Background on Name of Project: The project title is taken with blessing from one of the participants in the video, 18 year old Kiara Dumas, who lives in Thompson, Manitoba but her family is originally from South Indian Lake, Mb or O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation. Kiara was given her spirit name by a medicine man on her first visit to the sweatlodge just outside of Thompson, Mb. Kiara is an intelligent, young Indigenous woman who I believe will be a part of an Indigenous youth movement in the coming years to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
For this creative project I wanted to create something that may be meaningful for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. I wanted to create something that allowed them to get to know one another. For many years, non-Indigenous and Indigenous people have both had preconceived ideas of what each group of peoples is all about, what they believe in, and what they stand for. Many times, both sets of peoples are given information that is incorrect, stereotypical, or only a one sided portrayal of how the history of Canada and its people came to be, instead of looking at the bigger picture and from various perspectives of truth.
Many non-Indigenous people have not been taught about the history of Indigenous people and the creation of Canada from an Indigenous lens, but rather have been taught in school how people of European descent recall history and how it all happened; much of what is being recalled throughout history being exaggerated or completely false and lacking emotion or empathy.
I feel as though sometimes people in this country simply just do not know about the real history of Indigenous people in Canada. Many people have never had the opportunity to be educated in Indigenous history and or culture as told by Indigenous people, or even had interactions with the various Indigenous people of this country. Sometimes yes, there are stereotypes, ignorance, and flat out hatred without even knowing one another’s story or what another person may be carrying with them along their journey. For many years this countries government did not even consider Indigenous people to be human beings. They were to share the land peacefully and productively together in peace through partnership and the Indian Act, but instead Indigenous people were colonized, oppressed, treated as lesser, sent to residential schools in an attempt to assimilate and kill Indigenous cultures and traditions, their children were kidnapped and adopted out to white families, and the list goes on. Much of this history continues today. The same oppression, assimilation attempts, and so on. Many people who are not Indigenous don’t realize the intergenerational trauma in which the Canadian Government throughout history has caused, the lateral violence, the abuse, violence, suicide, poverty, Indigenous people incarcerated, and so much more.
What I imagined this video to be was a starting point. A raw, informal, real and positive beginning to a conversation to Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people starting to understand one another, value one another, and see one another as equals and as human beings. My two main goals were to:
Start a conversation. I wanted Indigenous people and Non-Indigenous people to start a conversation, to get to know one another, to hear a bit about what Indigenous people are involved with and in, and a bit about their culture and tradition and experiences. I want non-Indigenous people to be curious to explore Indigenous peoples and their traditions, cultures and beliefs further, and to educate themselves with the truth, while leaving assumptions, stereotypes and ignorance behind. Doing this, I hope to help lessen the divide between people in this country, and create allies for equality, equity, and opportunity. I wanted to use this platform to transform privilege into equal opportunity for all.
I wanted to have something positive and visual for Indigenous kids and youth to identify with. I want Indigenous kids to see successful Indigenous people and role models that they can strive to be like. Much of the time social media and the media in general tend to focus on the negative aspects of Indigenous people instead of focusing on the numerous Indigenous people doing wonderful things for people from all walks of life in this country. I want Indigenous youth to be able to have the confidence to chase their dreams like the people in this video have and continue to do, to overcome obstacles, to relate to what other Indigenous people are saying, but most of all I want them to choose to stay alive and to love their life and look towards a better future; because this country is going to need them and they are going to be the ones soon enough to break their people free from the intergenerational trauma carried around and forward over the generations; ultimately the ones who will be restoring culture and tradition, equality, equity, opportunity to flourish, and the right to happiness.
I hope you enjoy this video. So many wonderful people offered to talk about themselves and their lives, and also helped put this together with me.
“It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime, what better place than here? What better time than now?”- Zach de la Rocha; Rage Against The Machine
I hope this explanation is what you were looking for.