REVIEW: Arctic Defenders

 JANUARY 17, 2014, BY WILLIAM BROWNRIDGE FOR TORONTO FILM SCENE

1968, a radical Inuit movement began that ushered in change for the people of the north. Determined to protect their tradition and heritage, the Inuit people created the largest land claim in North America, leading to the creation of Nunavut. As global warming opening up passages through the ice, the sovereignty of the north is becoming an important issue. Arctic Defenders looks at the Inuit people who helped create Nunavut, the governments attempts at assimilating the Inuit for better or worse,  and the way in which the Inuit have continued to protect their land, frequently with little help from the rest of Canada.

Inspired by educational films, and a small carving, John Walker set out in 1968 to film life in Resolute Bay. What he was unaware of was the incredible trials the Inuit people had already been through. Previously to John’s first visit, many Inuit people had been picked up from their homeland, and dropped in Resolute Bay, in order to show that Canada had a claim to this massive piece of land.

Over 40 years later, John returns to Resolute Bay, looking to help share the story of those who stood up for their culture. They created government, claimed the land for themselves, and continue to protect the land, as well as the environment, that they have called home for so long. The determination of the Inuit is what helped them survive in a rather harsh environment, and by applying that same patience and determination to their political movement, they built Nunavut.

Is Arctic Defenders opening weekend worthy?

Absolutely. This is a part of history that very few Canadian people may know about, making this a very important film for everybody. With changing environmental conditions, history may be ripe to repeat itself, and knowledge will play an important part in that process.

Arctic Defenders opens Friday, January 17, 2014 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. Check their websitefor details and showtimes.

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