Film review from Wilfrid Laurier University Aboriginal Students’ Association

Self described as a dramatic comedy, Two Indians Talking offers a thought-provoking dialogue that extends beyond the screen and brings to the forefront the difficulties that First Nations face from outside of their communities and within.

Often presenting a critical self-reflection of pressing and divisive issues within First Nations communities—which can be extended to reserve, off reserve, and urban Native communities—the film discusses and examines the elusive and ever changing ideas of belonging, identity, and authenticity. As main characters Adam (Justin Rain) and Nathan (Nathaniel Arcand) converse throughout the film they reflect, among other things, the debates that consume our communities and relationships with each other.

While Two Indians Talking offers a number of critical reflections, it tends to act like a stone skipping across the water, rarely offering an in depth reflection of any one issue. While the lack of depth is minor and understandable as it allows for a wide range of topics to be discussed, another issue with the film is more pressing. Throughout the film there are numerous cut scenes that are absent of dialogue showing the creation of a roadblock. What is concerning is not the symbolic gathering of protest but the sole association of those with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy flag. Playing on the audience’s knowledge and perception of the 1990 Oka crisis, the film hijacks a complex and powerful symbol of the Haudenosaunee and associates it with a simplistic view of defiance. This symbol is not universal, as it is portrayed, but has a specific meaning and importance to the Haudenosaunee.

While Two Indians Talking is not without its faults it promotes two very powerful things, discussion and self-reflection. With this in mind, this film is best viewed in smaller more intimate settings where such discussion and reflections can take place and deserves a wide audience.

Kandice Baptiste – Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Wilfrid Laurier University
Aboriginal Students’ Association President

Allan Downey – Nak’azdli First Nation
Wilfrid Laurier University
Aboriginal Students’ Association Vice President