On February 9th, we [Ryerson UofMosaic Fellows] collaborated with the National Film Board of Canada, to host a screening of ‘We Can’t Make the Same Mistakes Twice’, produced and directed by Alanis Obomsawin. This event was also graciously supported by the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Ryerson Aboriginal Education Council, Ryerson Aboriginal Student Services, CESAR student group, and Cinema Politica at Ryerson.
“Alanis Obomsawin, a member of the Abenaki Nation, is one of Canada’s most distinguished documentary filmmakers” (The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation). Alanis has dedicated her life’s work to preserving the First Nations’ heritage through her filmmaking and activism (The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation).
‘We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice’, captured a 10 year long court trial that was brought forward by Dr. Cindy Blackstock and other activists who sought to bring the issue of inadequate government funding of social support services for Indigenous children and youth to light.
The night of the screening was by far an unforgettable night. In the theatre style room, we were provided a powerful and visually impactful experience. It was visibly apparent through the audience’s engagement in the Q/A session.
Many concerned faces could be pointed out throughout the room, however the audience was also completely in awe of Alanis’s presence. Many voices and smiles carried throughout, and many spoke fondly of Alanis’s detailed eye and her resilient strength in making this film.
-Not a single person in the room could deny this truth, Alanis was one of the most amazing individual’s we [Ryerson Fellows] have ever met in our entire life.
Immediately Alanis makes you feel comfortable and loved.
The moment you meet Alanis, you understand that she lives her life carrying her heart on her sleeves. Her soft spoken voice but commanding presence, formed a safe space for us all to share our thoughts on her film and ask questions such as how can Non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples could come together and collaboratively work towards ending the discrimination that exists in Canada today.
This experience will live in all of our hearts, and one thing we have all learned from this event is that the fight is not over.
After the court concluded in January 2016, that the Government of Canada discriminated against First Nations children by inequitably funding child welfare services. The next step was to start funding First Nations children. It is March 2017, and the Government of Canada has failed to fund these services and must be held accountable. Cindy Blackstock executive director of ‘The First Nations Child & Family Caring Society in Canada’ organization is asking the Indigenous and Canadian society to implement their 7 Ways to Make a Difference Campaign. Make sure to click on this link and take part to fight against the injustice that exists, against First Nations children.
The screening which had around 75 participants, was followed by a Q&A session with the film’s director, Alanis.
Photo Credits: Photographer AbdurRehman Khawaja [ASK PHOTOGRAPHY]
Blog written by: UofMosaic Fellows at Ryerson University (Rina Afendi, Lauren Kim, Hayley Hanks and Amanda Louise Macdonald)