Bishop’s University to host distinguished filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin in a special day of programming honouring Abenaki traditional land stewards

Bishop’s University to host distinguished filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin in a special day of programming honouring Abenaki traditional land stewards

On October 12, 2017, Bishop’s University welcomes featured speaker Alanis Obomsawin, a multiple award-winning filmmaker, and Abenaki leaders from the community of Odanak, Quebec in an afternoon and evening of dialogue in recognition that the university stands on the traditional territory of the Abenaki people.

Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers. 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. The campus community is eager for the opportunity to learn from Ms. Obomsawin as the featured speaker during an afternoon lecture, and she will also join a roundtable discussion with Abenaki leaders during the evening. Members of the public are warmly invited to attend both events.

Afternoon lecture by Alanis Obomsawin
Waban-aki: People from Where the Sun Rises
Thursday, October 12, 2-4 PM
Centennial Theatre

An evening with Abenaki leaders and filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin
Honouring the traditional land stewards of Nikitotegwasis: Truth telling, the spirit of Treaty, and the Path to Renewal (organized in collaboration with Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre)
Thursday, October 12, 6-9 PM
Centennial Theatre

Roundtable discussion featuring:

  • Alanis Obomsawin, distinguished Canadian filmmaker, member of the Abenaki Nation
  • Richard O’Bomsawin, Chief, Abenaki Band Council of Odanak
  • Daniel G. Nolett, General Manager, Abenaki Band Council of Odanak
  • Suzie O’Bomsawin, Director of the Ndakinna Office (claim and territorial consultation), Grand Conseil de La Nation Waban-Aki
  • Mathieu O’Bomsawin, Director, Musée des Abénakis
  • Miles Turnbull, Vice-Principal Academic, Bishop’s University

For Ms. Obomsawin, her most recent film cycle represents a departure for First Nations: “Young people are leading the way. Their leadership and strength is beautiful and inspiring. We are on the road to a place we’ve never been before, to a new age for Indigenous peoples, and it is our youth who are leading us. This is what I am trying to show in these films.”

“We are honoured that Ms. Obomsawin and her fellow Abenaki leaders will be on hand to share their insight and experience with us,” says the event organizer, Dr. Lisa Taylor of the School of Education. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called upon all Canadians, and particularly educational institutions, to commit to the serious work of truth-telling and relationship building. Acknowledging and honouring the traditional land stewards of what today is the University’s campus can only be a first step in a process of listening and dialogue,” she continued.

“Bishop’s University believes that there is an urgent need for educational institutions at all levels to do their part in reconciliation with Canada’s indigenous peoples,” said Miles Turnbull, Vice-Principal Academic. “Indigenous youth continue to be underrepresented in Canadian higher education institutions and Bishop’s is committed to doing its part to close this education gap,” he added.

Both events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Bishop’s Speakers’ Fund, the School of Education, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the Crossing Borders Research Cluster.


Dr. Lisa Taylor, Full Professor, School of Education
Bishop’s University
819-822-9600, extension 2344