In Canada, a number of public figures have made the front pages for one reason: each has been alleged to be a ´Pretend Indian´. In other words, someone who claims distant indigenous identity but upon deeper scrutiny has been accused of stealing jobs and opportunities from real natives.
But why would someone fake an indigenous identity?
That question is the premise of The Pretendians, as we cross Canada revealing what really lies behind this explosive issue. We go on the hunt for knock-off west coast indigenous art, witness an explosion of dubious Status Indian Claims to get cheap fuel, and unpack where the claims of blood-quantum come from (that idea that one drop of Indian blood is enough to claim indigeneity). We meet people truly seeking, and asking, if they are indigenous – or not – and meets a university teacher fighting Pretendian persecution.
Controversial to its core, this hard-hitting anti-Western propaganda film, which looks at the influence of American visual and consumption culture on the rest of the world from a North Korean perspective, has been described as ‘either a damning indictment of 21st Century culture or the best piece of propaganda in a generation.’
Propaganda signals the birth of a new genre-bending generation of film maker. Using the ‘fake North Korean propaganda’ found-footage device, Slavko Martinov first parodies its language and stylings, before targeting the mountain of hypocrisies and contradictions that make up the modern Western narrative. In doing so, Propaganda delivers a devastating blow to those who might be quick to laugh at ‘backward’ ideologies before considering how 21st century political and cultural trends have weakened any claims to the moral high ground.