You never really know what it will be about until you get there, or how intense it will be. I’ve experienced enough personal trauma, vicarious residential school trauma and generational trauma that I’m reticent to watch more films depicting those issues. But I went by faith feeling compelled by the spirit to attend a screening of Frontrunners. The poster said it was about runners from residential school who were abused by the Pan Am Games, sorry I forgot which year it was, 197?
I got there a bit late and it had already started. I had never been to the program room at Stanley Milner library so did not know what to expect. I was sure it would be full as my confirmation RSVP said to let them know if I wasn’t going to make it. The film itself briefly told the story about nine students who were chosen to run the Pan Am flame from Minneapolis to Winnipeg and their subsequent experience with it 20 years later. I’m not going to tell you the story; you have to buy the DVD (like I did to support the cause). What deeply impacted me was the fact that the truth was told. An apology was given and the Native boys were honored!!! That resonated deep in my spirit. I wept. Deep in my spirit I was moved that these Native boys were eventually brought forward and the truth was told. That is what God does sometimes. It took good people to force out the story. That was good news.
After the screening one of the runners was there to tell his story. He shared some of the trauma he experienced at residential school. It was raw. No other word for it. Raw and heart wrenching. Tears were shed. That was not good news. An invitation was given to those who felt they needed to smudge and people were available for emotional support. I joined the group outside which grew as passersby joined in also. In the end, it was miyawsin, good. It was good because Native and non-Native folks had shared experience and supported each other. It was awesome actually. As I write this I can see Reuben Quinn during the Q and A thanking the Caucasian folks for their support. Thanking them for attending. Miyawsin.
A comment that was planted deep was made by a Caucasian and echoed by others, ‘reconciliation has to come from us. The Indigenous people didn’t do anything wrong.’ That is of course correct. So Saturday afternoon turned out to be awesome.
Sunday I was again compelled by the spirit to attend another screening, (Dis) placed. Indigenous youth and the child welfare system. I know something about this and was again ambivalent. Plus I had to pay to see this one at the Metro Theatre. It was like a mini documentary about several youth who came through the system and some who are still in it. Apparently it can be purchased or screening info at kingcripproductions.com. Again, I’m not going to tell you the story. I didn’t know what to think about it. Having had such profound experiences the day before I didn’t feel I could give an objective opinion. So I asked the gal next to me. Turns out we recognize each other from a recent event. She is from the settler community. ‘What do you think about the film? I asked her.” Some of her comments that resonated were, ‘it pulls you in’, ‘you can hear their voice,’ ‘it brings you to the present, it’s not something that happened in the past’, ‘they’re still living it and are resilient’, ‘you can see the generational effects’, ‘still resilient’. Thanks Jaimie for sharing your thoughts with me. Powerful.
So Sunday was miyawsin as well. It’s good to step out in faith and be obedient to the spirit. I have lots to process and feel good about it. Some of the pieces are coming together. Hearing other people articulate it helps. I’m encouraged.