The Dokis: Eagles On The River

The flag of the Dokis First Nation featuring and eagle fishing
The eagle on the flag of the Dokis First Nation. Photo: Paul Kirtley.

The Dokis First Nation

The Dokis live on a tract of land in the Canadian Shield where the waters of Lake Nipissing flow into the French River.

These Ojibwe people have a rich and interesting history, reflecting the rich and interesting history of the French River itself as well as a strong sense of cultural identity.

During our French River Expedition, we canoe to the northern end of the French River to meet with members of the Dokis First Nation at one of their wilderness camps.

In particular, we spend time with Norman Dokis, an expert in nature interpretation for the French River area. Time spent with Norm typically includes traditional skills, arts & crafts, ecology, local history, fish and fishing, and cultural heritage…

“Our experience is our strength, and valuing people is part of our heritage and legacy stemming from our days as middlemen with the fur trade”.

Eagles On The River

Referring to the eagle on the Dokis flag, Eagles On The River is the name of a documentary film made in 1976 about the people of Dokis. The film was written and narrated by G.E. Mortimore of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

The documentary gives an interesting insight into the way the Dokis First Nation has navigated the currents of change while retaining important aspects of their traditional identity and connection to the land.

We are excited to be able to present this rarely-seen film on the Frontier Bushcraft website.

Eagles On The River can be seen below in two 15-minute sections.

Eagles On The River Part 1

Eagles On The River Part 2


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Paul Kirtley is Founder and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog. He is the author of Wilderness Axe Skills and Campcraft, as well as having contributed to several other books. Paul has been involved in teaching bushcraft since 2003. He is also a Canoe Leader, British Canoeing Level 3 Canoe Coach and UK Summer Mountain Leader.

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11 Responses

  1. Dave
    | Reply

    Great find Paul, Cheers.


    • Paul Kirtley
      | Reply

      Yes, I’m grateful to my Dokis friends who showed it to me and gave us permission to use it on the site.



  2. Nige
    | Reply

    Very interesting and enjoyable film and a wonderful insight!


  3. Stu
    | Reply

    Interesting to learn about the people and their culture and ethos, especially having had the pleasure of spending time with Norm Dokis on the Frontier Bushcraft inaugural French River trip.

    • Paul Kirtley
      | Reply

      Hi Stu,

      Yes, I think it is even more interesting to watch these old films in conjunction with visiting the area today. Having a sense of history from the film with background knowledge it provides informs your visit. And having visited the Dokis Reserve really brings the film to life.

      All the best,


  4. Jeremy Mortimore
    | Reply

    Hey guys,

    I just wanted to let you know that I was just trying to watch Eagles On The River but I was only getting the sound without the visual video feed. Hope this can get fixed soon so we can all enjoy!

    Best wishes to all of Dokis Nation

    • Paul Kirtley
      | Reply

      Hi Jeremy,

      I’m sorry to hear you are having problems viewing these videos. Thanks for letting us know.

      Can you tell the device you are viewing with, the operating system and, if applicable, the browser you are using?



  5. claude comeau
    | Reply

    I am unable to view the two films on this site “Eagles on the River”

  6. philip craig
    | Reply

    Hi paul the 2 vids dont work just blank screens . win 10 laptop

    • Paul Kirtley
      | Reply

      Hi Craig, unfortunately I think the owner of the vids has changed the privacy on the vids, which were on YouTube.

      Warm regards,


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