Canada Post searching for pieces of Indigenous filmmaker’s documentary on Tsuu T’ina Nation

Chris Stewart
A young filmmaker in Alberta is waiting for Canada Post to deliver scraps of a documentary he is working and that Crown corporation had lost in the mail.

According to Canada Post, seven of the 12 reels of Seth Cardinal Dodginghorse’s story about his home community of Tsuu T’ina Nation in Alberta have been located.

As of Nov. 25, Dodginghorse said he’s received just one of the 12 back.

“I was pretty angry and upset,” he said. “But I was also… the irony about making a movie about lost objects itself ended up lost, or hopefully not stolen,” he said.

“Hopefully, it’s an accident.”

The drama started earlier in November when Dodginghorse was expecting to receive reels from his documentary that he had dropped off at a film processing plant in Toronto.

But when he went to Canada Post to pick up his parcel, Dodginhorse was expecting to see a dozen reels of his film – instead, he was a little surprised.

“They handed it to me, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is opened,’ and I looked inside and there was nothing,” Dodginghorse told APTN News.

Canada Post

(Seth Cardinal Dodginghorse holds the empty envelope he picked up at Canada Post. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)

The only item in the envelope was the receipt for payment for having the film processed.

Canada Post had lost all of the footage Dodginghorse had shot for his first documentary.

For the past year and a half, Dodginghorse has been travelling around museums in Canada finding artifacts and photos from his family and the Tsuu T’ina Nation, located directly South West of Calgary.

He found quite a lot.

Photos of his family from the 1880s, moccasins, a bow and arrows.

“So I would find those photographs. I would find those objects, and I would look a the person who collected them. Their field notes. And I would look at books that they had published, and I would put all those things together, and be able to find out that this belonged to that person.” Dodginghorse said.

He is hoping to have the objects he saw in museums repatriated to his family and the members of Tsuu T’ina Nation.

He says all the objects he saw were not on display but held in storage.

After filming, Dodginghorse personally dropped off his film in Toronto for processing.

The films would be shipped to him once completed.

Canada Post

(Dodginghorse is now editing an analog version of his story. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)

Except the only thing that arrived was that empty envelope. “I was just in disbelief” said Dodginghorse.

The film developer has sent Dodginghorse a digital backup, which means he can continue the documentary.

But it’s not the same. Film is not the same as digital. He said it has a different look and feel.

He wanted his first project to be on film.

“I’m shooting on analog. On an analog format, so I might as well while I’m doing this, take up the challenge of editing it. Splicing the film together. Approaching it in a real hands on way. I’m hoping the rest of the film will turn up.”

Canada Post has issued a statement indicating that the regret that the package was delivered in poor condition and missing contents, and let Mr Dodginghorse down. They say 7 of the 12 reels of film have been found and they are searching for the others.

If the other film reels show up, he can complete his film as he originally intended.

If not, at least he can complete his project, and tell the story he wanted.

He hopes to have a rough cut in two months, and have it finished by the end of next year.

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