Of the 47 films premiering or screening at the Montreal First Peoples Festival this year, the intersection of environmental destruction with indigenous rights played a major role.
They range from Buffalo Calling, an animated short depicting the history of the bison in Canada—it did not go much better for them north of the 49th Parallel than south of it—to Can’t Stop the Water, a documentary about an indigenous family struggling to survive on a tiny island off Louisiana as rising sea levels overtake the very ground they stand on.
There is also the hilarious, as with the Mohawk Midnight Runners, and the haunting, as in Huyhuy (Trade), by Sky Hopinka of the U.S., which depicts the drug culture.
Internationally, there are the fights by tribes against oil companies in South America, and the Mixtec of Mexico’s depiction of their hidden history.
The Montreal First Peoples Festival runs from July 29 through August 5.
Below, a preview of the rich offerings for 2014.