Transcript: What non-Indigenous Canadians need to know | Apr 19, 2019

Eddy faces the camera with a caption that reads "How can I help?"

Eddy is in his thirties, clean-shaven and with short wavy brown hair. He wears a printed shirt, a blue blazer and a tribal necklace.

He says BEFORE YOU ASK,
"HOW CAN I HELP,"
WHEN IT COMES TO
THE INDIGENOUS NARRATIVE,
YOU FIRST NEED TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT HAS HAPPENED.

The title of the show appears against Eddy playing the drum. It reads "First Things First."

(DRUMMING)

(SINGING IN
INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE)

A caption reads "Eddy Robinson. Keynote speaker. Indigenous educator."

Eddy says I'VE BEEN SPEAKING
FOR OVER 20 YEARS,
MOSTLY ABOUT INDIGENOUS
WAYS OF KNOWING.
SOME OF THE OBSTACLES I FACE
IS WHEN I PRESENT
THE INFORMATION,
PEOPLE GET OVERWHELMED.
THE RESPONSE IS TO GO TO
A SOLUTION-BASED POSITION.
THE BEST WAY TO HELP
IS JUST TO LISTEN,
JUST TO LISTEN.

Pictures of Eddy at different ages appear.

Eddy says I LEFT TORONTO AT 14 BECAUSE OF
A FIGHT WITH MY MOTHER,
A PHYSICAL...
I WAS RECEIVING THE PHYSICAL,
AND SO I LEFT,
AND I JUMPED ON A BUS
UP TO SAULT STE. MARIE
TO LOOK FOR MY FATHER.
HE TRIED TO HELP ME
AS MUCH AS HE COULD,
BUT IT WASN'T AS SUPPORTIVE
AS I NEEDED.
SO I ENDED UP ON THE STREETS,
SLEEPING IN STAIRWELLS.
I ENGAGED IN AN ALTERCATION
WHERE THEY SAID A RACIAL SLUR,
AND THEN I GOT CHARGED.
WHEN I GOT INCARCERATED,
MY FATHER SIGNED MY PROBATION...
MY COURT DOCUMENT SAYING
THAT HE DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE
ANYTHING TO DO WITH ME.
I ADDRESSED IT WITH HIM
WHEN I WAS IN MY MID-20'S.
AND I ASKED HIM
WHY HE'D LEFT WHEN I WAS YOUNG,
HE LEFT WHEN I WAS TWO.
AND HE SAID THAT HE THOUGHT
I WOULD BE BETTER OFF.
AND THEN I ASKED WHY
HE SIGNED THAT HE DIDN'T WANT
TO HAVE ANYTHING
TO DO WITH ME,
AND HE JUST SAID
I WAS TOO HARD TO HANDLE,
I WAS TOO HARD
TO MANAGE.
BACK THEN,
I REMEMBER BEING VERY ANGRY.
AT THE TIME, I THINK I JUST
WANTED HIM TO CARE,
INSTEAD OF JUST KIND OF LIKE,
WASHING HIS HANDS OF ME.
WHICH I UNDERSTAND,
LIKE, I MEAN,
HE WAS TAKEN TO RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOL AT A VERY YOUNG AGE,
THE CHAPLEAU
INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL,
AND SHINGWAUK.

A black and white picture of the school appears with the caption "Saint John's Indian Residential School Chapleau, Ontario, 1941.

A picture of another school appears with the caption "Shingwauk Residential School, Sault. Sainte Marie."

Eddy says THEY TOOK HIM,
I THINK, FROM 18 MONTHS OLD,
AND THEN THEY TIED HIM UP
IN A CHICKEN COOP.
AND THEN HE ALMOST
STARVED TO DEATH,
AND THEN AT
SEVEN YEARS OLD,
HE WAS TRYING TO SPEAK TO
HIS SISTER ACROSS THE CAFETERIA,
AND THEY PUT HIM IN A BOX
UNDERNEATH THE STAIRS
FOR THREE DAYS
WITHOUT FOOD OR WATER.
THOSE WERE THE ONLY TWO STORIES
THAT HE'LL DISCLOSE TO ME,
THE REST ARE TOO HURTFUL FOR HIM
TO EVEN TALK ABOUT.
SO UNDERSTANDING WHY
HE REMOVED HIMSELF
FROM MY LIFE,
IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE TO ME,
I DO FORGIVE HIM.
I WAS DOING MY COMMUNITY HOURS
AFTER BEING INCARCERATED AS
A YOUNG OFFENDER,
I HEARD THE DRUM,
AND I HEARD SINGING,
AND IT JUST KIND OF
GRABBED A HOLD OF ME.
AND SO I JUST KNEW THAT I WANTED
TO LEARN HOW TO DO THAT,
I WANTED TO LEARN
HOW TO SING LIKE THAT,
I WANTED TO LEARN
THOSE SONGS.

A picture of Eddy in full native attire appears.

He says THERE WAS A LIBRARY CLOSE-BY
THAT HAD THE LARGEST
INDIGENOUS SELECTION
IN ONTARIO,
WHICH I TOTALLY
LOST MYSELF IN.
SO MANY CULMINATING EVENTS
REALLY KIND OF PUT ME
ON A PATH OF LEARNING,
BUT ESSENTIALLY A PATH TO
CONNECT ME TO MY IDENTITY.
SO THE SONG THAT I SING FOR YOU
IS ACTUALLY A SONG I COMPOSED,
AND THE WORDS IN
THE SONG ARE...
(SPEAKING INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE)

Eddy says SO IT'S "THE SPIRIT OF THE EAGLE
IS RISING UP,
"PLEASE HELP THE PEOPLE,
PLEASE HELP THE HUMAN BEINGS."
I BELIEVE THAT MOST CANADIANS
HAVE ONLY MAYBE
5 TO 10 percent OF THE STORY,
THE IMPACTS ARE STILL OBVIOUS
AND OVERT WITHIN THE NATIONS
RIGHT ACROSS THIS COUNTRY.
SO I GUESS MY MESSAGE TO PEOPLE
THAT ARE JUST FIRST FINDING OUT
THE NARRATIVE IS
TO LET IT PROCESS.
TO ASK THEMSELVES
QUESTIONS OF,
WHY ARE THEY RESISTING?
WHY ARE THEY IN DISBELIEF?
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
READ A BOOK,
WATCH A DOCUMENTARY BY
AN INDIGENOUS FILMMAKER.
SO THAT'S THE PART I THINK
I HAVE TO RELATE TO THE PEOPLE
WITHIN CANADA
AND NORTH AMERICA,
IS THAT TO JUST DO
THEIR RESEARCH,
TO LOOK FURTHER INTO IT.
AND UNDERSTANDING WHY
IS SO POWERFUL.

Watch: What non-Indigenous Canadians need to know