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My Name Is Kahentiiosta

Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Canada, 1995 (documentary, 30 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Je m'appelle Kahentiiosta"
My Name Is Kahentiiosta
Photo © National Film Board of Canada

Film Description:
"Arrested after the 78-day armed standoff during the 1990 Oka crisis, Kahentiiosta, a young Kahnawake Mohawk woman proud of her centuries-old heritage, is detained four days longer than the other women. Her crime? The prosecutor representing the Quebec government will not accept her aboriginal name. From the perspective of Kahentiiosta, we witness the arrest and detention of those who withdrew to the Treatment Centre after the Canadian Army advanced, and we learn why Kahentiiosta was prepared to die to protect the land and trees sacred to the Mohawk people of Kanehsatake."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Alanis Obomsawin
Produced by: Alanis Obomsawin, Don Haig
Film Editing: Ruby-Marie Dennis
Music: Claude Vendette, Francis Grandmont
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada / Office national du film du Canada

Quotes about My Name Is Kahentiiosta

"The filmic strategy invites the spectator into the subject's world. It's not quite clear whom Kahentiiosta is addressing; she could be telling what happened to people in her community who were not there or had not heard about it. The narration is very informal and conveys powerfully if in tactfully restrained manner the pain of the violence threatened to land that contains memories of ancestors and represents links to the earth vital to the community."
-- E. Ann Kaplan (source)

"Unlike Kahnesatake, My Name is Kahentiiosta (1995) is a memoir rather than a history of the standoff, with one Mohawk woman providing a microcosm of the event and its aftermath. In traditional Mohawk fashion, Kahentiiosta begins the twenty-nine-minute film with a recounting of her birth and family history, before emphasizing the impact of the Oka crisis on her children."
-- Randolph Lewis (source)

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