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The Grandfather Drum

Maple Leaf This item is only available for Canadian orders.

Catalogue Number:  TP0000
Producer:  Thunderstone Pictures
Producing Agencies:  Thunderstone Pictures
Subject:  Arts, Canadian Social Studies, First Nations Studies, Music, Social Studies
Language:  English
Grade Level:  6 - 8, 9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2015
Running Time:  12:42
Closed Captions:  Yes


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The drum is very much a part of the social and spiritual fabric of life in the First Nation, Metis and Inuit culture. The drum healed people for many years until Christianity was introduced to the community and colonialism became the new reality. The drum represents the heartbeat of the community.

Beautifully crafted animation combines with masterful storytelling in Anishinaabe filmmaker Michelle Derosier's film about a magic drum. For the Anishinabek, the drum is a revered object that brings healing. With this particular drum, now part of a museum collection, The Grandfather Drum is a timely film about the dispossession of Indigenous ceremonial artifacts. The film tells the true story of a First Nations elder. After his grandson dies, Naamowin builds a healing drum to restore balance and connection to his community. The program explores the heritage of colonialism and the subsequent trauma still deeply affecting First Nations communities.

English subtitles when narration is Anishinaabe – Ojibwe

Michelle Derosier (Anishinaabe) is from Migisi Sahgaigan, (Eagle Lake First Nation) in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. She is co-owner of Thunderstone Pictures Inc. and co-founder and past Festival Director of the Biindigaate Indigenous Film Festival in Thunder Bay, Ontario

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Official Selection – 2016 Sundance Film Festival

2016 Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto

2016 ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival



“Insightful and level-headed tale of an indigenous Canadian tribe and a ritual drum that passes down through generations before being taken by settlers and put in a museum… it's calm but purposeful, pointed but tranquil; it has the ability to see past transient contemporary concerns through to a kind of ageless wisdom. The animation is also really creative. Everything looks like paper cut-outs that fold in and out as the story progresses, as if the movie is a kind of animated pop-up book. Maybe the prettiest of the shorts.” – ScreeningNotes, Sundance Film Festival


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