Now Streaming: ‘The Road Forward’ Celebrates First Nations Activism Through a Distinct Voice


By Pat Mullen

Celebrate First Nations’ history with a toe-tappingly good doc now that The Road Forward is free to stream from the NFB. Directed by Marie Clements’, this multi-award-winning docu-musical chronicles the rise of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s through a distinctive tapestry of important stories and beautiful songs. The project began as a song presentation during the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver before Clements adapted The Road Forward to a theatrical production and, shortly after, a film. (Read more about the journey of The Road Forward here.) Displaying a unique fusion of documentary, theatrical style, and oral storytelling, Clements’ truly original film features a compelling chorus of voices united in sharing their history, creating their own narrative, and laying the path for generations to follow.

Synopsis: The Road Forward, a musical documentary by Marie Clements, connects a pivotal moment in Canada’s civil rights history—the beginnings of Indian Nationalism in the 1930s—with the powerful momentum of First Nations activism today. Clements paints an electrifying picture of how a tiny movement, the Native Brotherhood and Native Sisterhood, became a powerful voice for social, political and legal advocacy, eventually effecting profound change at the national level. The Road Forward’s stunningly shot musical sequences, performed by an ensemble of some of Canada’s finest vocalists and musicians, seamlessly connect past and present with soaring vocals, blues, rock, and traditional beats. The Road Forward is a rousing tribute to the fighters for First Nations rights, a soul-resounding historical experience, and a visceral call to action.

Watch The Road Forward below from the NFB:

The Road Forward, Marie Clements, provided by the National Film Board of Canada