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Based on Thomas King’s award-winning 2012 study, Michelle Latimer’s documentary The Inconvenient Indian examines the ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples in North America.Courtesy of TIFF

More than a year after the National Film Board pulled the documentary Inconvenient Indian from distribution, including a planned Sundance Film Festival premiere, director Michelle Latimer’s film will make its world broadcast premiere on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network on April 8, and become available to stream on APTN lumi the next day.

Latimer’s film, a loose adaptation of Thomas King’s bestselling 2013 non-fiction book, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, 2020. Weeks before the film was set to screen at the Sundance festival in January, 2021, the NFB took it out of distribution after the publication of a CBC News investigation into Latimer’s Indigenous heritage.

The story, which focused on Latimer’s ties to Kitigan Zibi, an Algonquin community in western Quebec, included accusations of exploitation and appropriation. Days after the investigation was published, Latimer resigned from Trickster, the acclaimed CBC series she co-created and directed. (The network cancelled the series’ planned second season a month later.)

At the time, the NFB, which produced Inconvenient Indian alongside 90th Parallel Productions and producer Jesse Wente, said that “over the coming weeks and months, we will continue to dialogue and engage with Indigenous communities to explore an accountable path forward for the film.”

The doc, which uses King’s book to frame vignettes on contemporary Indigenous culture – including segments featuring renowned artists Christi Belcourt and Kent Monkman, and behind-the-scenes footage of filmmaker Nyla Innuksuk’s upcoming sci-fi thriller Slash/Back – won the 2020 People’s Choice Documentary Award at TIFF.

In a statement issued on Monday, the NFB said that “after a series of meaningful consultations involving all the Indigenous participants whose stories the film presents,” as well as the NFB’s Indigenous Advisory Committee, 90th Parallel Productions and Wente, an “accountable path forward” for the film has been reached. In addition to its broadcast and streaming releases next month, Inconvenient Indian will be made available for “educational distribution and community screenings” starting this fall.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail last May, Latimer asserted her Indigenous heritage, saying that she is a “non-status Algonquin of mixed blood, Métis, French-Canadian heritage. And that’s what I can stand by with truth.”

This past November, Latimer dropped her defamation lawsuit against the CBC. The filmmaker had issued the legal action against the network and four of its journalists alleging “malicious, high-handed and arrogant conduct,” and seeking $200,000 in damages.

A representative for Latimer did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.

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