• Short Summary

    For many years the North American Indian has been presented in countless Hollywood films as a painted savage, wearing feathers in his hair and carrying out atrocities against courageous white settlers.

  • Description

    GV PAN Snow-covered mountain range. (2 shots)

    SV PAN Mountain stream.

    Sv Indians wearing feather bonnets.

    MV's Drunken Indians walking in streets and sleeping it off. (3 shots)

    LV Police taking drunken Indian to police car.

    GV ZOOM OUT Indian bring bottle out of liquor store.

    MV Statue of queen Victoria.

    GV PAN Indians in feather bonnets PULL OUT TO re-enactment of treaty signing ceremony.

    SV Indians in western dress beating drums.

    SV & CU Indians in Indian dress. (3 shots)

    Prince Charles taking part in pipe smoking initiation rite to become honorary Indian Red Crow. (3 shots)

    GV Indians carrying water from mercury poisoned lake. (2 shots)

    GV PAN Poisoned lake

    GV Old Indian talks to young Indians listen. (2 shots)

    GV Young Indians playing at white Dog Reserve. (4 shots)

    DOWNES: "In their legends, long before they learned to count time, they walked across the ice bridge, across the Bering Sea, from Mongolia to North America, and they became the American Indians. The hunted, trapped and fished the North American continent. They wore feathers and finery. That's the way it was. But now alcohol and hopelessness...and which comes first? Certainly, the ready availability of alcohol has completed the process of the erosion of the Indian heritage. And who supplies them with their drink, at a vast profit? Why, who else but the provincial Governments who control Canada's liquor monopoly. The provinces also share with the Federal Government responsibility for Indian welfare. By trick or treaty, the Indian land became white man's land. On occasions of ceremony, Indian splendour emerges briefly again.

    These boys of White Dog Reserve can speak neither English, nor their Indian language, fluently. They communicate through a sort of pidgin, and most of the time it's hard enough to get them to communicate at all. The National Indian Brotherhood says eight out of every ten Indian children drop out of school...drop out, into immediate unemployment which for nearly half of them, will be a lifetime's career. The boredom of the reservation seeks relief in alcohol and violence. White Dog Reserve has its own white police station; vandalism is constant, violence just a few drinks away. A few years ago, some of the young men found seasonal jobs as fishing guides to white sportsmen who came in their hundreds to fish the fertile lake. But now, the fear of mercury poisoning has driven away most of the sports fishermen. The lodges are deserted and empty, the canoes won't touch water again this year. And again, the Indians are the losers."

    Initials VS 18.30

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: For many years the North American Indian has been presented in countless Hollywood films as a painted savage, wearing feathers in his hair and carrying out atrocities against courageous white settlers. But the real story of the Indian has been one of exploitation by successive white governments, broken treaties and a policy that, at times, appeared to border on genocide. The Indians of Canada have fared better than their people south of the border in the United States, but the end result has been the same. Most of the Canada's Indians live on reservations and don not share the high standard of living enjoyed by other Canadians. Reporter Jim Downes recently travelled through Canada and took a hard look at the treatment of the Indians.

    SYNOPSIS: This occasion is a government and industry sponsored re-enactment of a treaty signing a century ago. A clever treaty this; between the British and the Indian Blackfoot Nation. It won vast tracts of land, and the oil fields of Southern Alberta. It also avoided a bloody Indian war, with the cheating and brutality and genocide which, south of the United States border, were already established as the American way of dealing with Indians. Whether he wanted to or not, Prince Charles became an Indian this month. An honorary Indian, Red Crow. But while the peace pipe was being passed to the future king at Blackfoot Crossing, a thousand miles away, on a reservation in Ontario, Indians of the Ojibway tribe are carrying to their homes water from a lake poisoned by industrial pollution. The poison is mercury. Its effect, the dreaded Minamate disease.The Ontario government denies there is nay mercury poisoning in the river and lake system fishes by the Ojibways. But the very same government has banned commercial fishing there. The Government denies even the possibility of Minamata disease, but the National Indian Brotherhood brought specialist doctors from Japan to see some of their people. The Japanese verdict; some Indians did indeed show symptoms of Minamata disease. Elsewhere, the danger is that the old beliefs and the old languages, will die from neglect, because too few people will be interested enough to pass them on.

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