True North (Review with Video)

“There are many Canadians that don’t know Aboriginal people,” says Landy Anderson, a child protection worker interviewed in this short documentary. As a result, misunderstandings abound. As we reported in June, the 2167 project seeks to correct the fact that “Often Indigenous people are seen as stuck in
the past,” as Jason Ryle of imagineNative says. Often, also, they’re seen as dwelling on rural reserves — or, if they do show up in a city, as drifting rootlessly through it. (Sadly, First Nations are over-represented among the homeless.)

True North takes a brief look at the reality of urban First Nations. Artist Elwood Jimmy speaks of moving as a child from a reserve to Regina’s North-Central district, with its large Aboriginal population. Though the residents were troubled by poverty and addiction, he says, there were many who wanted to make it a welcoming neighbourhood.

On how to make a better life for urban Aboriginals, nearly everyone interviewed comes back to cultural traditions and the importance of preserving them. More opportunities are also needed for youth, who often feel no one listens to them, even their own families (this goes hand-in-hand with addiction). There’s also the destructive legacy of residential schools — though, since this affects Aboriginals everywhere, maybe less time could’ve been spent on the subject.

Filmmaker Zinnia Naqvi created True North for the NS Photo Exchange project, in collaboration with Melania Liendo of Buenos Aires. (That explains the Spanish subtitles.) Ms. Naqvi’s film Seaview was recently screened at Breakthroughs Film Festival in Toronto.

True North from Zinnia Naqvi on Vimeo

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