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Where the Spirit Lives (1989)

A young Native Canadian (First Nations person) fights to keep her culture and identity when she is abducted to a residential school.


7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Komi / Amelia
Kim Bruisedhead Fox ...
Marianne Jones ...
Komi's Mother
Gus Chief Moon ...
Ka - moos - ee
Clayton Julian ...
Pita / Abraham
Margaret Cozry ...
Marge Fox ...
Anataki's Mother
Ann-Marie MacDonald ...
Sean Mulcahy ...
Sam Malkin ...
Mr. Crawford
Doris Petrie ...
Miss Weir
Miss Appleby
Tina Louise Bomberry ...
Asst. Supervisor #2 (as Tina Bomberry)
Barbara Wheeldon ...


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 <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A moving tribute to a young girl's courage and indomitable spirit...







Release Date:

6 June 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Henkien tanssi  »

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Did You Know?


The film had a special 25th anniversary showing at the 2013 Cinefest in Sudbury Ontario. See more »


Mrs. Barrington: What do you want to be when you grow up Amelia?
Komi: I would like to be a woman.
See more »

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User Reviews

A story that all Canadians should watch.
4 February 2006 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

A movie that all Canadians should see. The horror for Canada's aboriginal children living in Religious Residential Schools needs to be seen by all of our citizens. Seeing this film would be a first step in understanding the dysfunction in many aboriginal families that we often see and hear about today both off and on Canadian Native Land Reserves. Many aboriginal children were literally kidnapped from their reserves by powerful Indian Agents. This was terrifying for both the children and the families. An attempt of assimilation by the government and churches in Canada failed for the most part ruining so many lives. A very good casting and meaningful story make this a film worth watching.I would like to see this film become available to all schools in Canada.

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