Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Communication Studies

First Advisor

Surlin, Stuart H.,






This study examined the portrayal of native Canadians in films of the National Film Board of Canada. The issue was cast in the context of the historical conflicts between the federal government and aboriginal people in Canada over issues of power, culture, language, economics, spirituality, land claims and the environment. It also examined how this adversarial relationship affects, and is affected by, past and present public opinion and past and present media portrayals of natives. Because the literature suggests that the dominant values of the society of which a film-maker is a member will be projected in his or her films, the study compared values emphasized in native-directed and non-native-directed films. A review of the literature concluded that the dominant traditional native value orientation was predominantly humanistic and that the dominant contemporary native value orientation is also humanistic. It also suggested that the dominant contemporary North American non-native value orientation is material. Through content analysis, which employed a variation of Rokeach's value inventory, this researcher discovered that native-directed films emphasized humanistic values and non-native-directed films emphasized material values. These findings were consistent without regard to two other variables, length of the production and decade in which the production was released. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 30-03, page: 0408. Chairperson: Stuart H. Surlin. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1990.