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The Gift ONF/NFB

Catalogue Number:  NFB527044
Producer:  National Film Board of Canada
Producers:  Jerry Krepakevich, Graydon McCrea
Directors:  Gary Farmer
Producing Agencies:  National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
Subject:  Agriculture, Documentary, First Nations Studies, Global Studies, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, World History
Language:  English
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  1998
Running Time:  48m 54s
Closed Captions:  Yes

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Ever since it was first nurtured from a grass by the Maya, corn has held a sacred place in the lives of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

Before colonization, corn was widely used as a beverage, a food staple, an oil and a ceremonial object. It was respected and revered as a critical part of creation. The Gift explores the powerful bond and spiritual relationship that continues to exist between people and corn.

The video begins in North America on the traditional lands of the Six Nations Confederacy (in southern Ontario and northern New York state) where we witness the planting of the corn and all the work and humour that accompany the community harvest.

Next we travel to southern Mexico, from San Cristobal to the lowlands of the rain forests for the green corn and seed corn harvests. Mayan culture is inconceivable without corn--and NAFTA's threat to the the Maya's right to grow maize became a central issue in the Zapatista uprisings.

Through interviews, dance and song, The Gift is a beautiful exploration of the intertwined lives of people and corn, capturing the traditional, spiritual, economic and political importance of this sacred plant.

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