Encounter with Saul Alinsky - Part 2: Rama Indian Reserve
Catalogue Number: NFB522630
Producer: National Film Board Of Canada
Producers: Barrie Howells, John Kemeny
Directors: Peter Pearson
Producing Agencies: National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
Subject: Canadian Social Issues, Documentary, First Nations Studies, Indigenous Peoples, Social Issues, Social Studies
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 1967
Running Time: 32:06
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Indigenous youth, led by Duke Redbird, argue their ideas against the blunt pragmatism of American activist and writer Saul Alinksy. Author of the book “Rules for Radicals,” Alinsky, widely considered to be the father of community organizing, spent his life advocating for improved living conditions in poor communities across the United States. In this impassioned debate, the young activists question the corrupting influence of power and ask why Indigenous people cannot live traditionally and peacefully on the land. Alinsky responds, “You have got to be part of the world in order to change it. You are not going to make any changes by staying in your corner.” In Alinsky’s view, equality only happens when the disenfranchised have the strength to show the ruling powers that it will be more costly for them to withhold it. Encounter with Saul Alinksy offers fascinating insights into a conversation about power and activism that has lasting resonance today.
See also The Alinsky Approach series.
This film was produced as part of Challenge for Change/Société Nouvelle (CFC/SN), a groundbreaking community-engaged documentary program run by the National Film Board from 1967 to 1980. The program pioneered participatory and experimental storytelling in film and video, with a focus on the perspectives of Indigenous and marginalized communities whose voices were rarely represented in the media landscape. In 1968, the Challenge for Change program established the “Indian Film Crew,” marking the beginning of a movement of Indigenous filmmaking at the NFB and in Canada.
For more information on CFC/SN: https://www.nfb.ca/playlists/michael-brendan-thomas-waugh-ezra-winton/challenge-for-change/