Honey Moccasin

Shelley Niro

1998, 49:00 minutes, colour, English


The first of its kind in Canada made by an Aboriginal filmmaker, Honey Moccasin is set on the fictional Grand Pine Indian Reservation (aka “Reservation X”) and employs a hybrid pastiche of styles that depicts the rivalry between two bars, the Smoking Moccasin and the Inukshuk Cafe, the tale of closeted drag queen/powwow clothing thief Zachery John (Billy Merasty), and the travails of the crusading investigator/storyteller Honey Moccasin (Tantoo Cardinal).
An irreverent parody of familiar narrative strategies, “Honey Moccasin” forges an oppositional aesthetic via its reappropriation of the conventions of melodrama, performance art, cable access, and a “whodunit” style to investigate notions of authenticity, cultural identity, gender roles, and the articulation of contemporary native North American experiences.

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Critical Writing

The Journey's Discovery
by Elizabeth Weatherford. Native Americans on Film: Conversations, Teaching, and Theory, 2013. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2013.
Reappropriating Redskins: Pellerossasogna (Red Skin Dream):...
by Nancy Marie Mithlo. Visual Anthropology Review, Fall 2004, v. 20, no. 2. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.
Seeing and Being Seen in Media Culture: Shelley Niro's Honey Moccasin
by Darrell Varga. CineAction, 2003, v. 61. Toronto: CineAction Collective, 2003.
Keepers of the Power
by Carol Kalafatic. Gendering the Nation: Canadian Women's Cinema, 1999. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.