In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Report and its findings on the impact of residential schools, an award-winning film and campaign are giving Canadians a set of next steps to take to work towards reconciliation and repairing the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.
Ahead of its April 13 cross-Canada theatrical release, Indian Horse, which won Vancouver International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award and the Calgary International Film Festival’s award for Audience Favourite, has launched a Reconcili-ACTION campaign to get Canadians actively involved in reconciliation.
The film is an adaptation of Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel that sheds light on the dark history of Canada’s residential schools through the story of a young Anishinaabe boy, Saul Indian Horse, whose passion for hockey provides an escape while in residential school during the 1960s and 1970s.
The film’s website has some unique additions that go beyond a traditional movie release. There are resources for residential school survivors, educational resources, and a growing set of challenges in a campaign called #Next150.
“For the next 150 days of this 151st year of Canada, we will release one challenge each week that we hope will push your thinking and understanding of Indigenous experiences and Reconciliation movements that are ongoing,” reads the website.
In its report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission stressed the need to educate Canadians on residential schools and their impacts.
To aid in that journey of education, community leaders from around Canada are issuing weekly challenges as part of the #Next150 campaign.
The first challenge is called #OnWhoseLand. This challenge asks you to find out on whose traditional territory you live and to respectfully acknowledge that territory for others to see so they can engage in that learning as well.
Raven and Paul Lacerte of the Moose Hide Campaign, a grassroots movement focused on standing up against violence against women and children, gave the second challenge which called on Canadians to order five free Moose Hide pins, wear one out in public, and when asked about the pin, engage in a simple conversation about the purpose of the Moose Hide Campaign. The remaining four pins are to be handed out to those who wish to join the movement.
The third challenge, made by Kelvin and Tunchai Redvers, co-founders of We Matter, an Indigenous-led non-profit that is committed to Indigenous youth empowerment, hope and life promotion, asks Canadians to watch 10 youth-created We Matter videos and to share one.
The fourth #Next150 challenge, presented by Ry Moran, the director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was about #UnderstandingUNDRIP. He asked Canadians to (re-)read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to do the quiz they’ve developed on it at https://indianhor.se/2FqPxYB.
The #Next150 challenge continued with an #IndigenousReads challenge from Shelagh Rogers, a veteran broadcaster-journalist. Shelagh’s challenge is to find a book by an Indigenous author to read. Indian Horse provides book lists and places to find books for free to get you started at https://indianhor.se/2BRPt4n
To view all the challenges and join in the upcoming ones sign up on the Indian Horse website at next150.indianhorse.ca
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its findings in 2015 showing Canadians what happened in residential schools and it presented 94 calls to action.
The 94 calls to action represent the first step toward redressing the legacy of Indian Residential Schools and advancing the process of reconciliation, said the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the TRC.
The TRC’s calls to action include steps to protect child welfare, preserve language and culture, promote legal equity and strengthen information on missing children.
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