Alanis Obomsawin is the laureate of the 13th Glenn Gould Prize. She is also a transformative artist, often hailed as the “grandmother of Indigenous cinema.” Her 53 documentary films chronicle a vast range of Indigenous experience — incendiary outrage at generations of colonial injustice, the path toward reconciliation, and joyous celebrations of love and solidarity.
Alanis is also an inspired visual artist, a teacher, storyteller and musician, whose singing illuminated the folk movement of the ‘60s and ’70s. Above all, she is a noble spirit whose life and work have pointed the way towards pride, healing and justice, a calling she has embraced throughout her 89 years with compassion and grace. In Part I of this two-part conversation, Alanis recounts the formative experiences that shaped her, and gave her the courage and determination to pursue her calling as one of the great truth-tellers of our time.