21 photographs, 2 illustrations, 1 map
While Indigenous media have gained increasing prominence around the world, the vibrant Aboriginal media world on the Canadian West Coast has received little scholarly attention. As the first ethnography of the Aboriginal media community in Vancouver, Sovereign Screens reveals the various social forces shaping Aboriginal media production including community media organizations and avant-garde art centers, as well as the national spaces of cultural policy and media institutions.
Kristin L. Dowell uses the concept of visual sovereignty to examine the practices, forms, and meanings through which Aboriginal filmmakers tell their individual stories and those of their Aboriginal nations and the intertribal urban communities in which they work. She explores the ongoing debates within the community about what constitutes Aboriginal media, how this work intervenes in the national Canadian mediascape, and how filmmakers use technology in a wide range of genres—including experimental media—to recuperate cultural traditions and reimagine Aboriginal kinship and sociality. Analyzing the interactive relations between this social community and the media forms it produces, Sovereign Screens offers new insights into the on-screen and off-screen impacts of Aboriginal media.
“Nowhere is Aboriginal media more active, more vibrant, and more significant than in Canada. . . . The efforts of small, underfunded, ambitious, and creative groups of filmmakers in Vancouver make for an engaging story. . . . This is a clear, useful, and well-researched book.”—Michael Evans, author of Fast Runner: Filming the Legend of Atanarjuat