| Bookmark and Share

Collapse of the proposed deal NB Power-Hydro Quebec deal / Phone-in : From savages to spiritual icons, Hollywood has played fast and loose with native culture. How have movies shaped perceptions of aboriginal people ?

Unplugged : It was described as a "game-changer" in the Eastern Canadian energy scene.
The proposed deal to sell NB Power assets to Hydro-Québec caught New Brunswickers, regional utilities and Atlantic Premiers unawares last October, and provoked a ferocious political backlash.
Premier Shawn Graham then began the task of selling the deal to citizens - explaining how it would solve the debt problem posed by the Crown electrical utility and make New Brunswick industries more competitive by giving them a break on power rates.
But despite subsequent negotiations to tweak the deal into something more palatable, it all ended abruptly this morning when Mr Graham announced the proposed deal was dead.
The CBC's Jacques Poitras traced the saga of the deal from its origins to the possible consequences of its collapse for consumers - and for Premier Graham.
But what of the other half of the deal ? Hear Premier Jean Charest's responses to reporters in Quebec shortly after the news broke.  

"Dusters" and DeceptionReel Injun, a documentary by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond, traces the evolution of Hollywood's fascination with aboriginal culture - an evolution mired in stereotypes, misunderstandings, and sheer ignorance that would be laughable if they hadn't been so damaging to native peoples over the past century.
For anybody who grew up watching Hollywood's version of native reality, the "Cowboys and Indians" canon is littered with stereotypes of aboriginal people that swing from the noble mystic, to the bloodthirsty savage, and even to "the groovy Indian" of the 1960s.
Reel Injun (the Director's Cut of which will be screened Wednesday, April 7th at the CBC Radio Room at 1599 South Park just off Spring Garden - at 7PM; $10) - explores how aboriginal people and native culture have been used by filmmakers as powerful symbols. It also celebrates the emergence of a vibrant native cinema which has produced spectacular films like Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner - from Inuk director Zacharias Kunuk, the first movie ever made in the Inuit language.  
We were joined by Neil Diamond and film critic Jesse Wente. Our question : How have movies shaped perceptions of aboriginal people ?
Click to download podcast