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Film Exhibition at Indian Residential School, 1930-1969

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Film Exhibition at Indian Residential School, 1930-1969

Hughes, Joel (2016) Film Exhibition at Indian Residential School, 1930-1969. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the pedagogical imperatives informing film exhibition within the Indian Residential School System in Canada between the years 1930-1969, and argues the medium was specifically employed to facilitate the system’s culturally genocidal ideology and curriculum. Archival in methodology, I utilize a range of administrative documents from the Canadian government and varying religious organizations to write the history of film exhibition at residential schools. I situate this research in concert with postcolonial theory, suggesting the films exhibited intended to reimagine Indigenous identity in ways beneficial to the colonial powers dictating Canadian culture and privilege, and then to transfer this identity to the students through educational positioning of film.
My introductory chapter outlines a brief history of the Indian Residential School System, and situates my study in conversation with scholarship on educational and colonial uses of cinema. Chapter One illustrates how film was incorporated into the residential schools, beginning in 1930 with the earliest reference to the medium’s use, and extending to the late 1960s, in which rental receipts from schools in Ontario and Quebec suggest film’s later prevalence throughout the system. Chapter Two examines the themes and patterns of the films exhibited, focusing on the frequency with which Hollywood Westerns, and films depicting indigeneity around the world, were screened. Chapter Three employs archival materials to demonstrate the interrelationship between the National Film Board of Canada and residential schools. I show that the Film Board’s “rural circuit” method of distribution had contact with the schools, and that its films were positioned to educate the students regarding the distinctly Canadian identity of the system intended they adopt. Chapter Four concludes this dissertation by aligning film with a public relations campaign undertaken by the residential school system, Churches, and Indian Affairs. This campaign was meant to mislead Canadians, and thereby maintain, public support for the culturally genocidal institutions in their midst. Film and moving images, as I demonstrate throughout the entirety of this work, engaged a complex and multifaceted interaction with the residential school system, its assimilative efforts, and culturally genocidal ideology.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Hughes, Joel
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Film and Moving Image Studies
Date:June 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Wasson, Haidee
ID Code:981752
Deposited By: JOEL HUGHES
Deposited On:09 Nov 2016 15:43
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:53
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