A Northern Journey

A Northern Journey

An upcoming film on racism & prejudice in Northern Canada
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John Ahni Schertow
June 20, 2015
 

A Northern Journey is an upcoming film that opens up a dialogue on the rarely voiced topic of racial discrimination and prejudice in Canada.

We don’t like to talk about this; but the fact is, Indigenous Peoples face a regular routine of racism in Canada. It happens on the street, in convenience stores, at the local doctor’s office. We can hear on the radio an read it the local newspaper. We can find it in the textbooks that we give to our kids. The Indian Act is a form of legislated racism.

But there’s much to racism in Canada than meets our eyes and ears. It is part of a legacy of colonialism in which Indigenous Peoples must also contend with alarming rates of physical and sexual abuse, addiction, incarceration, poverty and homelessness. Generational trauma resulting from residential schools, forced sterilization programs and other acts of genocide is very real problem and one that is thoroughly misunderstood by many people across Canada.

A Northern Journey will attempt to start a conversation about this painful subject. By taking a look beneath the surface of a small northern Alberta community surrounded by Reserves, the film will shed light on harsh sentiment in the north while attempting to show the extent and beauty of Indigenous culture as it stands today.

As much as there is ignorance among non-Indigenous Canadians, there is also frustration in the continuation of divisions generated through the signing of treaties and the concept of reservations, where people trying to better themselves are still pulled down by family members through lateral violence and the threat of ‘becoming white’, or turning their back on their people.

A vast and complicated issue like this cannot be resolved through the course of a single documentary film. Nevertheless, A Northern Journey will give us a much-needed chance to talk and, perhaps, even come to terms with our neighbors.

The film is expected to be completed in 2016.

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