Decades-long hunt for mysterious French filmmaker yields rare look into the forgotten past of a Canadian tribe

National Post | News

Frank Andrew wasn’t even three years old, and so his memory of the “Frenchman” is blurred at the edges, a childhood recollection so distant to him now that it almost feels like a dream.

But one image from the summer of 1957 sticks, wedged in his mind in sharp relief to be scrutinized, every now and again, every time someone in Tulita — a tiny community on the banks of the Mackenzie River that is home to the Tulita Dene Band, of which Frank Andrew is the chief — would ask the question no band member ever had an answer for: what became of the Frenchman?

Jean Michéa Jean Michéa

And, more importantly, what happened to the film he made in 1957 of the Mountain Dene’s summer trek, for what were then a nomadic people, into the Mackenzie Mountains to hunt caribou, sheep and moose before floating back down from their alpine stomping grounds…

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