Distributor:  National Film Board of Canada
Length:  48 minutes
Date:  2007
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
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Niigaanibatowaad: FrontRunners

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In part the story of Aborginal athletes blocked from entering the 1967 Winnipeg Pan American Games with the Games torch; but also the story of a segregated school system, and survival, hope and reconciliation.

Niigaanibatowaad: FrontRunners

At a special ceremony during the opening of the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, seven First Nations men in their fifties entered the stadium in war canoes. One of them held the Games torch.

In 1967 when Winnipeg first hosted the Pan American Games, ten outstanding athletic teenage boys were chosen to run 800 kilometers over an ancient message route with the Games torch. When the runners arrived at the stadium, they were not allowed to enter with the torch. Instead, a non-Aboriginal runner was given the honor. Thirty-two-years later, the province of Manitoba issued an official apology.

Nine of the ten young men chosen for the 1967 Pan Am Games torch run were from residential schools. Niigaanibatowaad is about the segregation of the Aboriginal athletes and the despair and abuse suffered in the school system. Niigaanibatowaad: FrontRunners is a story of survival, hope, reconciliation and a dream for a new beginning that transcends hatred and racism.

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Main credits

Lewis, Lori (film director)
Lewis, Lori (film producer)
Lewis, Lori (actor)
Robinson, Laura (screenwriter)
Robinson, Laura (film producer)
Jarvis, Liz (film producer)
Desmoulins, Ron (actor)
George, Derek (actor)

Other credits

Director of photography, Don Lowe; editor & sound designer, John Gurdebeke; music, James Creasey.

Distributor credits

Docuseek2 subjects

Indigenous Studies

Distributor subjects

Animated films


; "Niigaanibatowaad: FrontRunners"; National Film Board of Canada

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