[Marxism] Arctic Son

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Apr 24 12:00:47 MDT 2006


Alongside "Smoke Signals" and "Atanarjuat the Fast Runner," the new 
documentary "Arctic Son" is distinguished by its depth of understanding 
about indigenous life as well as its ability to tell a story, a sine qua 
non for any film.

"Arctic Son" refers to Stanley Njootli Jr., a young member of the Gwichin 
Nation that is spread across Alaska and the Yukon Territory. When the film 
starts, we see Stanley Jr. getting drunk in a Seattle bar. As is the case 
with far too many Indians, the temptation to abuse drugs and alcohol is 
enormous. Although he calls this "partying," one can only feel pity for 
this deracinated youth. When he is seen weaving across the street after 
leaving the bar, some friends shout out to him from a passing car, "Go get 
treatment, Stanley, get treatment." He stands in the middle of the street 
and curses them out.

The movie documents his visit with his father Stanley Njootli Sr., who 
tries to live according to Indian customs in Old Crow, a tiny village in 
the Yukon that is home to the "Vuntut Gwichin," which means "People of the 
Lakes." After learning about his son's dissolute life-style, his father 
(who is separated from the mom who lives in Seattle) invites him up to Old 
Crow to wean him away from drugs and alcohol and to teach him Indian ways. 
There certainly will be fewer temptations in Old Crow as the town has a 
drinking ban. We do eventually learn that there are ways around this as 
there would be in any Indian reservation. People desperate enough will make 
their own home brew with anything that is handy, including potatoes.

full: http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2006/04/24/artic-son/

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