Films are an important resource for supporting teaching and learning for Aboriginal students as well as all those in Indigenous Studies programs. They can be a tool for facilitating a connection and understanding between two worlds, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, because they are a platform for the spoken voices, stories, histories of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and those from other peoples around the globe.
But it can be challenging to access these materials if they are catalogued by accession number and stored on closed shelves—the two worlds can remain separated. And even if films are catalogued using a Western classification system such as Library of Congress, important knowledge might still remain inaccessible because such systems do not necessarily Aboriginal values or concepts.
This study explores a potential methodology for developing metadata that is culturally-linked, critically analyzed, and relevant for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal faculty, students and staff at Carleton University (located on unceded Algonquin territory), we are conducting a pilot project in which participants watch and record their responses to “Mohawk Midnight Runners,” a film by Heiltsuk/Mohawk filmmaker Zoe Leigh Hopkins. Informed by resources such as the Brian Deer Classification scheme, our analysis could suggest a process for creating culturally-linked metadata that respects First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples and better reflects their cultures and lived experiences.