After graduating from Blair, Cass Gardiner ’07 traveled to the Big Apple to study documentary media and indigenous studies at New York University’s Gallatin School and to Ontario, Canada, to take classes at the Toronto Metropolitan University, where she completed her MFA in documentary media. She has since worked in numerous documentary film institutions, namely the National Film Board of Canada, Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Institute, and she most recently produced the documentary Jewel’s Hunt, which was broadcast on PBS in 2020.
On Tuesday, November 15, Ms. Gardiner returned to her alma mater to talk to students about what it means to work as an Anishinaabe Algonquin professional, have a career in film and fine art, and follow the “importance of pursuing and finding joy,” she said in a pre-event interview.
Over the past twelve years, Ms. Gardiner has traveled across the world with her work in film and the arts. Throughout her journeys, she has become a film director and producer, a published writer and found her passion in Indigenous food, agriculture and food sovereignty.
She is Anishinaabe Algonquin from Kebaowek First Nation in Quebec, Canada, and promoting accurate, contemporary stories of Indigenous peoples has been the heart of her career.
“I know from attending Blair that it was an incredible experience, which readied me for the rigorous academic and professional world,” started Ms. Gardiner. “I hope that my inclusion of Indigenous art and culture will be illuminating for Blair’s current and future student body and faculty. I really want to point out the fact that Indigenous people are contemporary people, who live and thrive today and are important, active members of society. For the multicultural students, hopefully, my talk will be a chance to see one way to navigate careers in writing/media industries, while telling their stories proudly,” said Ms. Gardiner.
Click "play" below to watch Ms. Gardiner's Skeptics presentation.
History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program, which is funded in part by the Class of 1968 Society of Skeptics Endowment Fund, is an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon. ’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller and his successor, history department chair Jason Beck, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are thought-provoking, engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please visit Blair’s website.