Indigenous youth, led by Duke Redbird, argue their ideas against the blunt pragmatism of American activist and writer Saul Alinksy. Author of the book “Rules for Radicals”, Alinsky is widely considered the father of community organizing who spent his life advocating for improved living conditions in poor communities across the United States. In this impassioned debate, the young activists question the corrupting influence of power, and ask why Indigenous people cannot live traditionally and peacefully on the land. Alinsky responds, “You have got to be part of the world in order to change it. You are not going to make any changes by staying in your corner.” In Alinsky’s view, equality only happens when the disenfranchised have the strength to show the ruling powers that it will be more costly for them to withhold it. Encounter with Saul Alinksy offers fascinating insights into a conversation about power and activism that has lasting resonance today.
Encounter with Saul Alinsky – Part 2: Rama Indian Reserve is one of three CFC films shot with U.S. political organizer Saul Alinsky in advance of the five-part series Organizing for Power: The Alinsky Approach (directed by Bonnie Sherr Klein). In this film, a group of First Nations youth challenge the relevance of Alinsky's ideas within the context of the Indian Act and its disenfranchising effects within reserves and across the national Aboriginal community. The film is noteworthy for the appearance of a young Duke Redbird, a member of the Saugeen First Nation Territory, who would go on to a life of social activism and education as an Ojibwa elder. He is perhaps best known for his poetry and a command performance for Queen Elizabeth for her Silver Jubilee in 1978.Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker
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