We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice

Alanis Obomsawin | Canada | 2016 | 165 MIN | Documentary Feature

Saturday 22 October 2016 | 10:00 AM
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 1

This screening will feature an Extended Discussion Q&A with Alanis Obsomawin

Co-presented by: Hot Docs and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

The rights of First Nations children take centre stage in this landmark documentary, the 50th by legendary filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice follows the historic discrimination complaint filed against the Government of Canada in 2007 by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations. Led by the tireless and determined Cindy Blackstock, the head of the Caring Society, they argued that child and family welfare services provided to First Nations children on reserves were underfunded and inferior to those offered to other Canadian children.
Despite challenges from the federal government to have the case dismissed, the Canadian Human Rights Commission referred it to a full hearing by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which began proceedings in 2013. Over the course of the next three years, Blackstock and her allies tenaciously fought for what they knew was right in the face of overt – and covert – challenges. Obomsawin’s deft documentary lens gives us a rare and detailed glimpse into the Canadian legal system as a remarkable story of courage, conviction and justice unfolds.


Master filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin has been making documentaries through the National Film Board of Canada since the 1960s. One of the most prolific – and significant – voices in documentary, Obomsawin is committed to sharing Indigenous perspectives in her expansive body of work, which now stands at 50 features and shorts. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours and remains fiercely committed to her craft at the inspirational age of 84.