Reconciliation, Resistance, and Residential Schools: digital stories for healing and awareness

This week’s post continues my interest in digital storytelling. I was interested in how Indigenous people in Canada are using digital storytelling as a way to share stories of their experiences in the residential school system.

1. Resistance to Residential Schools: Digital Stories

Center for Youth and Society – University of Victoria

 http://www.youth.society.uvic.ca/TRC

These stories are part of a “Resistance Narratives” project funded by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The goal of this project is to document resistance to the residential school system. For example, one digital story told of a woman who managed to defy assimilation and retained her language and then taught it to a few people in her community. This project is also meant to increase awareness and promote intergenerational healing.

Of particular interest for me personally was the digital story, “Cultural Revitalization of Sts’ailes Community School,” by Alexandra Kant because it compared and contrasted the experiences of residential schools with the work being done to reclaim the culture and language and heal the community in an educational setting.

Of particular interest for me personally was the digital story, “Cultural Revitalization of Sts’ailes Community School,” by Alexandra Kant because it compared and contrasted the experiences of residential schools with the work being done to reclaim the culture and language and heal the community in an educational setting.

  1. kiskinohamâtôtâpânâsk: Intergenerational Effects on Professional First Nations Women Whose Mothers are Residential School Survivors

Prairie Women’s Health

http://www.pwhce.ca/program_aboriginal_digitalStories.htm

A collection of 6 powerful digital stories exploring the relationship between mothers and daughters. The videos illustrate the impact that residential schools had on generations of families, the project title is “kiskinohamâtôtâpânâsk: Intergenerational Effects on Professional First Nations Women Whose Mothers are Residential School Survivors (Source: Oral History Centre).” One of the videos, “My Journey to Motherhood,” Lorena Fontaine, was interesting because Fontaine shares that her decision to have a home birth on her mother’s ancestral lands meant that her daughter was the first child born there in 50 years. It is actually against the law to give birth at home in her province, so she had to pretend that she was going to give birth in the hospital and eventually arrange to have two midwives present. Another video, “Mary-Lou and Me” by Lisa Forbes describes her mother’s assimilation to the dominant culture. But it was the last sentence or so of the video that impacted me the most and really demonstrated the damaging effect that assimilation and loss of culture can have on people.

  1. ininiwag dibaajimowag*:First Nations Men and the Inter-generational Experiences of Residential Schools

Oral History Centre

http://www.oralhistorycentre.ca/projects/ininiwag-dibaajimowag-first-nations-men-and-inter-generational-experiences-residential

The Oral History Centre website has published three of seven Digital stories produced by the male children of residential school survivors. This is part two of the project that I linked to above. So again, these videos explore the impact that residential schools had on generations of families. But one man said in his video, “the cycle stops with my grandchildren.” I found that the three selected videos offer hope for healing and a positive message in spite of the trauma and abuse that was experienced.

There is also a link at the bottom of the home page if you wish to view the four videos that were not selected to be published on their website. Or follow this link:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJDRh3T-x_zShtrFWi6CEd4cJCq7FgBUK

4. Trickster Art -Digital Storytelling of Chris Bose – written by Jennifer Dales

http://rabble.ca/news/2009/07/trickster-art-digital-storytelling-chris-bose

This is an article about the artist Chris Bose. I will also link to his blog. I’m glad I found this article explaining his work because as much as I liked his blog and found some of his work to be powerful, I needed this explanation. Bose states that residential schools “(are) our hidden holocaust. The residential school is always going to be in my art and in what I do until I figure out a way to destroy it.” This is certainly a powerful statement.

5. Urban Coyote TeeVee – Blog of artist Chris Bose

http://findingshelter.blogspot.ca/

This is a collection of some of the artist’s work. Here you can find Jesus Coyote which is mentioned in the link above. He is participating in a challenge to post a work of art a day for one year so there are many different kinds of artwork. One of the pieces I found most moving is a digital story called All Things to All People.

 

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