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// Films // DetermiNATION Songs

DetermiNATION Songs

Paul M. Rickard & Michelle Smith / Canada / 2009 / 75 ' / English - French / S.T. English


Guillermo López Pérez
Paul M. Rickard & Michelle Smith
Paul M. Rickard
Malcolm Guy
Lucie Pageau

Links & Reviews

Awards & Festivals

Official Selection: Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal (RIDM)
Official Selection: Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels - Biarritz (FIPA)
Official Selection: Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (RVCQ)
Official Selection: Festival de Film sur les Droits de la Personne de Montréal (FFDPM)
Official Selection: Dreamspeakers Film Festival, Edmonton, Canada
Official Selection: Présence autochtone 2010, Montréal, Québec

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

In Production

A film that interweaves the stories of three talented native singer/songwriters and displays the resistance movements in their communities.


In determiNATION songs three native artists use voice, rhythms, samples and guitar riffs to cut through big 'P' politics to reveal a vibrant native music scene while exposing the realities and struggles in their communities. As resistance grows across Indian country, this film about music, art and politics pulls aboriginal stories from the back pages and puts them squarely at the front of the stage.

Directed by Michelle Smith and Paul Rickard, determiNATION songs interweaves the stories of three talented native singer/songwriters - Samian, Cheri Maracle and CerAmony - through the artists' creative process, inspiration, commitment and involvement with the resistance movements in their communities.

A rising star on the Quebec music scene, hip hop artist Samian raps in Algonquin about his personal struggles growing up, giving voice to a generation of dispossessed youth and obliging Quebecers to confront their historical relationship with First Nations.

Cheri Maracle, nominated for best female artist at the 2008 Aboriginal Music Awards, recently returned to her community of Six Nations. She sings about life on the rez and the struggle over unceded Mohawk land. She expresses what life is like for First Nations women, and pays homage to the thousands of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada.

Cree rockers Pakesso Mukash and Mathew Iserhoff, members of CerAmony, use Pak's guitar and Mat's powerful vocal style to voice the concerns of their people disenchanted with the destruction and sell off of Cree land to Hydro Quebec and big industry.

Growing up, many young Aboriginal artists experienced a loss of traditional culture and language. Music became a vehicle to reclaim native language and aspects of traditional culture that have been slowly eroding over centuries of colonial policy.

In the process, their work becomes a powerful source of strength, cultural renewal and political awareness for members of their community, particularly the youth, be it on or off reserve, in the city or in isolated settlements. For the broader public, these artists move people to dance, cry, think and act, all the while becoming more aware of the concerns facing First Nations peoples today while challenging their perceptions of what it means to be Native.


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