Trick or Treaty?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Trick or Treaty?
Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Produced by Alanis Obomsawin
Written by Alanis Obomsawin
Music by Alain Auger
Cinematography René Sioui Labelle, Philippe Amiguet, Michael Darby
Edited by Alison Burns
National Film Board of Canada
Distributed by National Film Board of Canada
Release date
  • September 5, 2014 (2014-09-05) (Toronto International Film Festival)
Running time
85 minutes
Country Canada

Trick or Treaty? is a 2014 Canadian documentary feature film by Alanis Obomsawin about Treaty 9, a 1905 agreement in which First Nations peoples in northern Ontario surrendered their sovereign rights. The film is the first by an indigenous filmmaker to be selected to the Masters program at the Toronto International Film Festival, and is the 43rd film by Obomsawin for the National Film Board of Canada.[1][2]

In the film, Obomsawin interviews Nipissing University professor John Long, author of the book Treaty No. 9: Making the Agreement to Share the Land in Far Northern Ontario in 1905, Stan Louttit, Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council, and others about whether First Nations signatories were deceived by treaty commissioners, who offered oral promises that were not included in the final written agreement. The documentary places significant focus on the way the treaty was interpreted by First Nations peoples and the Canadian government. Often referencing two versions of the treaty: the written version, and the oral version.[3] The documentary offers insight into how treaties can be interpreted and poses the question of who has the right to interpret a treaty? The film also looks at efforts today by the Idle No More movement to fight for First Nations rights and documents the Nishiyuu, a 1,600 kilometre (990 mi) by a group of Cree youth from the Eeyou Istchee to the Canadian capital in the winter of 2013 to bring their concerns to Parliament Hill.[2][4][5] The film's closing sequence is set to John Trudell's song "Crazy Horse."[6]


Louttit, described by Obomsawin as the inspiration to make Trick or Treaty?, died several months before the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, on September 5, 2014. Obomsawin has said she planned to make the film after Louttit had informed her of plans to re-enact the 1905 signing of the treaty.[7] Louttit's headdress was placed by an empty chair at the Toronto premiere by Obomsawin.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Long, John (19 November 2010). Treaty No. 9: Making the Agreement to Share the Land in Far Northern Ontario in 1905. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0773537619.


  1. ^ "Alanis Obomsawin on her history-making premiere at TIFF 2014". 5 September 2014. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Ravindran, Manori (10 September 2014). "TIFF '14: Revisiting history with "Trick or Treaty?"". Reelscreen. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  3. ^ National Film Board of Canada, Trick of Treaty, 2014.
  4. ^ Reardon, Kiva (28 August 2014). "TIFF 2014: Alanis Obomsawin's "Trick or Treaty?". Point of View. Documentary Organization of Canada. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b Carpenter, Lenny (18 September 2014). "Trick or Treaty? premiere stirs mixed emotions". Wawatay News. Wawatay Native Communications Society. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  6. ^ Mintzer, Jordan (4 September 2014). "'Trick or Treaty?': Toronto Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  7. ^ Ahearn, Victoria (September 3, 2014). "First Nations doc maker Alanis Obomsawin mourns loss of Trick or Treaty? star". The Canadian Press. CBC News. Retrieved 17 September 2014.

External links[edit]