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In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors

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Catalogue Number:  NC0000
Producer:  Nicholas Castel
Subject:  Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Documentary, First Nations Studies, Guidance, Health, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Nature, Physical Geography, Social Sciences, Social Studies, Sociology
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2020
Running Time:  60:08


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In The Footsteps Of Our Ancestors is an award-winning documentary feature and multi-layered community engagement project focused on the Canol Youth Leadership Hike: an epic wilderness trek in the homeland of the Shúhtagot’ı̨nę (Mountain Dene). The trail follows the historic WWII CANOL pipeline route in the Sahtú Region of the Northwest Territories.

Tracing the abandoned remains of the Canol Pipeline project, one of World War II’s failed energy pursuits, the diverse team of youth, elders and community guides walk in the footsteps of the Shúhtagot’ı̨nę Mountain Dene, the Indigenous stewards of the land since time immemorial.

Faced with some of the most beautiful and unforgiving wilderness found in Canada, the team quickly understand what the realities of life in the mountains would have been like for their Sahtú Dene and Métis ancestors and the difficulties faced by the American Army in building one of the greatest constructions projects of the 20th century.

With each foot placed in front of the other, the hikers reveal an enduring message for future generations and showcase the power of youth leadership, the spirit of teamwork, and the tremendous potential we unlock inside ourselves when we are chosen by the land.

“This teaching is going to help educate the peolpe, to see how we have to work together in the future for the next seven generations. It was a very powerful film. Very much so.” -  Perry Bellegarde, Canadian National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations


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