Film screening shows true story of hope, resiliency
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout and area residents gathered at the Sioux Lookout Public Library to watch a story of suffering, triumph, and hope during National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations on June 21.
Hosted by Equay-Wuk Women’s Group in partnership with the Sioux Lookout Public Library and the Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation, the screening featured the film The Grizzlies, which was released in January of this year.
“An inspiring true story based on a group of Inuit students in the small Arctic town of Kugluktuk. Suffering from widespread drug use, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and one of the highest teen suicide rates in the world, this northern community is periled by the legacy of colonialism. The students are naturally skeptical when Russ Sheppard, yet another ignorant and unprepared white rookie teacher, arrives from the South on a one-year teaching contract. With much to learn, but deeply shaken by the death of one of his students, Russ introduces his class to the sport of lacrosse in an effort to help lift the dangerous fog of trauma existing in his students,” Imdb.com described the film.
Equay-Wuk Women's Group executive director Darlene Angeconeb said that she wanted to share the inspirational story for National Indigenous Peoples Day.
“I thought it was a good idea to show this film… For Indigenous Peoples Day, it’s an inspirational story, and I’m hoping that people can walk away with something good in their hearts,” she said.
Residential school survivor Garnet Angeconeb agreed that the film was inspiring, but also displayed the reality of what’s still ongoing in Indigenous communities.
“I think it’s really good to use our medium to tell these stories that are very real in Indigenous communities, whether it’s Inuit, Metis, or First Nations. It’s a very hard hitting, and very powerful, presentation. At the same time, I think it gives a sense of hope,” he said.
“I thought it was presented very well. The seriousness of the topic, it was very well presented in a way that people could relate to it… This presentation tells a story in a way that needs to be heard in this country,” he added.
Darlene Angeconeb said that moving forward the Mayor’s Committee for Truth and Reconciliation wants to show more films, and host more events, that continue to share the real effects that are still ongoing from the Indian Residential Schools.
“We’re going to try and show more films, and maybe information nights, to talk about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, but also to talk about some of the things that are happening in the communities in order for people to gain an understanding that there’s isolation, there’s substance abuse, we saw in the film that there’s family violence, and how families are living. We hope that people can gain an understanding,” she said.