Aboriginal Architecture

Feb 15th, 2007 | By | Category: 18-3: Building Prosperity, Media Reviews

Bullfrog Films
93 minutes
Directed by Paul M. Rickard
Producers: Tamara Lynch, Paul M. Rickard, Janice Benthin
National Film Board of Canada, 2005
ISBN: 0-7722-1209-0

Review by Michael Thompson

This 2005 documentary by the National Film Board of Canada is an extraordinary testament to the architectural talents of aboriginal people from across the Americas. In vivid, often breathtaking footage, the film takes an in-depth look at the varied and ingenious ways in which indigenous builders adapted their structures to the cultural needs of their daily lives and to the landscapes around them.

Seven aboriginal communities are explored in detail: Pueblo, Mohawk, Inuit, Crow, Navajo, Coast Salish, and Haida. Especially useful are computer-generated images that detail the structural elements of traditional dwellings, from tipis to longhouses.

The documentary prominently features discussions with successful contemporary Native architects who are finding ways to incorporate their tribal architectural heritage into new and exciting modern designs for communities across Indian Country. Many of these beautiful new indigenous buildings are featured prominently in the film. I recommend it highly.

Michael Thompson (Muskogee Creek) is an English instructor and writer with published work in several journals. He resides in Farmington, NM.


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