Still from Club Native
Still from Club Native

Club Native

by Tracey Deer
What roles do bloodline and culture play in determining identity?
2008  ·  1h18m  ·  Canada
About the Film
Club Native is a candid and deeply moving look at the pain, confusion and frustration suffered by many First Nations people as they struggle for the most important right of all: the right to belong. On the Mohawk reserve of Kahnawake, located just outside the city of Montreal, Canada, there are two firm but unspoken rules drummed into every member of the community: Do not marry a white person and do not have a child with a white person. The potential consequences of ignoring these rules-loss of membership on the reserve, for yourself and your child-are clear, and for those who incur them, devastating. Break the rules, and you also risk being perceived as having betrayed the Mohawk Nation by diluting the “purity” of the bloodline. In Club Native, filmmaker Tracey Deer uses Kahnawake, her hometown, as a lens to probe deeply into the history and contemporary reality of Aboriginal identity. Following the stories of four women, she reveals the exclusionary attitudes that divide the community and many others like it across Canada. Deer traces the roots of the problem, from the advent of the highly discriminatory Indian Act through the controversy of Bill C31, up to the present day, where membership on the reserve is determined by a council of Mohawk elders, whose rulings often appear inconsistent. And with her own home as a poignant case study, she raises a difficult question faced by people of many ethnicities across the world: What roles do bloodline and culture play in determining identity?
Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
DOXA Film Festival, Winner, Best Canadian Documentary
Terres En Vues Media Arts Festival, Montreal, Winner, Best Documentary
Jeff Dom
Linda Ludwick, Christina Fon, Adam Symansky, Ernest Webb, Catherine Bainbridge and Ravida Din
Tracey Deer
Film Related
About the Director

Tracey Deer

Filmmaker Tracey Deer is a Mohawk filmmaker with multiple credits to her name, as a producer, writer and director. She currently resides in Kahnawake, her home reserve in Quebec.

Deer began her professional career with CanWest Broadcasting in Montreal, and later joined Rezolution Pictures to co-direct One More River: The Deal that Split the Cree, with Neil Diamond (Cree), which won the Best Documentary Award at the 2005 Rendez-vous du cinema québécois in Montreal and was nominated for Best Social/Political Documentary at the Geminis.

She next wrote, directed and filmed Mohawk Girls, about the lives of three teenagers, and herself as a teen, growing up in Kahnawake, which won the Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary Award at the 2005 imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival.
Her most recent solo documentary, Club Native, focuses on the issues of community membership and blood quantum, and was an official selection of Hot Docs 2008, won the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Documentary at DOXA/Documentary Film and Video Festival, and won additional awards at imagineNative, First Peoples’ Festival (Land InSights) and Weeneebeg Film Festival. Tracey won the 2009 Gemini for best documentary writing and Club Native won the Canada Award, a special Gemini prize for the best multicultural program.

She has also teamed up with director Paul Rickard (Cree) of Mushkeg Media to co-write and co-direct a feature documentary for APTN about a grass roots Mohawk language immersion school in Akwesasne called Kanien’kehaka: Living the Language.
Deer formed Mohawk Princess Pictures in 2006, which produced her first short fiction called Escape Hatch, a dramedy about the romantic misadventures of a Mohawk woman on her quest for love.

In the fall of 2009, Tracey teamed up again with Rezolution Pictures to transform her short Escape Hatch into the pilot Mohawk Girls, the series for APTN. The team is now in development writing 6 scripts for season 1. In the summer of 2010, Tracey traveled to Winnipeg to direct an episode for APTN’s 3rd season of the casino drama Cashing In, produced by Buffalo Gals and Animiki See Digital Production Inc.

Most recently, Tracey produced, wrote and co-directed the 6-part documentary series Working it Out Together, hosted by Waneek Horn-Miller, produced by Rezolution Pictures for APTN. It is slated to air in the fall of 2011.
Currently, she has multiple projects in development, including a 3D feature documentary and a fiction feature screenplay. Tracey received a B.A. in film studies from Dartmouth College in 2000, graduating with two awards for excellence. In 2009, she shared the Don Haig Award with colleague Brett Gaylor for overall career achievement as an emerging filmmaker. In 2008, Playback Magazine declared her one of the 25 rising stars in the Canadian entertainment industry. She is also a member of The Writer’s Guild of Canada.

“Tracey represents the next wave of native filmmaking,” says Adam Symansky, NFB producer of Mohawk Girl and Club Native. “It isn’t based on the past so much as on native communities taking responsibility and control of their future. That is the challenge she is putting out in her films.”

Other films by Tracey Deer