Filmmakers Richard Desjardins
and Robert Monderie
spotlight an often ignored people. Their turbulent history, brought to the screen for the first time, dates back over 5,000 years. But the next century may well be their last. For too long, they have lived in abject conditions, sometimes worse than in Third World countries. Yet the two filmmakers didn't have to travel thousands of miles to find these people. The Algonquin nation lives in Quebec.
Barely two centuries ago, the Algonquin occupied land that stretched from Laval to Val d'Or and over to Lake Huron. Like their ancestral way of life, this land has all but disappeared. The nation of 9,000 is now divided in Quebec into 10 communities, their final refuge. The Algonquin have been forced into a sedentary lifestyle, often reduced to poverty and cut off from their traditions. The nation is slowly coming apart. The infant mortality rate is high. Younger children have lost their mother tongue and can no longer communicate in Algonquin with their grandparents.
They are invisible to whites, who often still harbour prejudice against the Algonquin and all Aboriginals. Ignoring all the clichés, the filmmakers visit the last parcels of Algonquin land to give these people a voice and to reveal their unspoken and hidden despair.