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Lorenzo Society to host Fall Indigenous Film Festival

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Sep 16, 2022

Category: UNB Saint John

Leading up to the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, the Lorenzo Society at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Saint John campus is hosting the Fall Indigenous Film Festival.

“The Indigenous film series is a great way for each of us to challenge our thinking and to look forward to how we can affect positive change in both our own relationships with Indigenous people and communities,” says Todd Ross, Indigenous advisor on UNB’s Saint John campus. “It provides an opportunity to reflect on our collective responsibilities to live up to the spirit of the treaties and commitments as equal partners living side by side.”

The festival features the films Sitansisk, My Name is Wolastoq, Red Chef Revival, The Angry Inuk, Sisters and Brothers and We Were Children and runs from Sept. 27 – 29. Screenings take place at 7 p.m. in Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre. Each evening, following the films, facilitators will engage in conversation with people with lived experience and members of the UNB community and beyond. Organizers say this discussion provides a forum for participants to listen and learn while reflecting on what truth, reconciliation and justice mean to them. 

Tuesday, Sept. 27 

  • Sitansisk (2009) is a powerful, 21-minute documentary film that explores the Festival of Lights, an event in the Wolastok/Maliseet community of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation, New Brunswick). What started in the 1990s with a few individuals putting up Christmas lights on their houses has become a community event that represents a spirit of generosity, hope and a brighter future for their people and culture.
  • My Name is Wolastoq (2022) provides a candid and powerful window into the movement to preserve and celebrate Wolastoqui culture and identity, including the calls to formally reclaim the name of the Wolastoq (St. John) River. The screening of My Name is Wolastoq will follow the screening of Sitansisk.

Wednesday, Sept. 28 

  • In Red Chef Revival (2019), host Shane Chartrand explores the iconic North Pacific Cannery on Canada's West Coast. Shane cooks a traditional seal meat stew.
  • In her award-winning documentary, The Angry Inuk (2016), director Alethea Arnaquq-Baril joins a new tech-savvy generation of Inuit as they campaign to challenge long-established perceptions of seal hunting. Armed with social media and their sense of humour and justice, this group is bringing its voice into the conversation and presenting themselves to the world as a modern people in dire need of a sustainable economy. The Angry Inuk will follow the screening of Red Chef Revival.

Thursday, Sept. 29

  • Sisters and Brothers (2015) is a hard-hitting critique of Canada's colonial history. This short film draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison in the 1890s and the devastation inflicted on the Indigenous population by the residential school system.
  • In the feature film We Were Children (2012), the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit. We Were Children follows the screening of Sisters and Brothers. Note: This film contains disturbing content and is recommended for audiences 16 years and older.

All screenings are free and open to the public. Attendees are required to wear community face masks. To learn more about the films, please visit Indigenous Film Festival.

Media contact: Angie Deveau