Incident in Restigouche

Les Événements de Restigouche
Director: Alanis Obomsawin

Canada, 1984, documentary, 45 minutes, english with lithuanian subtitles, N-7

On June 11 and 20, 1981, the Québec Provincial Police (QPP) raided Restigouche Reserve, Québec. At issue were the salmon-fishing rights of the Mi’kmaq people. Because salmon has traditionally been a source of food and income for the Mi’kmaq, the Québec government's decision to restrict fishing aroused consternation and anger. This film provides a historical perspective on the issue, and documents, with newsclips, photographs and interviews, the two police raids. An interview with former Québec Minister of Fisheries Lucien Lessard explaining the motives of his decision complements the Mi’kmaqs' account of the event. Coming from Alanis Obomsawin, one of the most important names in the history of Canadian documentary filmmaking, this film is a historical document and an invesigation into the processes of history and truth-making.

About the director:

Alanis Obomsawin (b. 1932 in Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA) is a film director, singer, artist and storyteller. Obomsawin is a member of the Abenaki Nation and one of the most revered names in Canadian documentary filmmaking as she has been making uncompromising features about the issues facing Canadian Aboriginals for more than 40 years. The director’s filmography features over 50 films that have been shown in film festivals, museums, universities, prisons and arts centres all over the world. In 2008, the artist’s work was showcased in a special retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The same year Obomsawin received the Canadian Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement. Incident in Restigouche is one of Obomsawin’s most important early films which solidified her position as an exemplary voice in documentary filmmaking.

Section: Wide Angle

Screenplay: Alanis Obomsawin

Dir. of Photography: Rogert Rochat, Savas Kalogeras