Genre :
Number of Episodes :
2 Episodes (1 X 91:30 and 1 X 93:30)
Version(s) :
Synopsis :
Part I
BIG BEAR is the epic story of the great Plains Cree Chief Big Bear (Gordon Tootoosis) and his vision of a just future for his people. This four-hour mini-series shows Big Bear’s tireless struggle to keep his people from being forced onto reserves. His principled determination brings starvation to his followers, tearing apart his community and his own family. After holding out for years against signing Treaty Six, he is finally forced to choose food over freedom and sign so his people may eat. But Big Bear’s struggle is not over: he refuses to be tied to a reserve. Tantoo Cardinal co-stars.

Part II
Tension escalates between the Canadian authorities, Big Bear, and his warriors. After 10 years of resistance, his band is still starving. When the warriors get news of Louis Riel’s rebellion, they revolt, rejecting Big Bear’s leadership. Lead by war chief Wandering Spirit (Michael Greyeyes) and Big Bear’s son, Little Bad Man (Lorne Cardinal), the warriors launch a fatal confrontation at the settlement of Frog Lake. This attack undermines Big Bear’s lengthy quest for a peaceful solution. Troops close in on Big Bear and his band at the Battle of Frenchman’s Butte where the army’s cannon forces the Cree to scatter. Big Bear surrenders in order to speak to the government on behalf of his people and their future.
Cast :


Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal, Lorne Cardinal, Kenetch Charlettte, Patric James Bird, Michael Greyeyes

Awards :
1998 American Indian Film Festival (California, U.S.A., November, 1998)
• Best Story
• Producers Award Canada

1999 Gemini Awards (Toronto, Canada)
• Nicoletta Massone, Winner of: Best Costume Design
• Pierre Saindon, Winner of: Best Achievement in Make-Up
• Nomination Gil Cardinal Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series
• Nomination Clode Hamelin  Best Original Music Score for a Program or Mini-Series

The 2000 Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Awards (Toronto, Canada, April 10, 2000)

• Nomination: Rudy Wiebe & Gil Cardinal for the screenplay writing