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New documentary 'The Country' gives voice to Newfoundland Mi'kmaq

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On June 24, at 10:30 p.m., the documentary channel (CBC) is premiering the feature documentary film “The Country” as part of its programming celebrating National Indigenous History Month.

Filmed entirely in Western Newfoundland between October 2016 and July 2017, “The Country” shares the voices of a handful of compelling Newfoundland Mi’kmaq who champion a story of recognition and a community of people reviving their nation.

A backdrop to their stories is the federal enrolment process, designed to grant status under the Indian Act after nearly half a century of change-seeking by Mi’kmaw communities since being penciled out of the Terms of Union in 1949.

Kelly Anne Butler, a Mi’kmaw woman and one of the film’s producers, sees the film as a way to share very human stories that have been obscured by mainstream national coverage of the enrolment process. That coverage has put Newfoundland Mi’kmaq in an awkward position with both settler society and Indigenous groups across Canada, especially around questions of legitimacy. 

“For me, the act of working on this film together, for all of us, is an example of reconciliation in action,” Butler stated in a press release. “And people across Canada can participate in that simply by taking the time to watch this film and listen to our voices.”

“The Country” is a portrait of a resilient people in search of their own truth, legitimacy, and reconciliation.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Phyllis Ellis and produced by Kelly Anne Butler, Phyllis Ellis, and David Maggs.

The film will be replayed 2:30 a.m. on June 25 and 2:30 p.m. on July 1.

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