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Club Native 2008


Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Rezolution Pictures Inc., National Film Board of Canada
Directed by Tracey Deer
DVD, color, 88 min.

College - Adult
Anthropology, Canadian Studies, Multicultural Studies, Native American Studies, Women's Studies

Date Entered: 02/04/2009

Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen, Washington State University, Vancouver, WA

Whether western society has entered a period when race is no longer a political consideration is a matter of much televised debate. In reality, racial identity and purity of bloodlines remains a strong and often divisive issue throughout the world. In this compassionate documentary, Canadian filmmaker Tracey Deer explores the pain of other-ness and belonging from the perspective of four women grappling with the subject on a very personal level.

Although the Canadian Indian Act, and the 1985 C-31 Amendment, legally and legislatively define indigenous descent, identity and status, for many answering the question “What does it mean to be an Indian?” is a much more difficult one. Using her hometown of Kahnawake, near Montreal, as the backdrop for this story, Deer combines interviews with archival family and newsreel footage, to show how inclusion or exclusion as a Mohawk is arbitrarily determined by a Council of Elders. For each of the four un-named women profiled, that decision and acceptance as a Mohawk is often at odds with the reality of daily life.

The technical quality of the film is excellent and the very personal perspective on the larger question of race is powerful. Recommended.