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The film, produced by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College (SICC) at a cost of about $30,000, was shot last summer at Treaty Six commemorations at Onion Lake and Beardy's reserves.
Activities depicted in the film range from the formal commemoration ceremonies near Fort Carleton to sporting events at the centennial summer games from gatherings of elders advising the young to the less serious parleys of hand-game gamblers.
Film director Bob Troff, with the aid of assistant director Harvey Whitecalf and cameramen Brian Tootoosis and Bob Howard, have captured some unforgettable moments on celluloid.
In The Spirit of Our Forefathers opens with a brief history of the signing of Treaty Six. The voice of narrator Gordon Tootoosis is supported by footage derived from old photographs showing the original treaty signatories.
The film then breaks to 1976 at the Treaty Six commemoration on Beardy's reserve near Fort Carleton close to the site of the first signing.
Deftly moving past the speeches of that ceremony, selecting only as many of the words as are necessary to enhance the scene's solemnity, the camera then takes the viewer to camp festivities.
Jigging, canoe races, foot races, soccer, the chuckwagons, singing and drumming-the excitement and vitality of the summer festivities have all been captured by this film.
One of the highlights of the film occurs during the footage of the Beardy's commemoration ceremony, As Lucky Man chief Rod Okemow decorously shatters ceremonial protocol by making a special plea for his 48 landless band members, the cameras cut away to capture the disconcerted expressions of former prime minister John Diefenbaker and Iona Camagnola, who was then the parliamentary secretary for Indian affairs.
The producers of the film intend to show it at band halls throughout Saskatchewan and it will also be available through the SICC library.
Viewers of the premiere showing of In The Spirit of Our Forefathers were treated to an evening of traditional Indian entertainment.
"Scenes from In The Spirit of Our Forefathers, a Saskatchewan Indian Cultural College [SICC] production, commemorating the
signing of Treaty Six in 1876. The film was shot at Treaty Six celebrations last summer at Beardy's and Onion Lake reserves."