Kiviaq Versus Canada (2006)


In Edmonton Alberta, Zacharias Kunuk, internationally renowned Inuit director meets Kiviaq, Canada’s first Inuit lawyer. A former Golden Gloves boxing champion, a City Alderman, Kiviaq was also the only Inuk ever to play on the Edmonton Eskimos CFL football team. He arrived in the city as a young boy and was told to shed his Inuit identity. Now dying of cancer, he is focused on the last and most important fight of his life – suing the Canadian government to secure for the Inuit the same official status as all the other aboriginal peoples of Canada. Through the efforts of this extraordinary individual, we witness Zacharias Kunuk experience new ways to stand up for his own rights as an Inuk in this exceptional political documentary.

Zacharias Kunuk was nine years old when his family gave up their nomadic lifestyle and settled in the new government town of Igloolik. As a co-founder and creative member of the Igloolik Isuma Productions team, Kunuk’s credits include documentaries

Nipi (Voice, 1999) and Nanugiurutiga (My First Polar Bear, 2001); and the internationally acclaimed feature film, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner (2000). Recipient of an Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2000 and a National Arts Award in 2001, Kunuk was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. Kunuk still lives full time in Igloolik where he hunts as often as he can.

One Comment Add yours

  1. F. Los says:

    Anyone who has seen Zacharias Kunuk’s critically acclaimed epic, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, would be forgiven for holding some pretty high expectations for this one. However, these films occupy totally different genres so comparisons are dubious at best.
    Kunuk’s new documentary is not primarily concerned with the environmental issues surrounding Arctic landscapes or its inhabitants. Instead, it profiles one man who is staking his life on one last fight with the Canadian government to ensure the Inuit people receive their fair status and rights. Kiviaq, a former boxer turned lawyer living in Edmonton, is not only up to the task but he is highly compelling throughout Kunuk’s interviews.
    The drawback with this film – which clocks in at around 45 minutes – is that it doesn’t delve into the issue in any great detail. We are left hoping to learn far more about Kiviaq and the nuts and bolts of this case.
    Perhaps that was the whole point. I’m sure that anyone who watches this documentary will ultimately seek to follow the Kiviaq case as it unfolds.


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