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Pow Wow Power | Watch Award-Winning Short Doc Red Path on

Pow Wow Power | Watch Award-Winning Short Doc Red Path on

Pow Wow Power | Watch Award-Winning Short Doc Red Path on

Got 15 minutes? Put them to good use and watch Atikamekw filmmaker Thérèse Ottawa’s first film, Red Path, now streaming on

Produced as part of Tremplin NIKANIK, a short documentary-filmmaking competition launched by the NFB in partnership with APTN, the film tells the story of Tony Chachai, a young Aboriginal man in search of his roots.

Red Path, Thérèse Ottawa, provided by the National Film Board of Canada


Tony wasn’t born into an easy life. Alcoholic mother, foster homes; he grew up far from his Atikamekw roots and elders. During his teenage years, drugs and alcohol numbed his pain.

It was an eagle feather, offered by his dying mother that turned things around for him.

A feather, and a promise: his promise to her to take up the traditional dances of their people.



And that is how a “lost” teen began his journey home, a journey that would eventually lead him to the center of his community’s pow wow, feathered and dancing.

Without glossing over any of the challenges faced by Aboriginal peoples in Canada, Red Path is a personal yet very powerful film about the relevance of ancestral knowledge, customs and languages to younger generations.

Like Tony says, “Atikamekw are a beautiful people. I am proud to be Atikamekw.”

Onwards and upwards, like smoke curls soaring from the ceremonial smudge to the heavens!

There is a path forward, and it is red.


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  1. Wonderful colours and first Nations peoples. I wish you well.

    — David Liddle,
  2. Great film! Well edited and seamless! A first film? WOW!!!

    What a wise and perceptive young man, and what a positive and spiritual life path he has chosen. I wish him and his people all the best energy in the universe.

    — Mike Mullen,
  3. I shared this with my cousin who has created a foster home program near 100 Mile House centered on nature experiences and skills learning for kids from the Vancouver area. He has had aboriginal youth in his care with similar backgrounds and his biggest regret is that he has not been able to find safe environments for the youths to be re-engaged in their own cultures. The biggest hurdle for the youths who are ‘in care’ as well as those who are no longer ‘in care’ once they turn 18 is the lack of a feeling of self worth. When families and whole communities are suffering from the aftermath of the residential school era and associated traumas of colonization, probably the only way to regain a sense of self worth and positive identity is through re-integration into ones culture. I really really hope that more and more people find a path back to their cultural roots in such a positive way and that the aboriginal nations cultures will thrive, gain strength and be able to give the strength that all those who are ‘lost’ need to survive and thrive…

    — Silvaine Zimmermann,
  4. Thank you to Tony for sharing this powerful story. I will use it in my lessons to teach high school students in BC how important it is to synch up with who you are, and also the significance of being a role model. How beautiful to see the dancers, singers and drummers, plus all the hand made costumes. A beautiful film with an important message – thank you to all involved.

    — cathy kool,
  5. Beautiful film – makes me think of my adopted Cree son – very similar early path but still needs to find the path to peace of mind, body and spirit.

    — Leigh Aquart,
  6. I am 61 years white. I am so very grateful for your film. I’m an abuse/poverty resilient thriver today. Left home at 14. Never finished grade 8. Now I’m studying masters in counselling. I owe tons of money for my entry into university at late age. But I hope to offer proper guiding in these last years of mine. Your film touched me deeply. Thank you for creating. Love and light to you from my tiny room in Nova Scotia.

  7. This is a stunning film. Beautiful and powerful filmmaking and an essential story with many teachings for all of us. Thank you Therese, Tony and Atikamekw community.

    — Amy E. Den Ouden,

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