by a cry. A single cry. The cari­bou is wai­ting for the wolf. The cari­bou is wai­ting for the Innu.”17

These lines empha­size that the voice is the ulti­mate tool for Indi­ge­nous peoples to fight back against sys­tems of colo­nia­lism. While 3 his­toires d’Indiens deve­lops a nar­ra­tive in which the noise of set­tler and colo­nial forces are too over­bea­ring for Indi­ge­nous youth to find their own strong voice, Kana­pé Fontaine’s film shows the power that an Indi­ge­nous voice pos­sesses in the first place. Seve­ral shots of her poem focus on the tac­tile and visuals senses in Indi­ge­nous pro­tests of set­tler oppres­sions; yet the lan­guage of sounds and the voice are the ones that Kana­pé Fon­taine returns to most fre­quent­ly in the lyrics of her poem. The film’s final line shows that the grea­test tool that Indi­ge­nous peoples will have in reclai­ming their culture is to inha­bit the cry they have inside and speak out against the colo­nial forces wor­king against them.

All three films from the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s col­lec­tion shine light on the impor­tance of the voice of their film­ma­kers. They all demons­trate and soni­fy the expe­rience of their creator’s musi­cal self-dis­co­ve­ry. The role of the sound in each of these works is empo­we­ring for their Indi­ge­nous crea­tor, either in a per­so­nal or poli­ti­cal sense. Music ope­rates within the Wapi­ko­ni Mobile not only as a connec­tion with tra­di­tio­nal culture, but as a connec­tion to the film­ma­kers’ own iden­ti­ties as Indi­ge­nous people and with others within their com­mu­ni­ties. Because the voice that ope­rates within these works is both indi­vi­dual and col­lec­tive, it becomes a source of power that can ope­rate against a set­tler sys­tem that desires to obli­viate Indi­ge­nous cultures. While Wawa­tie and Commanda’s works focus on the power­ful expe­rience of loca­ting one’s own voice and let­ting it speak through music, Kana­pé Fontaine’s demons­trates the posi­tive sen­sa­tions and events that can occur when Indi­ge­nous voices are heard in a public sphere. Sur­vi­vance, which is “more than sur­vi­val, more than endu­rance or mere res­ponse; [an] active pre­sence”, is thus present in these three short films, as music becomes in each of them a key way to speak out against set­tler colo­nia­lism.19

John Man­zo writes that for Indi­ge­nous peoples, the art of music-making and music sha­ring is a form of “oppo­si­tio­nal resis­tance” or “a cultu­ral form that is conscious­ly rai­sing, poli­ti­cal­ly pro­gres­sive, and libe­ra­ting.”20 While 3 his­toires d’Indiens does por­tray the poten­tial damages of using modern tech­no­lo­gy to escape from a noi­sy and pol­lu­ted world dic­ta­ted by set­tlers, it becomes pro­ble­ma­tic when consi­de­ring Morin’s pers­pec­tive and how Indi­ge­nous cha­rac­ters are silen­ced throu­ghout his film. Cinematic18 inter­pre­ta­tions of Indi­ge­nous youth crea­ting their own music and fin­ding the powers in their own voices, such as the three Wapi­ko­ni Mobile’s works that I have stu­died here, per­mit us to hear Indi­ge­nous music and voice in a much more pro­gres­sive lens. They become ways to express one’s thoughts (as in Wawatie’s film) or dis­co­ver one’s own cultu­ral iden­ti­ty (as in Commanda’s film), as well as they form a poli­ti­cal tool (as in Kana­pé Fontaine’s film). Through making music and spea­king poe­try, Indi­ge­nous youth are pro­vi­ded with the abi­li­ty to raise their voices in terms of their art-making and find a means to fight against colo­nial sys­tems that for­bid them from see­king their own agen­cy in self-expression.

Author Bio­gra­phy

Claire Gray is a PhD can­di­date at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh. Her research sur­rounds the role of sound and music in contem­po­ra­ry cine­ma and how they represent natio­nal and poli­ti­cal shifts, such as the ques­tions over Qué­bé­cois iden­ti­ty or the Brexit move­ment. She has pre­vious­ly pre­sen­ted her research at confe­rences such as the Film Stu­dies Asso­cia­tion of Cana­da, the Bri­tish Asso­cia­tion of Film, Tele­vi­sion and Screen Stu­dies, and the Asso­cia­tion for Cana­dian Stu­dies in the Uni­ted States. She has also pre­vious­ly wor­ked on pro­jects rela­ting to Indi­ge­nous cine­ma across the Ame­ri­cas, such as the crea­tion of a data­base of Indi­ge­nous women film­ma­kers and the reme­dia­tion of the Arnait Video Pro­duc­tions archive. She is cur­rent­ly co-wri­ting a chap­ter on the Arnait pro­ject, to be publi­shed in the Archive/Counter Archive antho­lo­gy next year. She is also cur­rent­ly co-edi­ting an antho­lo­gy on diverse and eve­ry­day heroisms in contem­po­ra­ry cinema.


  1. Mona Bel­leau, “Mona Bel­leau,” in Jeu­nesses Autoch­tones, Nata­sha Gagné and Laurent Jérôme, eds. (Qué­bec: Presses de l’Université Laval-Presses Uni­ver­si­taires de Rennes, 2009), 9.
  2. Karine Ber­trand, Le ciné­ma des Pre­mières Nations du Qué­bec et des Inuits du Nuna­vut: réap­pro­pria­tion cultu­relle et esthé­tique du sacré, PhD dis­ser­ta­tion (Mont­réal: Uni­ver­si­té de Mont­réal, 2013), 181.
  3. Byron Dueck, Musi­cal Inti­ma­cies and Indi­ge­nous Ima­gi­na­ries. Abo­ri­gi­nal Music and Dance in Public Per­for­mance (Oxford: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2013), 8.
  4. Eve Tuck, “Sus­pen­ding Damage: A Let­ter to Com­mu­ni­ties,” Har­vard Edu­ca­tio­nal Review 79.3 (2009): 409. The concept of sur­vi­vance was pre­vious­ly des­cri­bed by Gerald Vize­nor, who posi­ted that “[s]urvivance is an active resis­tance and repu­dia­tion of domi­nance, obtru­sive themes of tra­ge­dy, nihi­lism, and vic­tim­ry” and that “[t]he prac­tices of sur­vi­vance create an active19 pre­sence, more than the ins­tincts of sur­vi­val, func­tion, or sub­sis­tence.” See Gerald Vize­nor, Native Liber­ty (Lin­coln, Nebras­ka: Uni­ver­si­ty of Nebras­ka Press, 2009), 88.
  5. The pro­ject was set up by Qué­bé­cois film­ma­ker Manon Bar­beau in 2004. It aims to help break through the iso­la­tion that young Abo­ri­gi­nals can expe­rience, enabling them to deve­lop their crea­ti­vi­ty and acquire new skills rela­ting to cine­ma­to­gra­phy. Trai­ned film­ma­kers teach Indi­ge­nous youth the skills to create films; then loan them the equip­ment requi­red to make their own short films. See “Wapi­ko­ni mobile,” https://www.comminit.com/content/wapikoni-mobile (consul­ted on 22 Janua­ry 2022).
  6. Chris­tian Nadeau, “L’universel et le sin­gu­lier: 3 his­toires d’Indiens de Robert Morin, Qué­bec, 2014, 70m.” Ciné-Bulles 32.3 (2014): 37, trans­la­ted by the author.
  7. Michael Bull, Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Expe­rience (Lon­don: Rout­ledge, 2007), 3.
  8. Bull, Sound Moves, 129.
  9. Bull, Sound Moves, 129.
  10. Bull, Sound Moves, 3
  11. Shu­hei Hoso­ka­wa, “The Walk­man Effect,” Popu­lar Music 4.1 (1984): 171.
  12. Ismaël Hou­das­sine, “3 his­toires d’Indiens: Robert Morin bous­cule les pré­ju­gés,” Huf­fing­ton Post (4 June 2014), https://www.huffpost.com/archive/qc/entry/3‑histoires-dindiens-robert-morin-bouscule-les-prejuges_n_5100288 (consul­ted on 26 July 2021), trans­la­ted by the author.
  13. Ronald Nie­zen, The Redis­co­ve­red Self Indi­ge­nous Iden­ti­ty and Cultu­ral Jus­tice (Mont­réal: McGill-Queen’s Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2009), 9.
  14. Tuck, “Sus­pen­ding Damage,” 409.
  15. Robert Morin, cited in “3 his­toires d’Indiens – Film de Robert Morin,” Charles-Hen­ri Ramond, ed., Films du Qué­bec (8 April 2014), https://www.filmsquebec.com/films/3‑histoires-indiens-robert-morin/ (consul­ted on 26 July 2021).
  16. Nadeau, “L’universel et le sin­gu­lier,” 39.
  17. Karine Ber­trand, “The Wapi­ko­ni Mobile and the Birth of a New Indi­ge­nous Cine­ma in Québec,”The Ame­ri­can Review of Cana­dian Stu­dies 42.2 (2013): 284.
  18. See the music videos I’m Still Fal­ling (Melis­sa Gir­van, 2013), Hand Drums (Louis-Phi­lippe Moar, 2014) or Iame (Anna-Shei­la Bel­le­fleur, 2015).
  19. Vize­nor, Native Liber­ty, 39
  20. John Man­zo, “Rez Style: Themes of Resis­tance in Cana­dian Abo­ri­gi­nal RAP Music,” Cana­dian Jour­nal of Native Stu­dies 33.1 (2013): 174.