The short-film For Angela is based on the true experience an Aboriginal mother, and her daughter, Angela, faced while sitting at a bus stop in Regina, Manitoba. A group of non-Aboriginal teen boys approached the bus stop and began to verbally assault the two Aboriginal women with all sorts of hurtful, racist, and stereotypical comments.
The attack left the young girl with feelings of shame and inner turmoil. Angela reacts strongly to this event and in an attempt to leave her Aboriginal culture behind, cuts off her long, beautiful braids, which is such a public way of showing her identity. The mother is shocked and saddened and wants to help her daughter deal with her identity issues. After this attack, the rest of the film is devoted to how the mother tries to find justice, and make the boys accountable for what they did that day.
The film can be a powerful tool for any student, as it challenges the common stereotypes that still exist in Canada today. I like to stop the film at certain key points and ask students what they are thinking at that moment. I conclude the viewing with a self-reflective journal entry asking the students to write down how they felt when they were witnessing the verbal attack, and to connect incident to the existence of stereotypes about First Nations in Canada. The film is short…under 30 minutes, so it can easily be managed in one class sitting.
For me, the most powerful impact of this film is realizing it is not fiction! This happened…in Canada…not in the too distant past. The moral of the story is that stereotypes about Aboriginal people usually get fed by the mainstream media, and if these stereotypes are left unchecked, they can quickly turn to harmful, racist actions.
Thankfully this video is free to stream off the National Film Board webiste: https://www.nfb.ca/playlists/anti-racism-films/viewing/for_angela/
Here is the original movie before editing: