York University MFA student Alex Williams pulls the curtain back on an little-known illegal system of segregation in Canada—a time when many First Nations people in Canada were not allowed off reserve without a pass.
This system kept First Nations parents from their children in residential schools, from visiting relatives, from access to towns and cities, and from enjoying the basic freedom of mobility that every settler Canadian took for granted. Williams, raised in Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory, wrote, directed and produced the film.
The Pass System was nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards—for Best Historical Documentary and Best Editorial Research. View the trailer for the film. Following the screening, Prof. Signa Daum Shanks, Osgoode's Director of Indigenous Outreach will lead a discussion about the legal issues raised in the film.
Narrated by acclaimed actor Tantoo Cardinal, with music by Cris Derksen, the film features Elders from Treaty areas 4, 6, & 7, and leading historians, artists and academics. The film has screened widely across Canada with over 150 screenings to date, including such venues as TIFF, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Library and Archives Canada, and Canadian Museum of History, and a to-capacity screening at York in January. The film's screening is graciously presented by the Osgoode Hall Law Union and the Osgoode Indigenous Students Association.