Truth, Reconciliation & Colonialism

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Video playlist on the the effects of colonialism in Canada.
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Jump to individual videos within the playlist at the bottom of the page, or go to another playlist from the "View All Playlists" menu at the top right. The keyword search box at the top right will search within the titles and descriptions of all the videos in all playlists available.

The episode lengths range from 13 to 86 minutes, are in English, and are closed captioned. This playlist includes (descriptive text from resource):

  1. A Broken Treaty - Episode 5: Elder in the Making Series: As time passed, the Canadian government's perspective with regards to Aboriginal people changed. The Indian was now a problem needing a solution. What follows from the treaty signing is a genocide in slow motion. Elder Narcisse Blood shares his story growing up in residential school and the person he became.
  2. After The Last River: In the shadow of a De Beers mine, the remote community of Attawapiskat lurches from crisis to crisis, while facing mounting environmental issues and an inability to directly benefit from resource revenues. Filmed over five years, After the Last River is a point of view documentary that follows Attawapiskat's journey from obscurity and into the international spotlight during the protests of Idle No More. After the Last River is a complex examination of a community under pressure. Poverty, neglect, and isolation combine to force the remote reserve of Atawapiskat into accepting a De Beers diamond mine on it’s traditional territory. As the mine removes billions of dollars worth of diamonds, the promised jobs barely materialize and the community is threatened by potentially devastating contamination. Filmmaker, Vicki Lean, follows the remote reserve's five-year journey into the international spotlight. Through interviews with executives and government, and day in-the-life footage of the community, Lean weaves a tapestry of the issues effecting indigenous rights today. After the Last River connects personal stories from the First Nation to industry agendas and government policies, painting a complex portrait of a territory that is an imperilled homeland to some and a profitable new frontier for others.
  3. Apocalypse - Episode 4: Elder in the Making Series: Two apocalyptic events transformed Indigenous life in the prairie forever - the massacre of the buffalo and the introduction of disease. These led to a spiritual and cultural disaster and mass starvation for First Nation tribes, essentially wiping out a once vibrant culture. Devastated, First Nations people turned to the Dominion of Canada for help. Canada's responsibility went from one of protection to one of civilizing.
  4. Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, British Columbia: Encompassing 350 000 hectares on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Sound contains some of the largest tracts of intact, coastal temperate rainforest in North America. The area has garnered much attention in the past when Aboriginal people and environmentalists conflicted with the logging industry. However, moving forward, the work to build a sustainable Clayoquot Sound is ongoing. People here are mitigating the effects of industrial logging, reducing the impacts of tourism, growing sustainable seafood, uncovering historical ecosystems using ancient whale bones, and volunteering to clean up garbage from half a world away. But most importantly, they are using traditional knowledge to create practical economical models to support people and the environment. One of the ways this is happening is through an increased recognition of the traditional practices of the regions First Nations, the Nuu-chah-nulth people.
  5. Clouds of Autumn: Set on the Tsilhqot'in plateau in the 1970s, Clouds of Autumn focuses on a young Indigenous boy named William and his older sister Shayl whose carefree childhoods are torn apart when Shayl is forced to attend a residential school. Singular visual interpretations infuse co-director Trevor Mack's family history with a slowly shifting tone that evokes loss and love. The film explores the impact residential schools had on the relationships of First Nations children with themselves, their heritage, and nature itself. The opening notes of the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is our God" are a poignant leitmotif in this mostly non-narrated production. A moving, short docudrama ideal for film studies. Trevor Mack is a Tsilhqot’in Nation filmmaker from Williams Lake and the TI’etinqox area in British Columbia, Canada.
  6. Death and Renewal - Episode 6: Elder in the Making Series: Despite the history, trauma and devastating loss, there is a somewhat renewed sense of commitment to the land and for future generations. As Blackfoot Elder Narcisse Blood once spoke "the folly is when we think man is it." We must respect all life. History deepens our sense of place and reveals the mistakes of civilization. While acknowledging the human rights abuses of the past, the filmmakers also discover a sense of joy and hope for the future. As it turns out, an elder in the making is a responsibility we all share.
  7. In Jesus' Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne's Residential School: In Jesus' Name: Shattering the Silence of St. Anne's Residential School is a poignant all-Indigenous English and Cree-English collaborative documentary film that breaks long-held silences imposed upon children who were interned at the notoriously violent St. Anne's Residential School in Fort Albany First Nation, Ontario. First Nations children from all over the western James Bay region suffered isolation from family and community as well as physical, sexual, spiritual and cultural abuse at the hands of the Catholic Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Sisters of Charity. Some were abused by other students who had learned violent behaviours from their 'caregivers.' While Chief Wilton Littlechild imparts some of what he learned from his six years as a Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner, seven St. Anne's survivors publicly share their acutely emotional stories, some for the very first time. The film also brings to light how, in this era of truth and reconciliation, the Canadian government continues to try to silence knowledge of abuses that occurred at St. Anne's by withholding evidence from the survivors as they seek compensation for harms done to them when they were just children. This video contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers. The producers of this film recommend that mental health supports be made available to audiences. A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students. You can access emotional and crisis referral services. You can also get Information on how to get other health supports from the Government of Canada. Please call the 24 Hour National Survivors Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you or someone you know is triggered while viewing or using this content.
  8. Mistissini Healing: Examines the trauma experienced by the intergenerational survivors of Canada's residential school system. Mistissini Healing tells the story of two Cree young women who are healing from the intergenerational trauma they experience living in the isolated James Bay Cree community of Mistissini, Quebec. Survivors Maryjane and Dayna rise from unfortunate circumstances and find hope, inspiring them to work to improve their community for future generations on a reserve still struggling to cope with the appalling legacy left behind by Canada’s Residential School system.
  9. Residential Schools: Truth and Reconciliation in Canada (Educator's Package): Indian Residential Schools are a part of our shared history in Canada. Prior to European contact, First Nations people had their own education system, governing system, beliefs and customs. While some positive alliances were established, the arrival of missionaries and others kicked off a systematic attack on the traditional customs and culture of native communites. Through a series of government proclamations, acts and treaties, aboriginal groups across the country began to lose the land they depended on for survival. A major part of the treaty agreements was the establishment of a good education system for aboriginal children. As momentum for settlement of the west and the building of a national railway grew, so did the Canadian governments need to fulfill the obligations of these treaties. In 1883, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald authorized the creation of three “industrial schools.” Thus began the misguided attempt “to kill the Indian in the child.” Between 1879 and 1986, at least 150,000 aboriginal children in Canada - almost a third of aboriginal children -were forcibly removed and placed into Indian Residential Schools. The assault on Aboriginal identity began the moment children took their first step across the school’s threshold. Their unique culture was stripped away tobe replaced with a foreign European identity. Their family ties were cut, clothes replaced, and children were prevented from returning home. The telling of Canada’s history is not complete without this story. Some refer to it as a “cultural genocide.”Generations upon generations of aboriginal people have been affected by the abuse and horrors experienced in these schools.The Truth and Reconciliation Summary that was undertaken as an element of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement outlines 94 recommendations for achieving a full reconciliation between Canada’s nativeand non-native people’s. Interweaving archival footage with poignant interviews, this video, accompanying resource material and bonusmaterial gives students, teachers and administrators an overview of the history and subsequent impact of residential schools in Canada - a timeline of events and crucial moments. It is the story of our first people. It is the story of their struggle to live in Canada. And it is a somewhat modern day story. Many of these people still live among us today. This program will help viewers begin to understand part of that story. Educator's Package Includes: Video, 32 page teacher's resource guide in digital format, complete with vocabulary list, viewing suggestions, numerous student activity sheets and event timeline. Also includes four BONUS segments: Justice Murray Sinclair: Survivors Speak Out, Paul Martin: Power Play, Marie Wilson: Healing Decades - Old Wounds, and The 60s Scoop
  10. Resolute: It was a forced relocation to assert sovereignty that led the Canadian government to commit one of the most grievous human rights violations in Canadian history. Zipporah was a girl when her family was among the eighty Inuit to be sent to the high arctic, but she remembers vividly the anger when her father realized he had been duped. An epidemic of alcoholism swept through the town as the men and women drowned their shame at the military's tavern. This family drama documents the story of Zipporah and her two daughters, Doreen and Celina who grew up in a community of darkness. Through a harmonization of haunting interviews, archival footage and experimental animation, Resolute tells a story familiar to thousands of indigenous families in Canada and beyond.
  11. Sacred Ground - Episode 3: Elder in the Making Series: Diving deeper into the history of the land and the people who lived there gives us a greater understanding of the present. In this episode, filmmaker Chris Hsuing and Cowboy Smithx from the Blackfoot Nation visit Grasslands National Park, Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump, petroglyphs and archeological sites in Treaty 7 territory. This area was a "tapestry of nations" before Europeans arrived with a sophisticated set of protocols and ceremonies to maintain peace and structure. It was considered the "Serengeti of North America" where bison roamed freely and were an integral part of life and survival.
  12. Silent X - Episode 1: Elder in the Making Series: Filmmaker Chris Hsuing sets out on a journey of discovery in traditional Blackfoot territory. Hsuing discovers how history can tell you how life came to be, what has changed and what hasn’t changed. He teams up with Cowboy Smithx from the Blackfoot First Nation to delve deep into indigenous history.
  13. Survivors Rowe: For almost twenty years Ralph Rowe held a unique esteem in the isolated First Nation Reserves of Northern Ontario. As an Anglican minister and a Boy Scout leader, Rowe was revered and trusted by community elders and cultivated adoration from all the children he worked with. He had the perfect cover for a pedophile. Rowe abused an estimated 500 native boys throughout the 1970s and 80s. "Survivors Rowe" documents the harrowing and tragic stories of three men who as boys were victims of Rowe. Joshua Frog, John Fox and Ralph Winter open their hearts to recount the abuse they experienced as children, and how their lives disintegrated because of it. A melody of pain, anguish, forgiveness and love, these three brave men embody the sacred truth that it's only when one confronts their past, that they are able to face their future. This film continues to play a role in the healing process of First Nations sex abuse survivors. English with Oji-Cree subtitles.
  14. The Grandfather Drum: The drum is very much a part of the social and spiritual fabric of life in the First Nation, Metis and Inuit culture. The drum healed people for many years until Christianity was introduced to the community and colonialism became the new reality. The drum represents the heartbeat of the community. Beautifully crafted animation combines with masterful storytelling in Anishinaabe filmmaker Michelle Derosier's film about a magic drum. For the Anishinabek, the drum is a revered object that brings healing. With this particular drum, now part of a museum collection, The Grandfather Drum is a timely film about the dispossession of Indigenous ceremonial artifacts. The film tells the true story of a First Nations elder. After his grandson dies, Naamowin builds a healing drum to restore balance and connection to his community. The program explores the heritage of colonialism and the subsequent trauma still deeply affecting First Nations communities. Most of this video is narrated in the Anishinaabe – Ojibwe language with English subtitles. Michelle Derosier (Anishinaabe) is from Migisi Sahgaigan, (Eagle Lake First Nation) in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. She is co-owner of Thunderstone Pictures Inc. and co-founder and past Festival Director of the Biindigaate Indigenous Film Festival in Thunder Bay, Ontario
  15. The History of Treaties in Canada: From the Royal Proclamation of 1763 to the implementation of the modern-day Algonquin land claim, The History of Treaties in Canada explores the history, application and legacy of these foundational legal documents and how they continue to shape and define the often strained relationships between First Nations and the Crown in Canada. Written and produced by award-winning Métis filmmaker Matt LeMay.
  16. The Impact of Colonialism in Canada: Prior to the arrival of Europeans, First Nations people were a richly diversified, self-sufficient culture living in various areas of Canada. Much of that changed with the arrival of the first Europeans. Colonization is the action or process of settling and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area disconnecting them from the land, their history, their identity and their rights so that others benefit. It is a basic form of injustice, and has been condemned as a practice by the United Nations. In this new production from award-winning Métis filmmaker Matt LeMay, we explore the history and consequences of the Canadian Government attempting to assimilate Canada’s Indigenous population. We explore the Indian Act, the establishment of the Canadian Residential School system, broken treaty promises, and the 60’s scoop. This video will educate the viewer as to why so many of Canada’s First Nation communities face serious sociological and economic challenges.
  17. Truth and Reconciliation: The Legacy of Residential Schools in Canada: This program examines the history, legacy and current impacts of the Residential School experience in Canada. From the establishment of the early Residential Schools to the work of the Trusth and Reconciliation Commission, this film shines a light into this dark chapter of Canadian history. Written and directed by multiple award winning Métis filmmaker Matt LeMay, this poignant documentary features interviews with Phil Fontaine, Shawn Atleo, Dr. Marie Wilson, Dr. Mike Degagne, and Martha Marsden.
  18. Truth, Dance and Reconciliation: The story of Canada's residential school system and its traumatic consequences is one of the darkest and most troubling truths about our history, but the Royal Winnipeg Ballet suggested an unlikely - but powerful way for the country to learn and heal from decades of pain. This documentary explores the one-year artistic gestation of the ballet through footage recorded at dance rehearsals, creative team gatherings, Aboriginal cultural retreats, and on opening night in Winnipeg. Interviews with creative team members and dancers reveal the apprehension they felt while creating and presenting a ballet about this dark side of Canadian history. Going Home Star is the name of their critically acclaimed original ballet, based on astory by The Orenda novelist Joseph Boyden and featuring music from Tanya Tagaq. The title comes from the aboriginal name for the North Star – the Going Home Star – which helped the native people in their navigations. Powerfully interwoven with the story of the ballet's creation is the story of one former student and her experiences at a residential school. Fifty years later, her story intersects with the stories of the ballet's creators when she attends a performance of Going Home Star. It’s a story of truth, dance and reconciliation. The moving piece was commissioned with the support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The coming-together of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and the unique fusion of European and First Nation art forms to tell the story of Canada's residential schools, marks an important addition to our country's artistic legacy.
  19. Westward Trek - Episode 2: Elder in the Making Series: Canadian politicians feared American expansionism which would hem Canada into the north-east corner of the continent, unable to access the rich resources of the Prairies and making it near impossible to attract new immigrants to boost the populations and drive commerce. Western expansion was now seen as a vital part of Canada's economic future. With the acquisition of Rupert's Land and the building of the railway, the Canadian government needed to address any and all Aboriginal claims to the land. To link the country meant building through Blackfoot country. The North West Mounted Police were sent to secure the land. Treaties were negotiated and signed. Promises were made. Life for the Blackfoot changed dramatically.
Subjects covered:
  • Canadian Studies
  • History
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Interdisciplinary
  • North American Studies
Subject guides:
Alternate titles:
  • Wilfrid Laurier University - Truth, Reconciliation & Colonialism
  • Truth, Reconciliation and Colonialism
  • Reconciliation & Colonialism