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VICE Canada Reports

How Indigenous Youth Are Healing Together

Indigenous filmmakers from the Nu Media Program partnered with VICE Canada to document the importance of how an Indigenous sharing circle helps address the epidemic of racism, violence, and intolerance.

by VICE Staff
Dec 4 2018, 9:10pm

About the project

VICE Canada and Anishinaabe filmmaker Jordan Molaro of Nu Media Films began working together on this project back in 2017. Molaro is the founder of the Nu Media Program and his production company Nu Media Films, which he started in 2012. Once a year the Nu Media Program invites up to 25 young Indigenous youth—ranging in age from 18 to 30—to be part of the three-month program hosted in Winnipeg. When VICE Media attended as part of the guest speaker series, the class was asked to pitch various ideas that could be produced in collaboration with VICE and released on VICE platforms.

During the course of the three month program, verdicts were released in two high-profile cases involving the senseless deaths of young Indigenous people. Colten Boushie had been fatally shot in the head by Gerald Stanley on the farmer’s property outside Biggar, Saskatchewan—the all-white jury found Stanley not guilty. In the case of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River, Raymond Cormier was found not guilty after a three-week trial.

According to Molaro, the Nu-Media class of students decided to do something to promote healing and balance for Canada and their fellow Indigenous community. AJ Wastasecoot, a proud Two-Spirited filmmaker from Peguis First Nation pitch was selected to lead the project and the short documentary entered production in collaboration with Nu Media earlier this year.

Several Indigenous youth decided to organize a gathering and feast at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House in Winnipeg, Manitoba in order to create a dialogue and to nurture the spirit. A sharing circle is meant to have every participant’s voice and emotion heard but contained within a defined safe space surrounded by love, respect, courage, wisdom, honesty, humility, and truth. Due to the sensitivity of the commentary and in response to the case, these same Indigenous youth reached out to Coltan’s family and decided that a sharing circle needed to happen and to invite those from every nationality to begin the healing process for their community and Canada to move forward in a good way

The filmmakers spoke to participants before and after the sharing circle to hear their thoughts on what this process meant to them. In the doc, Cory Meeches from Long Plain First Nation describes the importance of healing, saying, “I’m glad we are having a sharing circle so we can release some of the pain, the pain is still there—it will be for a while.” Meanwhile, Sadie Phoenix-Lavoie from Sagkeeng First Nation says that the sharing circle will, “...encourage healing and resistance and figure out way we can support each other as youth.” Finally, Matthew Shorting, from Sagkeeng First Nation, described the experience by saying, “We are doing exactly what our ancestors did in regards to healing circles and coming together as a community… So my call to action to our non-Indigenous brothers and sisters would be to listen to the Indigenous. We have been talking for a very long time and we have very good solutions. Indigenous knowledge will save the world.”

More information on Nu Media here.

Tagged:
Indigenous
Canada
VICE REPORTS
First Nations
winnipeg
Manitoba
Long Plain First Nation Reserve
Tina Fontaine
Indigenous issues