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Lansdowne Na’tsa’maht
Start date:
Monday, September 30, 2019 • 1:00 pm
End date:
Monday, September 30, 2019 • 2:30 pm

In the spirit of reconciliation, Eyēʔ Sqȃ’lewen - the Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections at Camosun, invites the college community to join together on Monday, September 30 for Orange Shirt Day activities at both campuses:

Lansdowne campus activities (1-2:30pm)

  • 1pm Welcome, Prayer & Children Singing - Na’tsa’maht
  • 1:15pm Keynote Address and Greetings - Na’tsa’maht

Keynote: Dr. Kathleen Absolon-King; Film – Stories of resilience, resistance, strength and hope; from disobedience & defiance

Dr. Kathy Absolon is Anishinaabe Kwe from Flying Post First Nation with a PhD in Adult and Community education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.  She has a strong background in community social work.  Kathy is an Associate Professor in the Indigenous Field of Study at Wilfrid Laurier University and Director of the Centre for Indigegogy.  She is a first generation survivor and grew up hearing her mothers’ stories of being at the St. Johns Anglican Chapleau Indian Residential School.  Her mother, Jennie Absolon will be accompanying her during the presentation.  Jennie attended this residential school.  Kathy’s creative energies are largely informed from the bush land of the Cambrian Shield where she grew up and by her love for her Anishinaabe cultural and traditions.  Kathy is also an Indigenous holistic social worker and believes in the resiliency and strength of Indigenous peoples.  The stories she wanted to tell through this film are the stories of strength and hope contained within many children, like her mother.  Kathy did not see herself as a film maker but more of a story teller and found film, art and photography a creative blend to tell her mothers’ stories through.  The films she does are documentary in nature with a strong story telling flare.

About the Film:

Kathy has been gathering stories from her mother, Jennie who spent 10 years at the Chapleau Indian Residential School.  This film is one of 2 films and is a result of an Indigenous research project over the span of 2 years.  It is an example of how Indigenous re-searchers are re-claiming knowledge and stories from their own worldview.  She captured stories of times when the children took care of each other, stole, lied and defied the rules of the matrons and authority figures.  They were stories where the children disobeyed and set their own agenda.  These stories reveal strategic intellects and sharp skills of the children to survive, cope and find moments of empowerment.  They are rich stories that help us understand how survivors made it through to tell their stories today. 

This particular film is 36 minutes and tells 7 defiantly empowering stories of resistance and resilience.  The stories are gathered from a survivor, who today is 87 years old.   It documents her as she shares stories of her experiences, her childhood resistance to oppression and her resilience becomes revealed.  These are the stories within the larger stories of cultural genocide.  These stories within stories illustrate the strength each child carries as means of survival and the hope they carried into their future.  Interwoven within the stories are sketches and archival photographs.  Jennie, the storyteller, is an example of resistance, reliance, strength and hope.  These stories inspire audiences to gather their stories while providing a perspective that recognizes the legacies of resilience, strength and hope our families passed on.

This work was of particular importance to students and researchers as it marries both traditional research methods of story-telling and gathering together with an opportunity to share and discuss the trauma of residential schools in a way that centers and celebrates the strength of survivors. Indigenous ways of gathering stories are modelled with an opportunity to focus on the strength and survivorship within their own communities and families is immeasurable.  This presentation also had a wider positive impact on our allies on campus and in community organizations, helping to make them more aware of the realities of residential school experiences, intergenerational trauma, and the ways that Indigenous research methodology can be incorporated within the academy.  It also is important for all peoples to see a perspective that lifts up the resistance and resilience of the children who were put in the Residential Schools.

Last updated: March 15, 2019 3:06 pm

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Victoria BC V8P 5J2
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