United We Stand | A NFB Ode to Prairie Sisterhood

Films

Prairie women are awesome.

Did you know Manitoban women were the first in Canada to get the vote, in 1916?

And that Prairie women, through the women-led farm movement, were among the very first to organize and fight for universal healthcare?

The recipe for these kinds of miracle, undoubtedly, is sisterhood.

Alone and overworked, women felt powerless. But together, through association, lobbying and cooperation, they joined forces and made change happen – for the greater good of all.

As the Chinese proverb goes, when sleeping women wake, mountains move.

Here are 3 short NFB films that pay them tribute. Watch them all below.

Louise

Our tour begins with a visit with Louise, a 96-year-old firecracker living by herself near the town of Bruxelles, in rural Manitoba. Based on Anita Lebeau‘s actual grandmother, the film is a sweet and amusing foray into the daily life of these Prairie powerhouses who only seem to get more unstoppable with age.

Louise, , provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Great Grand Mother

This great short by Lorna Ramussen and Anne Wheeler is a “personal history of settlement, from a woman’s point of view.”

In turn heartbreaking and funny, the film offers a compelling look at how farm women, once isolated, alone on remote farms, found their strength, socially and politically, in sisterhood. Based on letters, diaries, speeches and personal recollections, it shows how together, and across differences, they organized and obtained the vote while fighting for education and healthcare for all.

Filled with humour, coffee and resilience, the film is a timely reminder to find the others, organize, and never take any of our past gains for granted. For more in this vein, also view Prairie Women.

Great Grand Mother, Lorna Rasmussen & Anne Wheeler, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Pierogi Pinch

A standout from the 2010 edition of our Hothouse apprenticeship, this super short by Kiarra Albina is a heart-warming animation about the transmission and cultivation of Prairie women wisdom, skills and magic.

Pierogi Pinch, Kiarra Albina, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

See also:

The Grasslands Project

Little Animation on the Prairie | Watch 5 Free Shorts About Canadian Prairie Life

Photo Friday | All Eyes on the Prairies

Photo Friday | Inside Alberta’s Seclusive Hutterite Colonies

Photo Friday | Farm Electrification: And Then There Was Light

The Unfortunate Legacy of the Little House on the Prairie