Weekly Indigenous Film Series: "Dance Me Outside" (McDonald, 1995)


Join Artist-in-Residence with our Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE), Lori Beavis, every Thursday, 4pm-6pm for our Weekly Indigenous Film Series. The series will feature documentaries and feature films by Indigenous filmmakers, screened in Education Building room 233 (EDUC-233), 3700 McTavish.

Dance Me OutsideThursday March 23rd, 4-6pm | Education Building, rm 233, 3700 McTavish


Dance Me Outside is a 1994 drama film directed and co-written by Bruce McDonald. The film is based on a book of short stories written by W.P. Kinsella. This Canadian drama (written and directed by non- Natives) examines the tension between two cultures from an Indigenous perspective. Silas Crow, who lives on a Northern Ontario reserve, wants to take a mechanic's course in Toronto with his friend Frank Fencepost. But before he can enroll, the teen must write a short narrative describing his home. The film is a series of vignette's from Crow's narrative. The vignette's are alternately funny and poignant.

This will be an interestingly problematic film for us to end the film series with. 

Set on the Kidabanesee reserve in Northern Ontario. Silas Crow (Ryan Black) is a young man confused about his direction in life; he wants to take an automobile mechanic's course in college, but is uncertain whether he should apply. Frank Fencepost (Adam Beach) is Crow's best friend, and Sadie Maracle (Jennifer Podemski) is his girlfriend. Events are set in motion when a young girl from the reserve is murdered by Clarence Gaskill (Hugh Dillon), a white man who gets off with a light sentence, prompting the community to demand vengeance.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, W. P. Kinsella's literary output primarily consisted of two cycles of work dealing with two fictive universes: those dealing with baseball and those depicting the indigenous people of Canada. Kinsella's first published book was called Dance Me Outside (1977), which was a collection of seventeen short stories narrated by a young Cree, Silas Ermineskin, who describes life on a First Nations reserve in Kinsella's native Alberta. A later collection of similar stories, The Fencepost Chronicles, earned Kinsella the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Kinsella was criticized for writing from the point of view of Native people, appropriating their voices.