Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Finding Dawn...Finding Hope

I've just left the Farquhar Auditorium at the University of Victoria, after having viewed the largest screening to date of Christine Welsh's film, Finding Dawn. I can't remember how many times I cried. We were told that it would be a 'heavy' film, but Christine truly manages to tell a moving, indignant, powerful, and ultimately, hopeful story about the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.

It was hard to comment on when the film was over. My friends and I were almost rendered speechless. And at the same time, we cannot be. As indigenous communities, we've been silent about these matters for too long. HUNDREDS of missing and murdered indigenous women. Our sisters. Our mothers. Our aunties. Our daughters. Our cousins. Collectively, we must say, "Enough! No more!" Collectively, we must begin to act, to stop the violence, to restore balance, dignity, and honour to our families and communities.

I applaud Christine Welsh for her monumental achievement in creating this film, in finding the stories and allowing them to be told. So many times, we were brought to tears, as we met these women, their families, became aware of who they were. Christine not only humanizes these victims, she helps us remember our indigenous dignity. The stories are painful and heart-wrenching. I can hardly describe my own visceral, physical reaction.

But she does more than shed light on these issues, long kept silent. On her journey, she also finds hope. This hope reminds us of who we are, and our place in this world. This hope compels us not only to remember these women, but to act, to stop the violence, to uphold our sacred responsibilities. We haven't a moment to lose. We need to take inspiration from work like Christine's film and the stories of the women she shares, and restore, revitalize and rebuild our homes.

I'm looking forward to working with Chiinuuks, Muhwa, Ha'wiih'thlup, Hiish-miik, Seitcha, Wichaninnish, and all my brothers and sisters to Stop the Violence in Nuu-chah-nulth territory. The movement will not stop. It will continue this Spring, this time bringing the dual-message of awareness and hope, to the urban centres where more than 65% of our people live. If you get a chance, see the film, and get involved, and start a movement in your community.

Dignity and Hope.


At 9:05 AM, Blogger Lak'wa said...

Yo Nu'cha'uaht! I’m glad to hear that you’re continuing with Stop the Violence. Yesterday a law student and I were talking about the significance of of the shawls that were presented to young women along the way. And on Tuesday, my Women’s Studies students in Nanaimo talked about your presentation (in the context of the significance of grass-roots actions without government funding). The ripple effect of your work is so important. Violence against Indigenous women is a multi-faceted problem that behooves us to each do what we can to make it stop.

BTW, I’ve seen the film three times now and I’m still cryin’ . .. .

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Joanna said...

I came across your blog through researching a paper I am currently working on for a MA program in Peace and Conflict studies (in Ottawa). I just wanted to say that your blog enteries are extremely engaging, well-written and thought-provoking. I will be back to visit!

At 10:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am moved by your words, and am thankful to read them.

More men must see the film, especially from the First Nations, American Indians... all men really, and to see this with their hearts.

May our Creator bless you,
(Dawn Crey's younger sister)

At 5:22 PM, Blogger Na'cha'uaht said...

I appreciate the feedback and only feel honoured and humbled to be a small part of something all of us need to become more aware of and willing to act upon, that of restoring balance in our lives and communities and providing a safe environment for all of our people.

I knew many people in the film, and many of the issues hit really close to home as I imagine they do for a lot of us. Meeting the Crey family (through the film) I was reminded of an initiative I was involved with a couple years ago with a loosely affiliated group of people called, "The Nuu-chah-nulth War Council." We had organized a salmon barbeque and canned salmon give-away at Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, and Ernie donated 10 large spring salmon for the cause. It's important that we maintain and expand our networks of support and continue to work together on these matters of vital importance.


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