In 1998, the Canadian Government acknowledged its responsibility for the ill treatment suffered by children in Autochthon residential schools and consecrated 350 million dollars to finance community healing efforts.
Healing Words, a series of 6 documentaries, shares with us the cruelty experienced by Quebec Aboriginal peoples and the social, identity and cultural consequences of this treatment over three generations, as well as, and especially, the projects undertaken to effect a lasting recovery.
French version : Parole de Guérison
Summary of the 6 episodes
Episode 1: History of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation
This episode relates the historical facts of acculturation by means of residential schools and then portrays the Aboriginal Healing Foundation as a beneficiary of Government funding and initiator of groups formed in view of permitting Aboriginal peoples to revive their culture. It then introduces us to several of the Foundation’s projects that will be the subject of following episodes.
Episode 2: The Anishnabegs and Residential Schools
The Algonquins-Anisnabegs of Abitibi bear witness to the forced acculturation of the Autochthon nomads by the white man. Victims of yesterday who are leaders in their community today, have built projects with regard to the family, one of the cultural pillars most affected by the residential school drama. The film focuses on the healing project having to do with learning how to become good parents and, in addition, reveals the cultural shock resulting from the confrontation of differing mentalities.
Episode 3: Philomène and Her Children
One family was torn apart by the separation of the mother from her ten children. The loss of traditions and the weakening of family ties are the plight of this family and of many other Canadian Autochthon families. Some children must follow a therapy in order to find meaning in their lives, whereas the mother still hopes to pass on to them her people’s traditional heritage.
Episode 4: The Middle Lake
A group of Innu elders of Natashquan were separated from their children when they were sent to residential schools. The residential school “survivors” tell us about the severance from their families. Today, through their healing project, the elders teach their grandchildren how to live in the woods, thus helping them to become familiar with their ancestral way of life.
Episode 5: The Sharing Circle
One of the greatest Aboriginal traditions, the Circle of Sharing, takes us to the core of spoken evidence when participants in a ceremony relate both their joys and sorrows of living in White society. A couple of residential school victims learn to love each other after several therapies. Today, they in turn offer traditional therapies. The film’s scope reaches also to those who found advantages in residential schooling.
Episode 6 : The Soul of the Drum
The most senior member of La Romaine, a traditional drum player, tells us of the blessed past when even missionaries spoke Innu. Because of his efforts, and with the support of many, we discover that the real issue is one of education, which was imposed in French in their own village. The last generation of surviving, unilingual Innus pass on to us, by means of the drum, a great mythology resonating in our ears even today.
|Length||6 x 48 minutes|
|Producer||Denis Boivin, Luc Lainé|
|D.P||Jean-François Denis, Jean-François Gros-Louis, Denis Boivin|
|Production||K8e K8e inc.|