Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jim Brady: In the Footsteps of the Métis Leader

New documentary explores life of not-as-well-known Métis activist

By Roy Pogorzelsk
Saskatchewan Sage
November 2011
Also see Jim Brady: Metis Socialist

Jim Brady
Insight provided by family and friends of Jim Brady, a Métis activist who disappeared under questionable circumstances, has resulted in a one hour documentary that delves into the life of a man who left a tremendous legacy in both Saskatchewan and Alberta.

There were some difficulties with producing the documentary Jim Brady: In the Footsteps of the Métis Leader, but it did not come from production itself.

“It was the first time ever that interviews were done with family members of Brady on this difficult subject,” said Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation CEO and producer Deborah Charles. “They added important content to the documentary.”

The challenges didn’t deter the MBC from telling the story of another great Métis leader, who could easily be mentioned along with Cuthbert Grant, Gabriel Dumont and Louis Riel.

Brady has been credited with organizing Métis political movements in Saskatchewan and Alberta from the 1930s to 1960s. He was instrumental in establishing the Northern Saskatchewan Métis Association and was a key part in bringing the La Ronge local into the Métis association. He also assisted in setting up the Métis Betterment Act in Alberta in 1938.

“Brady was never recognized as a leader of the Métis. (But) with 2010 being the Year of the Métis, the timing was right to tell this important story,” said Charles. She describes Brady as “passionate about Métis rights and ending the oppression of the Métis people. He was a visionary that realized the importance of lobbying for Métis rights politically and this made him a notable leader within the Métis Nation.”

Brady believed that Métis people should enjoy the same rights as all Canadians and be viewed for their contributions to Canadian society.

In 1967, Brady disappeared in northern Saskatchewan along with his Cree friend Abraham Halkett while on a prospecting trip. Extensive search parties by the RCMP and investigations found nothing. Some say Brady and Halkett were murdered for political reasons.

Jim Brady: In the Footsteps of the Métis Leader is set primarily in northern Saskatchewan. The documentary officially aired across western Canada in April 2011 on Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. The next airing will be in Saskatchewan on SCN in October or November.

Charles said MBC is in talks with CBC for a contract to air the documentary nationally.

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