Norris Nicholson, Heather (2001) ‘At the centre of it all are the children’: Aboriginal Childhoods and the National Film Board. London Journal of Canadian Studies, 17. pp. 73-100. ISSN 0267-2200

Given the overall young age of Canada's Aboriginal population, it is unsurprising that so much concern focuses upon trying to find ways to meet the diverse and complex present and future needs of children more appropriately than in the past. Over ten years after the grim findings of No Quiet Place (1982) in which child welfare practice was likened to 'the road to hell […] paved with good intentions and the child welfare system was the paving contractor', the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) highlighted the continuing challenges faced by Aboriginal children in rural and urban settings. Over the same period, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), has produced material in both documentary and fictional form on diverse aspects of Aboriginal childhood experience. This presentation uses NFB material to consider how filmic versions of Aboriginal children's experiences are constructed and presented to their viewers. Imagery, sound, narrative themes and filming offer contrasting perspectives and prompt questions about the production, consumption and interpretation of film material on children where opportunities to show and be seen on screen remain unequally distributed through society - even for the young!

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