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ANCS Aboriginal Films

 ANCS Aboriginal Film Collection:
The Aboriginal Revival Period 1972-1983

Sponsored by The Alberta Foundation for the Arts: 

Alberta Foundation for the Arts logo       

The University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources wishes to thank The Alberta Foundation for the Arts for supporting the conversion of selected titles from the original video and cinefilm formats to DVD which provides greater accessibility to the collection, as well as for supporting the cataloguing and marketing, that is,  web page development, of this important collection.


This nationally-significant film collection documents a part of Canadian history and national life, especially pertaining to the production of fiction and documentary films and television programs on the history and development of the First Nations. The collection spans 1946 to 1988, with most titles falling between 1973 and 1985. 


This collection was created by The Alberta Native Communications Society (ANCS).  It was formed originally in 1966 as the Cree Radio Program of Northern Alberta sponsored by the Department of Indian Affairs and broadcast over CKUA, CFCW Camrose and CKYL Peace River as a "benevolent, non-sectarian and non-political movement."  It evolved and was incorporated as a non-profit society in 1968 funded jointly by the federal government (Secretary of State) and the Alberta provincial government (originally the Native secretariat, then continuous 3-year contracts with Alberta Culture).  It was directed by a board of six Treaty Indians and six Metis.  ANCS was located in Edmonton: it started in the CN Tower, in 1969 it moved to the 100th Avenue Building, and later it moved to ACCESS studios at 9311 - 60th Avenue. In 2006 this collection became part of the University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources.

History of the Collection

The Society's primary mandate was to produce and provide communications of all media from a Native perspective to the Native Peoples of Alberta.  It did this by producing radio news and programming, a monthly newsletter which developed into the weekly newspaper entitles, "The Native People", as well as both television programming and films (documentary and dramatic). It also co-sponsored activities such as a leadership course in 1969 coordinated by Joe Couture.  Its audio-visual production activities made the ANCS the equivalent of an educational broadcaster to ACCESS or TVO.

By May 1983, when the Society's funding was withdrawn and it went bankrupt, it had a staff of 18 (plus freelance staff) divided into four departments: Editorial, Radio, Film & Video, and Education.  This last department oversaw a media training program called "Project Morningstar" taught in conjunction with the audio-visual program at Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton.

Upon the demise of the ANCS, its video/film assets were sold by the receiver to the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA).  The University of Calgary Libraries and Cultural Resources acquired the collection in 2006.

Find ANCS Aboriginal Films in the University of Calgary Library Catalogue

To identify titles in the ANCS Aboriginal Film Collection, search "ANCS Aboriginal Film Collection" in the University of Calgary Library Catalogue (using Keyword and Search All).

View clips from four ANCS Aboriginal Films via the Native Canada portal

The Native Canada portal brings together a number of digital collections with strong emphasis on the aboriginal people of Canada. Find out which traditional medicinal plant may be used for headaches, read about the Blackfoot Ghost dance or learn words in Chipewyan (Dene Suline) using the dictionary in the Dr. Eung-do Cook fonds.