Sunday, March 23, 2014

HONOUR YOUR WORD: Premiere of Barriere Lake documentary

Standing Ovation of Hundreds for Mitchikanibikok Inik Land Defenders (MontrĂ©al)

On February 10th Cinema Politica Concordia screened Martha Stiegman's new doc, HONOUR YOUR WORD (produced by the wonderful folks at Productions Multi-monde), "an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with the political injustice they face."
Stiegman's film provides a very personal look at community and resistance, ultimately confronting mainstream media coverage and challenging settler apathy. The one-hour doc is a must-see for anyone interested in social justice, indigenous culture, and Canada's legacy of genocide, colonization and continued settler oppression. The lensing of this important work always comes across as profoundly patient, and the direction always concerned with the ways in which people embody both oppression and the power to resist.
Documentary by Martha Stiegman


Honour Your Word is an intimate portrait of life behind the barricades for the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, an inspiring First Nation whose dignity and courage contrast sharply with material poverty and political injustice they face. 
The title refers to their campaign slogan demanding Canada and Quebec honour a precedent-setting conservation deal signed in 1991. Director, Martha Stiegman, spent four years shooting this poetic, heartfelt documentary that challenges stereotypes of "angry Indians." Honour Your Word juxtaposes starkly contrasting landscapes—the majesty of the bush, a dramatic highway stand-off against a riot squad, daily life within the confines of the reserve—to reveal the spirit of a people for whom blockading has become an unfortunate part of their way of life, a life rooted in the piece of Boreal Forest they are defending.

The film draws us into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachice, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part. Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth, to force Canada and Quebec to honour their word.

Their fight may be an impossible one, but as we spend time with Marylynn, Norman and the community they are so deeply a part of, we grow to identify with the impulse driving a struggle that spans generations. We learn why for people here, standing up is a necessity, not a choice - and what compels them to do so, despite the odds.

The film draws us into the lives of two young leaders: Marylynn Poucachice, a mother of five, and Norman Matchewan, the soft-spoken son and grandson of traditional chiefs. Both spent their childhoods on the logging blockades their parents set up to win a sustainable development plan protecting their land. But it turns out signing the agreement was the easy part. Now, 20 years later, Norman and Marylynn are taking up the struggle of their youth, to force Canada and Quebec to honour their word.

Their fight may be an impossible one, but as we spend time with Marylynn, Norman and the community they are so deeply a part of, we grow to identify with the impulse driving a struggle that spans generations. We learn why for people here, standing up is a necessity, not a choice - and what compels them to do so, despite the odds.


Link with more information on the premiere, as part of the Cinema Politica series. 

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Ottawa Premiere: April 22 2014



















The director and Marylynn Poucachiche, community activist featured in the film