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imagineNATIVE 2020 Review: Shadow of Dumont

October 20, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Growing up, writer/director Trevor Cameron was always fascinated by stories of his great-great-great-uncle, Gabriel Dumont. A Métis leader and lieutenant to Louis Riel, Dumont is a legendary figure for his involvement in the North-West Rebellions of 1885, gaining him the nickname the “Métis Braveheart.” Wanting to learn more about Dumont’s rich legacy, and his own Métis roots, Cameron sets out on a road trip in an old 1980s camper van, which he has painted with Métis imagery. He documents this journey in his enjoyable and informative documentary Shadow of Dumont.

It’s a journey that takes him from his home in Toronto, where he lives with his wife and daughter, to a series of places across North America that have ties to Dumont. The film follows Cameron as he travels to the communities of Batoche, Fish Creek and Duck Lake in Saskatchewan, where a trio of famous battles took place, while also making stops in British Columbia and Manitoba. Cameron then follows Dumont’s footsteps across the border to the United States, where Dumont fled to in the late 1800s and toured as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West travelling show, making stops in North Dakota, Wyoming and Staten Island. 

Through interviews with family, community members, and local historians, Cameron does a fine job of recounting Dumont’s story, including some nicely done animated sequences that depict his involvement in the 1885 Métis uprising. Cameron serves as a fun tour guide who doesn’t take himself too seriously, including traipsing through New York City dressed as Dumont, a costume that he wears throughout the film. Playing out as a mix of entertaining history lesson and enjoyable road movie, Shadow of Dumont serves as a good introduction to an important figure in Canadian and Métis history.

Shadow of Dumont is screening online from October 21st to 23rd as part of the 2020 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, and there will be a live Q&A on October 21st at 2:00 PM. Tickets and more information can be found right here.

The 2020 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival runs online from October 20th to 25th.

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