The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson's Bay Company

The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson's Bay Company

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The Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th-anniversary celebration in 1970 was no occasion for joy among the people whose lives were tied to the trading stores. Narrated by George Manuel, then president of the National Indian Brotherhood, this landmark film presents Indigenous perspectives on the company whose fur-trading empire drove colonization across vast tracts of land in central, western and northern Canada. There is a sharp contrast between the official celebrations, with Queen Elizabeth II among the guests, and what Indigenous people have to say about their lot in the Company’s operations. Released in 1972, the film was co-directed by Martin Defalco and Willie Dunn—a member of the historic Indian Film Crew, an all-Indigenous production unit established at the NFB in 1968.

Following on from scenes of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s 300th anniversary celebration, with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in attendance, the film bears down on applying the Aboriginal voice to a rather blunt indictment of a history of inequality in the trade relationship between the HBC and their Indian and Métis suppliers. Co-directed by Willie Dunn of the NFB’s Indian Film Crew.

Gil Cardinal
From the playlist: The Aboriginal Voice: the National Film Board and Aboriginal Filmmaking through the Years

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  • director
    Martin Defalco
    Willie Dunn
  • executive producer
    George Pearson
  • commentary
    David Wilson
  • editing
    David Wilson
  • photography
    Jean-Pierre Lachapelle
  • sound
    Jean Guy Normandin
  • sound editing
    John Knight
  • re-recording
    Michel Descombes
  • narrator
    George Manuel

  • expo97

    a young tom jackson is listening to the last song.

    expo97, 4 Jan 2014
  • Wamstigoshio

    I was hired by the HBC James Bay District as a clerk in training in 1967. I started at a post on Hudsons Bay and later spent time in the Ungava District. When I came to claim my C.P.P. pension in 2012 I found I was subject to a reduction of 25% as I was now living outside Canada and also subject to income tax. Both sides of 'the counter" paid a heavy price to the people 'in power'. I would 'do it all again' but this time 'stay up north'........

    Wamstigoshio, 10 Dec 2012
  • armandjoe

    The other Sideof The Ledger is of historical significance. Any time a part of Canadian structure it should not be hidden and looked and denied as non existent. In doing so it defies the presence of a hit of sorts on all of Canada.

    armandjoe, 18 Sep 2012
  • createAusername

    All your bay are belong to us

    createAusername, 8 Mar 2012
  • Alkaest

    Est-il possible de voir ce film en français ou avec un sous-titre français ?? Merci !

    Alkaest, 19 Sep 2011
  • sixam

    A better idea would have been to try buying enough shares in the HBC to gain a seat or two on the board of directors to hopefully force some concessions.

    sixam, 3 Jan 2011