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MoMA Presents Major Exhibition of the Films of Canadian Filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin
My Name is Kahentiiosta, directed by Alanis Obomsawin, produced by Alanis Obomsawin. Photo taken from the production. ©1995 National Film Board of Canada. All rights reserved.

NEW YORK.- The Museum of Modern Art presents the most extensive U.S. retrospective of the films of Alanis Obomsawin, one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers. Alanis Obomsawin: A Retrospective, which is presented May 14–26, 2008, in The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters, is a comprehensive overview of the films and videos of the Canadabased filmmaker, who chronicles many of the struggles and the history of the First Nations of Canada. The filmmaker will introduce and discuss her films May 14 through 18.

The exhibition is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art. A member of the Abenaki Nation, which originally spanned from New England northward to Quebec, Obomsawin was born on Abenaki Territory in New Hampshire in 1932 and raised on the Odanak reservation northeast of Montreal. Deeply absorbed in the history, traditional stories, and songs of her ancestors, she started her career as a singer, writer, and storyteller.

In 1971 she made Christmas at Moose Factory, a short animated film about Indian children in residential schools, and since then she has worked with the National Film Board of Canada to make more than 30 documentaries on First Nations people and issues affecting their traditions, customs, and way of life. Obomsawin first covered the conflicts over land and rights in Canada with Incident at Restigouche (1984). Her film Kanehsatake: 270 years of Resistance (1993), about the Mohawk protest against the expansion of a golf course into their sacred burial lands, received international acclaim, including the Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival that year. Her films—which utilize interviews, drawings, songs, and music—are marked by their original research, meticulous attention to historical detail, compassion for her contemporary subjects, and insights into the rights and lives of First Nations peoples. In May 2008 Obomsawin will receive the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement, one of Canada’s highest honors.

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