In 1937, a young First Nations (Canadian native) girl named Ashtecome is kidnapped along with several other children from a village as part of a deliberate Canadian policy to force First Nations children to abandon their culture in order to be assimilated into white Canadian/British society. She is taken to a boarding school where she is forced to adopt Western Euro-centric ways and learn English, often under brutal treatment. Only one sympathetic white teacher who is more and more repelled by this bigotry offers her any help from among the staff. That, with her force of will, Ashtecome (forced to take the name Amelia) is determined to hold on to her identity and that of her siblings, who were also abducted. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
I have seen this movie many times. It never gets easier to watch. Historically the attitude towards educating the "heathens" is very close to policy (read Maureen Lux "Medicine that Walks"). As for the portrayal of the students, the abuse was pretty tame. If they actually showed what happened at the worst schools it never would have made it to production and could be classified as a snuff film. I've met people who've been in residential schools and are now in their late 70s and early 80s, one old lady never hugged her children for fear she'd be passing on sexual abuse. For the amount of awful events there were still some teachers that tried to make a positive impact on the lives of their students like we see in the film. Overall I'd recommend it for people as a starting point for research in the area. In one of the previous comments I read about "looking for a handle to get out of a plane", however if you don't know what a plane is and have never been in one that would be irrelevant. Michelle St. John is a good actress. She was also good in "conspiracy of silence" which I also recommend.
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