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You Are on Indian Land

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Released in 1969, this short documentary was one of the most influential and widely distributed productions made by the Indian Film Crew (IFC), the first all-Indigenous unit at the NFB. It documents a 1969 protest by the Kanien'kéhaka (Mohawk) of Akwesasne, a territory that straddles the Canada/US border. When Canadian authorities prohibited the duty-free cross-border passage of personal purchases—a right established by the Jay Treaty of 1794—Kanien'kéhaka protesters blocked the international bridge between Ontario and New York State. Director Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell later became Grand Chief of Akwesasne. The film was formally credited to him in 2017. You Are on Indian Land screened extensively across the continent, helping to mobilize a new wave of Indigenous activism. It notably was shown at the 1970 occupation of Alcatraz.

The film shows the confrontation with police, and ensuing action, including footage of Mohawk political activist Kahn-Tineta Horn.

1969, 36 min 48 s

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Etrog: Special Award for Reportage given to Michael Rubbo
Genie Awards
October 3 1970, Toronto - Canada

Blue Ribbon Award
Itinerant - American Film and Video Festival
May 12 to 16 1970, New York - USA