Keep Calm+Decolonize

Walking is Medicine: A journey toward decolonization with legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawim

Jesse Wente: "Obomsawin takes just more than five minutes to blast us with wisdom and resistance"

Jesse Wente: 'Obomsawin takes just more than five minutes to blast us with wisdom and resistance'

"Walking is Medicine" by Alanis Obomsawin

As the country marks 150 years of Confederation, five of Canada's most distinguished filmmakers respond to Buffy Sainte-Marie's call to "Keep Calm and Decolonize" and offer an alternative vision. Watch all five films now.

A note from series curator Jesse Wente

Filmmaking legend Alanis Obomsawin has made 50 films in 50 years working for the National Film Board of Canada. Call this 50 ½. Obomsawin takes just more than five minutes to blast us with wisdom and resistance in the form of a short story that encapsulates her half century of decolonization. Exploring the power and meaning of walking, Alanis tells the story of the Nishiyuu walkers who made the trek from Whapmagoostui in Quebec to Ottawa, a 1,600km journey whose roots date back millennia.

(Alanis Obomsawin)

An act of protest, reclamation and restoration, walking is itself an act of decolonization, reconnecting modern communities and youth with traditional practices and ways of being. Once again, Alanis shows us the path and invites us to walk with her. 

About the filmmaker, Alanis Obomsawin 

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada's most distinguished filmmakers.

(Alanis Obomsawin)

In 2017, Ms. Obomsawin completed her 50th film in the 50th year of a legendary filmmaking career at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), during which she has devoted herself to chronicling the lives and concerns of First Nations people and exploring issues of importance to all.

From shadow puppets to documentary, Keep Calm and Decolonize explores what a "decolonized" Canada might look like, imagining a world no longer bound by the structures you know, where the circle of voices is larger. Watch all five films now.