Medicine Fiddle (1991)

Medicine Fiddle explores the music and dance heritage of the Fur Trade among Native and Métis families on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border. Fiddling and step (clog) dancing was introduced to Native peoples by French fur traders in the late 1600s and a century later by Irish, Scottish, and Scots-Irish trappers, lumberjacks, and homesteaders. Over the past two centuries, in the confines of family gatherings on remote reservations, this music has survived and has permeated the cultural memory of mixed-blood descendants. Some of the music and dance has absorbed a Native musical influence, and a Native spiritual culture sustains it. The stories, music, and dance are performed in family settings.

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Golden Apple Award (1st), National Educational Film Festival, Oakland, CA, 1992. Ethnic Arts Competition, Golden Eagle (1st),Council on International Non-Theatrical Events, Washington, DC.Finalist, New York International Film Festival. "Best of the Fest," Two Rivers Native American Film Festival, University of Minnesota. Honorable Mention, American Indian Film and Video Festival, Tulsa, OK. Honorable Mention, Visual Anthropological Association.


For licensing, film rights and permissions, contact Michael Loukinen, the distributor Northern Michigan University, Up North Films, or Folkstreams.

Film Details

  • Film by: Michael Loukinen
  • Produced by: Michael Loukinen
  • Cinematographer: Miroslav Janek
  • Sound: Matt Quest, Dennis O'Rourke, David Turk
  • Editor: Miroslav Janek
  • Other Credits: Folklore Consultants: James Leary, Anne Lederman, Nicholas Vrooman
  • Funding: North Dakota Humanities CouncilMichigan Council for the ArtsNational Endowment for the ArtsFolk Arts Program
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • ©1991, Michael Loukinen
  • 1 hr 21 mins, Color
  • Categories:
    DanceMusicNative American CulturesRegional Cultures