7.1/10
224
11 user 1 critic

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.

Director:

Bruce Pittman

Writer:

Keith Ross Leckie (original screenplay by)
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8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michelle St. John ... Komi / Amelia
Kim Bruisedhead Fox Kim Bruisedhead Fox ... Anataki
Marianne Jones Marianne Jones ... Komi's Mother
Gus Chief Moon Gus Chief Moon ... Ka-moos-ee
Clayton Julian Clayton Julian ... Pita / Abraham
Margaret Cozry Margaret Cozry ... Grandmother (as Margaret R. Cozry)
Marge Fox Marge Fox ... Anataki's Mother
Ron White ... Taggert
Ann-Marie MacDonald Ann-Marie MacDonald ... Kathleen
Sean Mulcahy Sean Mulcahy ... Priest
Sam Malkin Sam Malkin ... Mr. Crawford
Doris Petrie Doris Petrie ... Miss Weir
Chapelle Jaffe ... Miss Appleby
Tina Louise Bomberry Tina Louise Bomberry ... Assistant Supervisor #2 (as Tina Bomberry)
Barbara Wheeldon ... Matron
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Aired on television as part of "American Playhouse" in June of 1990. See more »

Quotes

Kathleen: And they've been brutalized! Now just how am I to get the trust and respect of those children when they think I'm about to beat them silly at any moment?
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User Reviews

 
Wonderful Astonishing Story
9 April 2005 | by richard.fuller1See all my reviews

As a non-Catholic and a non-continental Native, this story was completely new to me. The trauma these people endured under the guise of religion was tragic and in no way instilled Christianity, nor did it follow the rules of Christianity. Of course, we hear stories about white children enduring the same sort of mistreatment and abuse.

It has been so long since I have seen this movie (my brother recorded it way back then, but I haven't borrowed the tape to see it again) but I do recall it was all wonderfully filmed and how the children spoke friendly to one another, the only other ones they saw that they could relate to.

The movie sought to emphasize that not all Anglicans were horrible as the pilot who abducted the children quit after the discovery of the girl who ran away and we did at least have a teacher who realized there were problems when a soft knock came to the door one night.

By far, the most enchanting part of this movie was St. Marie's song and music. Definitely captured the culture.

Very thought provoking movie.

I don't recall if my brother recorded the program that came after it, about the adults now who were subjected to this cruelty. They sported t-shirts that read "I survived Catholic school" and so on.


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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 June 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Henkien tanssi See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »

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