Our People Will Be Healed (2017) Movie Script

[birds cawing]
[man speaking Cree]
[man continues speaking Cree]
[crickets chirping]
- Each one of us
have certain gifts
that we've been given
by the Creator.
But we need mentors
to help us enhance
and develop those skills.
Children should be provided
with as much supports
that we can provide to them.
My priority, my focus
is social development;
ensuring that other people
get treated
with fairness and respect
no matter where they are,
making sure
that they get educated
and that they get trained,
and that they get
equipped with skills.
We have more infrastructure
than most communities
and we're fortunate and blessed
in many ways in that way.
But the infrastructure
will only take you so far.
You need social development
where the people are given
the encouragement
and support they need
to be able to better themselves.
So we should actually
be doing everything we can
to provide to the child so that
they can develop in a way that
will help sharpen their gifts
and have confidence
in themselves.
- This is a very
beautiful school.
We had one of the buildings
that had been a former
Residential School renovated
numerous times
and it was an old building
so it was time
to decommission that.
the educational leaders
and the people from Chief
and Council
certainly are visionaries.
We are part of a
Provincial School System;
Frontier School Division
has a tuition agreement
with the Norway Cree Nation.
We do have funding
that is very comparable
to what other
Provincial Schools get.
So, we're very competitive
to any Divisions
in the Province of Manitoba
in terms of salary,
in terms of benefits.
We provide accommodations
for our teaching staff.
And there are times that
we do have other teachers
that come from other
First Nations Schools
and they come
to Norway House
and they can't believe that.
- I really am happy
with the funding
our schools get and I think
that's partly because
we have a large population
so we're funded per student
and we're a Provincial School
so our funding is good and
I think we use it really well.
We have 84 teachers,
close to fifty percent
are from First Nations
and most of them
are from Norway House.
All of our Educational
Assistants, almost,
I would say ninety percent,
are from Norway House.
We tend to have teachers that
come in and they're very happy,
they love working here.
- It's pretty easy to see that
A would be an obtuse angle,
open wider than 90 degrees.
B, acute, less than 90.
So, shape A, no,
not a regular polygon.
- Our Early Years Wing is
made up of 22 classrooms
from nursery to grade four.
Following Manitoba Curriculum,
we practise inclusion
in our school
and in every classroom,
we do have children
with special needs.
They are part
of the programming
and they're in the classroom
with everybody else,
participating in the activities.
It's accepted,
it's the norm for them
and it's not at all
where these kids are singled
out or they're bullied.
These children in their
classrooms are always willing
to be their friend
and be that helping hand
and that's such a blessing
to see.
- When it was first
Rossville School,
it was just N
to eight.
And we had
a separate high school,
but now that
all the three wings are here,
like nursery to Grade 12
are all here,
so it's kind of different.
Sometimes it can be very hectic.
- Okay, so this group
is doing well.
You have this five millilitres
of hydrochloric acid here,
and we're going to put
the magnesium ribbon inside.
[indistinct chatter]
You didn't see it?
You're going to watch
to see what happens.
- So, which one of these
has magnesium on it?
- All children
have a right to learn
and all children are special
in their own unique ways
and they all deserve
to be in school.
Don't be surprised
at what they can do.
[indistinct chatter]
What else do you notice
is happening?
- It's starting to get thick,
like the water thing looks more
like the metal part
is coming off.
- The metal parts are coming
off, that's the decomposition.
So what do you think
is happening
to the magnesium ribbon?
- It's going brownish/golden.
- So, what do you think
is happening to it?
It's going brownish.
And we have a cup
of chloride in there.
- Turning to copper.
- Thank you. Right.
[violin playing]
- It's not too hard,
I'll play at regular speed.
I've been teaching
in this Program for...
this is my second year.
I started last year
in September.
Ever hear this tune?
[plays violin]
Ever hear that one?
That's the same song,
just a different version.
That's the same
square dance tune.
Ready to try?
Together, open in A.
One, two, three, go.
Okay, let's try it again.
Okay, one, two, three, go.
It reminds me
of me when I was a kid,
it motivates me,
it encourages me.
I'm not only teaching but
I'm learning from these kids
about myself
and just about life, right,
so it's definitely rewarding.
I love it.
One, two, three, go.
- We've been working
on retaining students
in the high school,
because we had a problem
for many years,
where we were averaging
about two hundred students
in Grade 9 and then
it would go down
and down and down and come
to about 15 in Grade 12.
So, that has...
you know, we've identified that
as a need
and we've really worked
on changing our system
to keep kids in schools.
- One last one, okay?
And underneath
at the edge of the bottom lip.
- I can't live up
to those standards.
- Yes, you can.
- No, I can't.
- I believe in you.
- We've known it through
the research for many years
that high school students
like to sleep in the morning
and they're not really awake
at 8:30.
So, we have altered
our schedule
to have our high school
start at 9:30.
So that way, we have a bus run
to pick up all the kids
from 8:00 to 8:30
and bring them here
and then the buses run again
at 9:00 to pick up
high school students.
So, we encourage parents
if kids miss their first bus,
rather than stay home all day,
send them on the late bus,
we'll welcome them into our
classrooms when they get here.
Our theory is that we would
prefer to see them come in late
than not to come at all.
We're trying to have
something for everyone,
so that, you know, no matter
what your skill set is
or your interest area,
we have something
that will draw kids in.
And next year, we will be
looking at a graduating class
of somewhere between
60 and 70.
- I'm almost done,
like, high school
and I'm so proud
that I'm almost done.
So excited to be done.
It will be the tenth anniversary
of our school being opened
and that's a real honour
to walk up on that stage
on my graduation day.
High school was, like,
the most wonderful experience
I could go through.
It's going to be heartbreaking
when I'm done.
I just don't want it to end.
Sometimes, like
my friends are like,
sometimes my biggest,
my biggest encouragement
to be the best I could be.
All the opportunities and
programs that I've been in,
they really broaden my horizon
into what I wanted to go into...
at university.
It was so...
scary at first, but once
I got there, I got used
to the university
type of lifestyle.
We do lots of experiments and
they'd show us like the labs.
The labs are
very beautiful there,
they really made me want
to go into that faculty.
That's where I'm going to be
going in the fall, moving there.
To Winnipeg.
If you expect you're going
to do great things,
you'll do amazing things
like go to university
in Manitoba for a week
or see Ottawa for a week.
There's just been
so much I went through,
going through high school.
- What's your favourite subject
in school?
- Gym.
- Play with the toys.
- Fiddle.
- Hockey.
- Math too.
- Math, yeah.
- Geology. I've always wanted
to be a geological scientist.
- I want to be an RCMP Officer.
I want to be a carpenter.
And I also want to go
to the Canadian Army Forces.
- A professional hockey player.
- I draw my dad, my mom and me.
Even my sisters
and my other mom.
- Do you have sisters?
How many?
- Three.
- Three, three sisters.
Are they younger than you
or older?
- Older.
- Yes.
- No four.
- Four sisters, oh la la.
Do you have brothers too?
How many?
- Two.
- One or two?
- I mean three.
- Three brothers
and four sisters.
That's seven children,
and eight with you.
Are you sure?
- "My kokum says
the friendship began one day
"when a ship sailed
across the ocean
"and brought the newcomers.
"The newcomers said they had
travelled from faraway lands,
"they shook hands
and became friends.
I love meeting new friends."
See the picture?
"The newcomers built new homes,
"made new towns and roads.
"After all,
the First Nations Peoples saw
"that their
traditional way of life
"was going to... change.
"The newcomers and
the First Nations Peoples talked
and together
they decided to make a..."?
- Teepee.
- Treaty.
[teacher]: Treaty.
So, what's a treaty?
- A promise.
- A promise.
A promise between who?
[indistinct answer]
The newcomers,
the Europeans and who?
- Aboriginals.
- Aboriginal People,
the First Nations.
- Frontier has had
for many years
a requirement that our students
who graduate from our schools
have to take
a Native Studies course.
We think it's important
that they know
their history
and their treaties, yeah.
- Guys, once you find
the willow...
You're looking
for a willow, right?
See this, how much space
you have.
- Blow it then.
- That's what it's supposed
to sound like.
If you put it
in the wrong way here...
... it gets louder
as you move it,
because that is what
caused all that thing.
Pretty good, huh?
- Yeah.
- I'm going to show you
how to cut them up.
The best classroom I ever had.
Yeah, we done a lot of work
in here.
- Yes?
- We put a lot of stuff.
These guys are going to bring
some more willows
and they're going
to set them up around.
I enjoy this course.
Take the other one
on the other side.
And take this one on this side.
We're going to put
another one this way.
So, you need two more
and we're going to make
half of it.
Where are the other guys?
- They're over there.
- Remember, it's
45 degrees, right?
- I messed it up.
- A little fire there, guys.
We're going to put
some more sticks in there
and we're going to cover it
with muskeg.
And then you can put some more
muskeg on the bottom for you.
Almost like a sweat lodge, huh?
- There's only a few
that can speak the language
here in Norway House.
It is a very,
very descriptive language.
Like you know
with everything that...
that we talk about,
that we are related
to the land and everything.
So, we talk about it like that.
[speaking Cree]
We need two more guys,
let's see.
Alright, you guys, one, two.
At the back, alright?
At the back.
Guys, if you want to change,
if you get tired on one side,
you change over.
Everybody has one now?
- Yeah.
- Alright, push them out.
Watch it now.
This will be the ninth year
that I do a two-week canoe trip
with the youth.
You know that thing
we have to get back...
is to be proud of who we are.
Our stories have to be told
Okay, ready to go.
When my grandfather
used to tell me stories,
even the sun talked,
even the trees talked
and everything else,
so in that way I respected life
as I was growing up.
Hey, guys, try and follow Chad,
Try and follow Chad.
We realize how hard it is
for them to be on a reserve
and the social problems
that we have.
You know, it's all about the way
you deal with people.
When you show kindness
to young people
and you look them in the eye
and you tell them
that you care for them,
that's where the trust comes in
and they start talking
about their problems.
So, you start talking to them
in a positive way.
[birds chirping]
[soft music]
[geese honking]
You know, a couple of days
out here,
like you know, the first day,
they really get tired
and the second day, more tired.
But then, after that, they get
into the groove of things
and they start to settle down.
Because it's such a healthy
life, you're always moving.
You wake up your spirit,
that's why I try
to wake them up early.
And I'm trying, you know,
to get the young people
to start moving
and learning how to do things
on their own, I guess.
Basically is what
I'm trying to do.
Instill that work ethic in them.
I'm going to help out,
you guys, at that.
Break the dam.
...at the bottom first.
Alright, start taking that off
the top there.
Watch it, move now, move.
Alright, I think
that will be good.
You start from over there,
from over there, look,
try and go straight, eh?
Alright, we'll set
that one first.
Just go with your motor.
Alright, go.
Watch it, watch it, watch it.
Great going! You guys
got to go hard, go.
From the other side, Evan.
- Alright, are you ready?
[in Cree]
I'm doing the nursery
to Grade 1,
and I get 20 minutes
to half an hour, twice a week.
Which is not enough,
it is not enough.
But it's... we're not immersion,
we're just trying
to teach the language.
A couple of years ago,
I'd say about 10 to 15,
the kids came in
with the language.
Right now, they don't come in
with the language at all.
Maybe it's too much TV, maybe
it's too much outside influence.
It's hard.
Now, we tell him to jump,
we say...
[all shouting in Cree]
Do you think he can reach
the ceiling today?
[all]: Yeah!
- And it's very important
that we teach our kids
about their treaty rights
and their aboriginal rights
and their language
and their culture,
because it has to be there.
If they don't know,
then they don't know
something is being taken away.
What does he eat?
[translates in Cree]
- Fish!
[continues in Cree]
...and he flies away with it.
And he goes and eats it.
A simple thing as going fishing.
We are allowed.
Duck hunting.
We need to teach
our kids who they are
and what they need to do
and then just give them
the tools,
and let them go.
[in Cree]
- I wouldn't want to go
to school anywhere else.
If I could take this school
to Winnipeg, I would.
I want to build a house
for my mom, my family,
my brother,
my nephew, my granny.
Because I'm the baby
in my family,
so it's always been about me.
But knowing that I've done
something for someone else
is always a tremendous feeling.
I want to be like my grandpa.
I see how happy my grandpa
is now,
I wouldn't mind to be living
like him.
I'm a very proud uncle,
that's my godchild.
My life before,
without him... it was quiet,
like nothing really happened.
Then my nephew
came into the picture.
And he just made
everything fun.
I always know I'm going to come
home and hear him go: Hi, uncle!
- Uncle.
- Yeah.
That's my pride and joy.
We never argue in front
of my nephew, never.
So, I believe
that's probably why my brother
doesn't drink at home.
He doesn't want
to let his son see him
and that's probably
one of the reasons
why I still don't do
drugs or drink,
because I don't ever want
to put that influence
on my nephew.
[indistinct chatter]
- Two middle fingers over the
edge and pinkie on the top.
Hold your fiddles up
nice and high.
You should not point them
to the ground.
Stand up nice and straight
and smile.
- One, two, three...
When I first came here
two years ago,
these eight-year-old kids
would put up their fiddles
and they started playing
these tunes
that my father was playing
years ago.
And I couldn't believe it,
I thought: Oh my, where am I?
I'm in some place rich.
You guys are awesome.
- Fiddles by your side, bows
forward and ready for your bow.
[radio]: Good morning,
my name is Agnes Joy
and I'm with you until
about three o'clock today.
Norway House Pow Wow Committee,
Radio TV Bingo,
6:30 today.
Bingo cards will be
at the Mall at twelve o'clock.
We have good morning
and happy birthday
going out
to Ann Marie Muswagon:
Happy birthday, enjoy your day,
coming from Councillor Fredette.
It's also a good morning
and happy birthday
going to out to Mikael Cromarty;
Happy 11th birthday,
my girl, have a fun day
from Auntie Cheryl.
It's also coming from
your little sister Julie.
- Hi, over there.
- Hi.
[indistinct chatter]
- I found out I was pretty good
at audio production, and that's
when I decided to come,
send in my application
for the radio station.
And I got in here through
a job opportunity program.
So, then I started
to do radio production
and that's how
it all came to here.
I like Norway House,
but I don't know, I just want
to, like, travel sometimes,
like, I want to experience the
rest of the world, pretty much.
I hope I can be successful
in what I do in the future.
- Plumber on call,
you're needed
at Patricia Crate's
and at Josephine Wesley's.
Plumber on call...
When I first came here,
I was in a training program,
it was for young mothers
and they helped me
to get the work...
work job placement
and to know my job skills.
I get to help the community,
if they need a number
or if they need to get
a hold of somebody,
then they call the radio
and they ask for help.
I love working here.
I can't let it go.
- Norway House Central Dispatch,
Laurie speaking, can I help you?
Emergency or...
Okay, what's your treaty number?
- The First Nations
Safety Officers
work out of this office
and the RCMP.
[woman speaking Cree]
This is the emergency dispatch
and it's the dispatcher's job
to discern
what actions need to be taken.
Whether they need RCMP
for this particular call,
or whether the Band Constables
can handle it themselves, or...
- Sometimes I have to translate
for the elderly people,
because not every elder
is fluent in English.
So, I stay on the phone
with the MTCC Dispatcher
and I translate for the elders.
That way, I can help
my people that way.
And this way, I can interpret
for the white people that
they don't understand
our Cree.
Dispatch has been around
for quite a while.
It's a camera crew
that's a new development.
It just came about,
about a year ago,
maybe two years ago.
We handle it together
as a team,
we work together
side by side
and we look out
for one another,
along with our Band Members.
- Twenty-four hours a day, we
have two people on at all times,
12-hour shifts, eight
o'clock until eight o'clock.
I think it's done
a world of good,
decreasing vandalism
and breaking and entering
on public buildings
and so forth.
- Go ahead.
10-4, copy.
I'm just here to try to help my
people the best way that I can.
I'll do anything to help
and protect my community
the best way that I know how.
[soft music]
[indistinct chatter]
- Over here?
- Right here.
Ready, guys?
Alright, pull it.
Push it!
Push it through here, look!
Alright, ready?
Okay, go!
One more!
Yeah, we'll go right along
the shore.
- I love Norway House.
We come out here...
I know my way around here,
bring out my son
when he gets a little bit older,
teach him what Gordie taught me.
How to hunt, how to fish
and all that, trap.
Since I was 8 or 9,
Gordie has been taking me out.
I respect him lots,
he's a good guy.
I'm always excited
when I come out here.
It's hard work,
but it's worth it.
- All the way down.
You can hold it over there.
Right there.
Just cut it down.
Yeah, that's good.
The other side.
Just cut it, just cut it.
That's alright.
You're learning. That's good.
No, just... See?
What you do, you put this here.
You put your knife right here
and then, you flatten out
all the bones
and you just cut like this.
And all the bones come out.
- When I was a teenager,
it was pretty crazy,
because everybody was trying
to be a gangster or whatever.
That's where...
that's where my generation
was stuck at.
They thought they were
from the ghetto or whatever.
So, I had to put up with that.
A lot of me and my friends
used to be...
be active members and be
involved in all that, but...
like since we had little ones,
we don't want to...
we don't want them
to go down that path.
It's probably because
most of us,
most of me and my friends,
we didn't have a father figure.
Like my dad, I never...
I met him a few times,
but that's it.
I never really lived with him,
like, because he was
a gang member too,
that's why...
that's the whole reason
why I wanted to do that,
'cause... just to get closer
to my dad.
I thought if I became a member,
he would, you know,
like, I'd be around him
more often.
But I joined the opposite gang
and so there was more tension
in between the two of us.
But like I'm out now though,
so it doesn't even matter
about my dad anymore.
It only matters about
my baby sister,
she's 6 years old
and my son, who's 7.
So, I'm trying to change now,
I'm trying to stick
around Gordie, I guess.
Gordie has a lot to offer.
Like I want to learn more
about my culture
and he seems like the guy
to go to about it.
[drumming and chanting]
That's why I come around Gordie,
to learn more about the drum,
and I'm already
in a drum group back home.
I was kind of worried about it
at first with my friends
and saying: Go look at this guy
screaming around like, you know,
but I don't even...
it didn't even matter
what they think anymore.
Well, like most of them want
to come sing too
but they're too scared
to overcome that fearness.
But I like singing,
like, I feel proud when I sit
at the drum with my friends,
because we all come from
the same background.
We all left that lifestyle
to do this,
and I'd like to think
we're getting good at it.
[soft music]
- Our commercial fishermen,
there's 52 members
in our co-op.
And I'm the president
of the co-op.
There was approximately
250 commercial fishermen,
that were fishing in the north
basin of Lake Winnipeg,
up until 1958, when the closure
of Lake Winnipeg happened
because of the mercury
mercury of the fish.
And later part of the 50s,
they moved into Playgreen Lake,
where we are right now.
Our co-op was established
in 1962,
and eventually we moved out
to Lake Winnipeg.
We have different ventures,
we own our own gas bar
and we serve the community
with the gas and diesel
and confection.
Also, we just recently had
a chicken franchise
called Charley Biggs',
that we just brought
into the community.
It's under the umbrella
of the fishermen's co-op.
And we have our lumber
business, we do lumber.
When I was two years old,
I lost my mom.
And when I was seven years old,
I lost my dad.
So, we were brought up
by our auntie.
Lucky that I had good people
that brought me up
and taught me,
didn't give me much,
but they taught me how
hard work pays off at the end.
And commercial fishing is the
best thing for me to get into
right away at an early age.
Getting my own licence
and start working.
In commercial fishing,
you got to be out there.
You got to be out there
and you got to work hard at it.
So that's the best thing
that ever happened to me.
- Every year, we commercial fish
in June and in September.
Right now, we are
harvesting Whitefish.
Natural Resources
monitor the quota.
So, we're only allowed to fill
our quota then...
then the fishing is done, eh?
- Yeah.
- Now throw your buoy line over.
The living is hard.
But for me,
it is worth it,
it's a livelihood.
It's the livelihood
of my grandfather.
Like I've seen them do this,
my father's done it
and my brother's doing it
and now, I'm training
my son to do it.
It's actually the livelihood
of our people.
[indistinct chatter]
I mean, you find something you
love doing, it's not work, eh?
- I enjoy the serene
environment here.
We come to fish and have lunch
or something
along the shore
here once in a while.
The rapid's called Sea Falls.
When you translate rapids
into Cree,
you say pawistik.
I was raised in Norway House.
I even remember when there was
no paved roads,
we just had trails
through the bush.
I went to school,
to Rossville School,
it only went up to Grade 8.
So, we had to go
to a residential school,
Portage La Prairie
residential school.
I lived there
and only came home for Christmas
break and the summer.
The first few months
were very lonely times for me,
because I missed my family
and I missed my siblings.
And I always worried
about them,
but it was nothing like
the stories
that other people talk about,
where they were constantly
abused and stuff.
We were very fortunate
to have Aboriginal workers
who really did love us
and take care of us
the best way they could.
But I had problems
in that school.
We went to school in town,
in Portage La Prairie.
I experienced a lot of racism,
racial comments.
I was picked on a lot.
I was subjected to verbal,
emotional, psychological
abuse there,
until I finally snapped
one time
and I defended myself.
I wasn't happy I did that,
but I did that.
But after that,
nobody bothered me.
Nobody bothered me
after that.
- Not for a minute did I think
that anything like that
existed, you know.
People to be so...
to be so mean.
There were some kids that
were constantly after you,
calling you names,
being called a squaw
and terms like that,
that I never even knew or heard
and didn't understand why.
Why these kids would, you know,
call us these names.
I moved into a private home
and we had very good caring...
...loving house parents.
Like, I'm grateful for that.
And she was there to listen.
You know, listen to us
and supported us.
You know...
And that's where I learned
to have to...
I guess...
perspective of the...
non-aboriginal society.
Like I encountered some...
some awful ones,
but I learned through
my house mother
that there were some
good ones as well.
- They boarded us
into an airplane,
a float plane.
And it was
very exciting at first,
until they closed
the airplane door.
And then we were all crying.
It was just the sound
of that door closing
and that airplane and it was
just nine girls just bawling.
Seeing my grandmother,
I had never seen tears coming
out of my grandmother's eyes
except for that day
when she finally let me go.
And we had no choice.
And she had no choice,
it was... we had to go.
We had a residence
that we all lived in
and worked in.
We had to do all our chores,
we had to clean the residence.
We went
to the local high school,
they had an instant dislike.
You never walked by yourself as
a woman, as a girl, young girl,
we never walked by ourselves,
because you never knew
what was going to happen.
It was always that fear,
we were always on guard.
As to, you know, when the next
trauma was going to hit.
So, and the same thing
in the classrooms.
We were still learning
out of textbooks
that they were teaching us
that we were savages.
I remember being taken to
the office, principal's office
many a time, because
I just refused
to sit in this classroom.
It was one of these ways
that we rebelled,
because we weren't the savages,
we felt that they were
the savages.
Nobody ever really believed us,
that was the worst thing.
You had nobody to turn to.
So it was just us, the kids.
- In 1971,
Helen Betty left to The Pas
and I left to
Portage La Prairie.
And when
she was walking home,
she got picked up
by these men.
That's when she got killed
at that time.
- Come on, eh, please!
Come on!
[men laughing]
Hey, where you going?
Go, go, go, go!
- Let me go!
[crying, screaming]
- That was...
That was very devastating
to hear.
Here we were in
Portage La Prairie
when we heard the news.
You know, we were so...
We wanted to come home.
We were so lonely,
we were so afraid.
You know,
what happened to her,
why did they do that to her?
She was such
a sweet, sweet girl.
She was so respectful.
She never did anything wrong.
Why did they do that
to her, you know?
And still today,
I question that, you know?
Every time
I went in a classroom,
I would always see her
read a book or write.
She was always doing her work
and she was very quiet,
a very polite girl.
The last time I seen her was...
She was ready to leave
to The Pas,
she was so excited, you know,
going to school,
and I knew she was going
to do good,
because seeing her
reading books and writing.
I know she was going to do well.
And she always did mention that:
"If I ever finished
my schooling,
I would become a teacher."
And I truly believe
if she was still alive today,
she would have been a teacher.
And it's an honour
that we named
the school after her.
And I remember clearly
the opening of the school,
the late Mrs. Osborne was there
with some of her sons
and daughters,
when they were cutting
the ribbon.
You know, she was so...
she was so proud.
Everybody was proud
at that time.
Helen Betty
and Felicia Solomon Osborne
and Claudette were all related.
In 1971, it was Helen Betty.
Thirty years later,
it was her granddaughter
Felicia Solomon Osborne,
when she went missing
in 2003 in Winnipeg.
Only two of her remains
were found,
her right thigh and her right
arm were found in Winnipeg.
And then a year later,
it was Claudette.
Claudette Osborne is still
considered missing.
And I know the family
are still searching for her.
And that's why I'm involved
in Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women.
We know how the family are
going through the pain,
not knowing where their children
are, their girls, you know.
[soft music]
- I wanted to come on this trip,
because I like coming out here
with my uncle.
And also 'cause
it was a canoe trip.
And I hadn't gone on a
canoe trip with him before.
Each time I come out here,
I'm meeting new people.
- My name is Darci Walker.
My dad told me
he was coming here.
And I wasn't going to come
I was having problems at home
and he came and get me.
It's a good way to get away
from all that.
Yeah, I'm happy I came.
- This is my first time coming
through the rivers
and stuff like that.
I like it, I enjoy it.
It's good.
- I just came on the canoe trip
because Gordie asked me to.
I lost my grandpa
a couple years back,
so growed up
without a Dad right now.
So Gordie came around.
He started being my dad.
So I come out
on these canoe trips.
- I learn something different
every time I come.
If it's about hunting
or fishing, anything.
I learn a lot.
I wasn't doing that good
in school in Cross Lake.
I was always missing
and I moved here, graduated,
went to college.
'Cause my dad never let me
sleep in.
- Yes, just leave it there
for now.
- He would have me working
hauling rocks
and being up outside,
stuff like that.
Learned a pretty good
work ethic
doing that.
- I like fishing, hunting.
And I don't go to school.
I dropped out.
I'm going to go back...
try to go finish school.
- What grade did you stop?
- Grade 7.
- Seven.
You have to go back.
- Yeah, I'm going to go back
when my dad comes home.
- Were you close to your dad?
- Yes.
[soft music]
- Our people, a long time ago,
when the York boats
were pulling through here.
The water was slow,
so they made these.
I guess what you call
man-made dams back then.
They put the rocks over...
the wood and then the rocks,
and so to flood the other side
of this island,
so that they could get by.
Yeah, the water would go
over to the other side
and it will raise the water.
So that way, they could track
their boats right around.
- And when would that have been?
- Oh, about a hundred years ago.
The York boat was the
transporter of goods, I guess,
in that trade.
They transported the goods
like the flour
for the Hudson Bay
all the way up to the North,
coming up to York Factory.
They were such strong men.
They would pack like...
a thousand pounds
was nothing to them. Yeah.
[boat whistling]
And so that's why we have
a celebration now.
We're commemorating that,
the York Boat Day Festival
which is held
every August, first week.
- Welcome everybody to
our Treaty and York Boat Day
It's a beautiful day today,
a little bit windy.
We have our teen York boat
coming in
on the pointer right now.
- Like every evening I guess,
they start practising
and it's good for them.
That's what we like to see.
Health and living, I guess.
There's a hundred boats
in the York boat races,
the finals.
A lot of people cheer them on.
Really nice to have
that good time.
- We used to have all wooden
York boats, you know.
It was pretty hard to operate
the same way,
because they're hand-built.
Some would leak.
The one who won would be the
one who got the newer boat.
So, we went modern, we made
York boats but out of aluminum.
There was fairness now.
There is physical activity
and promoting the principle
of teamwork,
and how you work as a team,
you run as a team,
you practise as a team
and it can be
very competitive that way.
- York Boat days, last year,
me and my team came first.
Yeah, it was a very big impact
on me and my family.
Most of my rowers were cousins.
Actually, we named it after
my cousins' late father,
because he was a rower
himself when he won.
It was very proud seeing my mom
smile and my cousin, my granny,
everybody was there.
All of us were very happy.
It's probably one of the best
things about the summer,
York boats, baseball;
I love my town.
[lively music]
[cheering and applause]
[lively music]
- I had this dream
just this winter
and in this dream,
all of a sudden,
I'm riding in this vehicle
with my mother, my late mom,
and then I look to the right
where the baseball field
is currently
and I see this nice beautiful
field, beautiful.
It's just the most beautiful
field I've ever seen,
and we stop the vehicle
and we get out and I'm in awe.
The next morning,
when I woke up, I thought:
Wow, why can't we have something
like this in our community?
You know, what would it take?
It became a community thing,
it took all our skill
and our talent
whether it's in construction,
all our plumbers, electricians,
everything come together
and we actually built something
within... under three months.
Happy times, happy times.
- Thank you!
[birds chirping, crow cawing]
- This is Keisha and Jeremiah,
they're going to take you
to your sleeping quarters,
just follow them that way.
- Everything stops
and we play host
for approximately 500 students
from across
Frontier School Division,
which is a huge school division.
- Check, one, two...
Check, check, check!
- We afford this opportunity
for students to come in
and be instructed by world-class
fiddle instructors,
incredible fiddle instructors.
But also, to meet their peers
from other communities
and to get to see who they are
and with that, where
they are with music.
[in Cree]
- I welcome you
to our community,
our beautiful community
of Norway House.
I welcome you to our
beautiful schools.
I recently had an opportunity
to have a discussion
with four other superintendents
from different school divisions
within the province
and we were talking about
some of the activities
that we have
as a whole school division
for our students,
collectively bringing
everybody together.
They said, "It must
be expensive." I said, "Yes,
but it's worth it,
because we bring
our kids together,
and we'll do anything
for our kids."
So, with that I hope that you
all have a great time here
and I hope you enjoy
the next few days
and I'm so looking forward
to the concerts.
Thank you very much,
have a good time.
- Ho! Ho! How are we doing,
Now, we're going to have
three parts to this tune.
The first part is going to be
what we normally play;
Doggy Down, Doggy Up,
Motorcycle, Motorcycle.
Part two is when
we're going to go...
[fiddle playing]
And part three is when we're
going to do the shuffle.
Right here.
[fiddle playing]
Now, we're going to have
a fourth part,
where we're going to do
bouncy bows.
[fiddle playing]
That's part four.
Okay, get finger number two
on the A string.
One, two, here we go.
[fiddles playing]
Part two!
Repeat part two!
Shuffle, part three.
Faster, part one!
Part two!
Shuffle, part three!
Part four! Bounce!
Part two!
Part one!
Holy macaroni,
that sounded wicked.
[indistinct chatter]
- I grew up with music
and I started in Grade 4.
It's been great, I had a lot
of experience, travelling,
playing with many
different people,
making new friends.
And that's what I liked
about it and it's fun.
You, why do you like music?
- Music for me probably is...
an art of expression
that shows the inside of you.
- I like music, because we get
to have jamborees
and get to meet
a lot of new friends.
- It's my favourite form of art
and my favourite form
of communication,
because music brings
people together,
like right now, jamboree.
- We got a beautiful school and
the equipment we have
is just beyond and it's just
amazing the talent we have.
You know, it's great and we can
just excel for the better
if we choose to,
a chance to shine,
or do whatever you want
with music.
- The approach that we try to
take is that this instrument,
this music is a, is almost
a coping mechanism
for... when those times where
you are possibly in despair
and you're not... you can't find
that consolation
or resolution with friends,
or with family
and I've often told my students
that what is up for offer,
I guess,
is to go to that instrument,
play that instrument
and it will help you cope,
it will see you through.
Two, three, go!
[fiddle playing continues]
- That sounds mean,
man, that's awesome.
Good. Thank you, Scott.
- Hey, how are we doing,
Welcome to the Thursday night
for the 2016
Music Jamboree.
We're going to have
the Level Ones,
they've been working
extremely hard all day
and actually, the tunes that
they're performing tonight
are tunes that they've been
working on all year.
So I think we're in
for quite the show.
[fiddles playing]
- Whoo!
- Thank you, have a great
evening, see you next year.
That's it, folks.
We have reached the end
of this year's
Frontier Fiddling Jamboree.
Thank you for coming out, folks.
Please make sure you have
a safe ride home
and have a lot of fun.
I know the students worked
really hard, Chris,
so thank you
for coming, folks.
[indistinct chatter]
- Gordon and I have been
together 22 years.
We decided to get married.
We just feel we were meant
to be together forever.
I love him and I know
he loves me.
And I don't mind telling
the whole world.
[soft music]
- I am happy.
I am happy,
I don't need anything else.
[soft music]
[A. Obomsawin]: Long ago,
before the strangers came to
this land,
you could hear the sound
of the river
coming from the mountain
in the West,
flowing all the way to the sea
towards the North.
For thousands of years,
the Cree and many other nations
came here
the migration of the animals.
They would stay for a while,
living in wigwams and teepees
by the side of the river
or the lake.
They survived on white fish,
sturgeon, otters,
martens and beavers.
They also hunted the buffalo
in the Prairies,
the caribou and moose
and other animals
in the forest.
There were big flat rocks
and spruce and pine trees
as high as 50 to 60 feet
with a circumference
of 4 to 5 feet.
The people were connected
to the spirit world.
Nature taught them
the language of the land.
They walked on the earth
in a sacred manner,
with reverence for the water
and took part
in many ceremonies.
The Sun Dance is an
ancient sacred ceremony
practised by several
Indigenous nations
of the Great Plains,
both in Canada and the U.S.
The ceremonies bring
the oral traditions
to the people,
concern for sacred things
and spiritual expression.
The Dakota Lakota,
the Arapaho,
the Blood,
the Plains Cree,
the Blackfoot,
Sioux, Pecan, Assiniboine
and other nations
managed to keep
this great tradition alive
in secret under terrible
oppression and punishment.
Curiously, in the late 1800s,
white people were welcome
to watch the ceremonies,
which were misunderstood
by the newcomers,
resulting in a good deal
of trouble and much hate
directed at the people who
were the owners of this country.
For the Plains Cree,
expression of the ceremony
was foremost
an offering of gratitude
to the Great Spirit
for the arrival of spring,
when everything
comes alive again,
after a long sleep of winter,
and also a remembering
of those who had gone
to the Spirit World.
The people of the Plains
had a special rapport
with horses
long before the arrival
of the Europeans.
A small horse or pony
was very much part
of their everyday lives.
They travelled with the help
of the pony and the travois
to carry their belongings
and their children.
At the end of the 19th century,
the nations were forced
to live on reservations by the
Canadian and U.S. government
who ordered the killing
of all the ponies
to stop the people from leaving
the reserved land.
In 1885,
the Sun Dance was outlawed
in Canada under the Indian Act
and soon after,
was banned in the U.S.
But that did not stop the
people from celebrating the sun.
They continued their sacred
rituals in secret,
but many of them were arrested.
Even elders were sentenced
to forced labour
and imprisoned for months.
After the United Nations adopted
the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights in 1948,
the Canadian government
was forced
to look at its treatment
of Indigenous Peoples.
As a result,
in 1951, Canada amended
its Indian Act,
so that it no longer banned
these rituals.
- If we're going to proclaim
who we are,
we have to have our ceremonies
and our language.
The two things that make up
a sovereign nation.
And people are slowly starting
to find that out,
because ceremonies
bring people together.
And that's the way we try to
get our young people now,
to get the word out there
that there's a better life,
that there's another life
than drugs and alcohol.
Try and find our way back,
I guess, of what was stolen
from us,
what was taken away from us.
[A. Obomsawin]: "The Sun Dance
can last as long as two, four,
eight days, even more.
The tree represents life.
It stands in the middle
of the sacred lodge.
Pieces of cloth in many colours
fly in the wind
to honour the Creator.
The Sun Dance includes prayers,
new names giving,
the piercing of flesh
as an act of endurance
and sacrifice -
an offering
to the Great Spirit -
distribution of gifts,
healing, fasting
and other rituals.
- My grandmother practised
some of these things
very secretively
when we were growing up.
And everybody practised
in their own way, secretively.
Everything was underground
in those days
and now, I'm sure she's looking
down upon us and, you know,
she didn't see it
in her lifetime,
but I am so happy
that I managed to see it
in my own lifetime,
and all of my children
are coming here next year
to attend the Sun Dance.
[A. Obomsawin]: The sacred
clown society
entertains the people
and make them laugh.
When the people leave,
they do so with a great feeling
of belonging,
healing and a heart
full of love.
[cheering, chanting]
[drums playing]
[soft music]
[in Cree]
They all aim for the sky.
[in Cree]
[soft music]
[in Cree]
[man]: Really, it's about
keeping people together,
keeping families together.
That's where true happiness
lies, right?