Natives were portrayed in movies and television as stoic, one-dimensional savages in buckskin. And even then, the roles of the “savages” were played by southern European-types in brown makeup and bad wigs. Aboriginals, Natives, Indians…ignored and abhorred by the entertainment establishment and the culture at large.
A lot has changed in the past 30 years, especially in Canada where Aboriginals now produce and direct films, star in television programs, and have their own cable network. Something their cousins south of the border look at with awe.
Director Susan Cardinal’s documentary, Dream Makers takes the viewer on a journey of Natives in film from the era of John Ford to the Canadian television programs North of 60 and Corner Gas. Hosted by award-winning actress Tantoo Cardinal, Dream Makers interviews those in the trenches—the actors and directors who remember the bad old days like Gordon Tootoosis, August Schellenberg, Graham Green, and Jimmy Herman to the young guns like Nathaniel Arcand, Dakota House and Stacy Da Silva who are heralding in the new age.