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date: 03 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the 1970s, the Animation Department of the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada produced Eskimo Legends, a series of animated short films based on Inuit legends and handicrafts. Concurrently, the NFB’s Wolf Koenig initiated an animation workshop in Cape Dorset that resulted in seventeen films by Inuit youths. The social and political contexts of Indigenous handicraft and art are essential for understanding the origins of the animated materials used in these films. Key historical, political, and cultural events and debates establish a context for exploring a set of linkages between economic and sociopolitical institutions that drove the development of Indigenous crafts and cooperatives. Considered alongside NFB documentaries and CBC news broadcasts from the 1960s and 1970s, this chapter demonstrates the relation between these developments and NFB animation studio filmmaking. The focus on Inuit animators’ films compiled in Animation from Cape Dorset recontextualizes, contemporizes and reclaims their culture’s arts, storytelling, and identity.

Keywords: Indigenous animation, National Film Board of Canada, NFB, Inuit, handicraft, intangible culture, Wolf Koenig, Animation from Cape Dorset, Eskimo Legends

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