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Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child

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Richard Cardinal died at his own hand at the age of 17, having spent most of his life in a string of foster homes and shelters across Alberta. In this short documentary, Abenaki director Alanis Obomsawin weaves excerpts from Richard’s diary into a powerful tribute to his short life.  Released in 1984 — decades before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission — the film exposed the systemic neglect and mistreatment of Indigenous children in Canada’s child welfare system. Winner of the Best Documentary Award at the 1986 American Indian Film Festival, the film screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2008 as part of an Obomsawin retrospective and continues to be shown around the world.

1986, 29 min 10 s

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Special Award - Category: Educational Visual Anthropology to Children and Youth
Visual Anthropology Festival
September 15 to 22 1991, Parnu - Estonia

Crystal Apple Award - Category: Human Relations / Teen Suicide
National Educational Media Network Competition
May 17 to 21 1989, Oakland - USA

Red Ribbon Award - Category: Current Concerns
Itinerant - American Film and Video Festival
May 23 to 28 1988, New York - USA

Prize for Best Documentary
Annual American Indian Film Festival
November 13 to 15 1986, San Francisco - USA