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Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man

Directed by Alanis Obomsawin
Canada, 1997 (documentary, 58 minutes, colour, English)
Also known as "Spudwrench : l'homme de Kahnawake"
Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man
Image: © National Film Board of Canada
Video (National Film Board of Canada)

Film Description:
"Meet Randy Horne, high steel worker from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, near Montreal. As a defender of his people's culture and traditions, he was known as 'Spudwrench' during the 1990 Oka crisis. Horne was behind the barricades, resisting the efforts of the municipality of Oka to expand a golf course onto sacred Mohawk land. Horne is one of many Mohawk high steel workers who have travelled the continent, working on some of the world's tallest buildings—but have never lost touch with their roots. Spudwrench - Kahnawake Man is both a portrait of Horne and the generations of daring Mohawk construction workers that have preceded him, and a unique look behind the barricades at one man's impassioned defence of sacred territory."
-- National Film Board of Canada (source)

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

Quotes about Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man

"In the early days of the [Oka] Crisis, [Alanis] Obomsawin abandoned the project she was working on in order to take a film crew to Kanesatake. Obomsawin remained behind the barricades for the duration of the Crisis, providing the only First Nations-generated footage of this event. The insight she brings, as a Native person, to the Crisis is key to its chronicling and to mediating the experiences of the Mohawk people in the community. Her work fulfills an important archival and communicative function. From the footage she collected over those many weeks, [in addition to Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance] Obomsawin also made My Name is Kahentiiosta (1995), about a Mohawk woman's arrest and defiance after the Crisis; Spudwrench: Kahnawake Man (1997), the story of a Mohawk ironworker involved in the defense of Kanesatake during the Crisis; and Rocks at Whiskey Trench (2000), in which she explores corollary events at another nearby Mohawk community, the reservation of Kahnawake. In all of these films, she deftly weaves Mohawk culture, the politics of community, the history of Native/non-native relations and the experience of trauma with a unique lens on setting, the land itself."
-- Elizabeth Claire Kalbfleisch (source)

"Certainly, Spudwrench comes across as peaceful and hardworking, which suits the film's emphasis on the importance of Native labor to the wider economy of North America. In depicting scenes such as Spudwrench's long commute from Canada to New York City to toil on half-constructed skyscrapers, Obomsawin creates an insightful portrait of Native men as a neglected part of the working-class culture of North America."
-- Randolph Lewis (source)

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