Transcript: Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger | Jun 21, 2020

(film projector whirring)

Animated colourful squares create the ONF NFB logo.

A title reads "The National Film Board of Canada presents Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger. A film by Alanis Obomsawin."

An aerial view of a green village near a lake appears.

(eagle screech)
(soft music plays)

In off, Alanis says HERE WE ARE
IN KINOSAO SIPI,
NORWAY HOUSE, MANITOBA.
A CREE COMMUNITY OF 8000 PEOPLE.
LOCATED MORE THAN 800 KILOMETRES
NORTH OF WINNIPEG IN CANADA.

People in several canoes cross the lake.

She continues THIS IS WHERE
THE ANDERSON FAMILY LIVES.
WHEN VIRGINIA ANDERSON
WAS PREGNANT WITH JORDAN,
SHE HAD COMPLICATIONS
AND HAD TO BE FLOWN TO WINNIPEG
TO GIVE BIRTH.
THIS IS WHY JORDAN ENDED UP
SO FAR AWAY FROM HOME
IN THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
WHERE HE LIVED FOR SUCH
A LONG TIME.

Jordan, a little baby, touches a guitar.

In off, A Female Therapist says OH, THERE'S
THAT GUITAR JORDAN.
ISN'T THAT NICE?
OH, I THINK HE REALLY
LIKES THAT, MARCIE.
HE MUST GET THAT FROM HIS DAD.

Marcie says YEAH.
WE GOT ANOTHER
GUITAR PLAYER, HERE.

The Therapist says I THINK SO.

A caption reads "Ernest Anderson. Jordan's father." Ernest is in his late forties, clean-shaven with graying hair. He wears a cap and a black T-shirt under a basketball shirt.

Ernest says WELL, JORDAN COULDN'T
TALK,
HE NEVER SPOKE.
HE NEVER CRIED,
HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY TEARS
AND HE HAD CLEFT FEET.
THEY HAD TO FEED HIM THROUGH
HIS STOMACH.
SO MANY DIFFICULTIES.

The Therapist says SO WE'RE
PRACTICING WITH JORDAN.
SHAUNA IS TEACHING HIM
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE
TO STAND UP AND SIT DOWN.

Shauna says SIT UP, BUDDY.

The Therapist says SO HE'S GETTING THE PRACTICE.

Wearing a facial mask, Shauna says GET UP, PLEASE.
PUSH BACK, THERE YOU GO.

The Therapist says GOOD JOB HOLDING YOUR HEAD
UP, JORDAN.

Ernest says THEY EXPLAINED TO US
JORDAN WAS BORN
WITH A RARE SYNDROME,
THERE IS ONLY EIGHT CASES
KNOWN SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME.

A tube is connected to Jordan's throat.

The Therapist says THAT A BOY.
GOOD STANDING.

The caption changes to "Stephanie Wiens. Occupational Therapist. Children's Hospital. Winnipeg, Manitoba." Stephanie is in her early forties, with blond hair tied-up. She wears black-rimmed glasses and a blue shirt.

Stephanie says BECAUSE OF THE CONDITIONS
THAT JORDAN WAS BORN WITH,
HE... THERE WERE SOME THINGS
ABOUT HIM THAT WERE DIFFERENT
THAN OTHER KIDS.
A BIG ONE WAS THAT HIS FACE
WASN'T ABLE TO MOVE,
HIS FACE WAS LIKE PARALYZED
IN A WAY.
MOST OF THE TIME WITH BABIES
YOU GET A LOT OF REACTION
FROM THEM.
WITH JORDAN YOU JUST GOT A LOT
SUBTLER REACTION.

In a clip, the Therapist says THERE HE GOES,
LOOK AT THOSE ELBOWS,
LOOK AT THOSE ARMS.

Shauna says GOOD JOB!

The Therapist says GOOD JOB,
JORDAN, YOU DID IT.

Shauna says GOOD JOB!

The Therapist says HOORAY!

Shauna says NICE WORK.

The Therapist says YOU WORKED HARD,
JORDAN. GOOD FOR YOU.
GOOD FOR YOU, JORDAN.

Then, Stefanie says JORDAN WAS
VENTILATOR DEPENDENT
HIS WHOLE LIFE.
HE HAD A TRACHEOSTOMY
SO HE BREATHED THROUGH HIS...
THROUGH A HOLE IN HIS NECK
THAT WAS CONNECTED
TO THE EQUIPMENT.

A woman holding Jordan says WHERE'S MY NOSE?
DO YOU KNOW WHERE MY NOSE IS?

(children playing)

Stefanie says WHEN CHILDREN
ARE VENTILATOR DEPENDENT,
THEY'RE NOT ABLE
TO MAKE NOISE IN THE SAME WAY
BECAUSE THE AIR IS NO LONGER
GOING OVER THE VOCAL CHORDS.
SO YOU JUST HAVE TO BE ATTENTIVE
IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

The woman says THERE'S MY NOSE!
THERE'S MY NOSE!
WHERE'S JORDAN'S NOSE?
WHERE'S JORDAN'S NOSE?

The caption changes to "Cecilia Bellingham. Music Therapist." Cecilia is in her mid-forties, with short brown hair and bangs. She wears glasses, a black jacket and a green shirt.

Cecilia says I REMEMBER HIS DARK,
FULL HEAD OF HAIR.

In a clip, Cecilia plays the guitar and says SO I THINK WE WERE TRYING
TO ENCOURAGE HIM
TO DO, TO HELP LIFT HIS HEAD,
HAVE YOU SHOWED HIM
HOW TO DO THAT?

Back in the present, Cecilia says I REMEMBER HIM VERY
CLEARLY IN MY MIND.
I GOT TO WORK WITH HIM
FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION
THAT HE WAS HERE.
THERE WAS AN INSTRUMENT
HE USED TO LOVE TO STRUM.
IT'S GOT A LITTLE SILVER STRIP
AND ALL IT TAKES
IS TO GO BACK AND FORTH,
AND IT'S VERY TOUCH SENSITIVE.

In a clip, a woman says A LITTLE BIT MORE.

The Therapist says SEE HOW HARD
HE'S WORKING TO DO IT?

In off, a woman says HE'S TRYING!

The Therapist says GOOD JOB, JORDAN.

Jordan strums a guitar.

The woman says YEAH!
ALRIGHT!
(woman singing)
YOU'RE DOING IT, JORDAN.

Cecilia says HE LIKED TO SWEEP
HIS HAND BACK AND FORTH
AND IT WOULD MAKE IT SOUND
LIKE A PIANO, GOING UP AND DOWN
THE PIANO.
THEY'RE LEARNING. YOU KNOW,
THAT THEIR HAND
IS PLAYING THAT
SO THAT THEY CAN BE MORE
RESPONSIVE FROM THE SESSION.

In the clip, a young woman says GOOD JOB, BUDDY.

Cecilia sings.

Cecilia says WHAT'S NEAT
IS WE GET TO WORK WITHIN A TEAM,
SO I WOULD ALSO WORK
WITH THE PHYSIOTHERAPIST.
AND WHETHER SHE WOULD BE WORKING
ON HELPING SUPPORT HIM TO SIT
OR TO ROLL ON HIS SIDE,
I COULD BE DOING MUSIC ACROSS
FROM HIM TO JUST
KEEP HIM ENGAGED
AND TO TRY TO IMPROVE
THE QUALITY OF LIFE
THAT THEY'RE HAVING HERE.

In the clip, a woman says PEOPLE TOUCHING
YOUR FACE...
PUSHING ON HER CHIN,
GETTING TO OPEN THEIR MOUTHS.

Ernest says EACH OF THEM WORKED,
LIKE THESE THERAPISTS,
THERE WERE SO MANY.
I'M HAPPY TO SEE THAT.
I WAS VERY IMPRESSED.
I WATCHED THEM WORK
AND I LEARNED FROM
THEM TOO.
REALLY HELPFUL.
I'M THANKFUL FOR THEM.

In the clip, a woman holds him and says SHOULD WE DO ROCK-A-BYE?
She sings ROCK-A-BYE JORDAN
ON THE TREE TOP
WHEN THE WIND BLOWS
THAT CRADLE WILL ROCK
AND ROCK AND ROCK

Ernest says I WAS MORE OR LESS
RAISING UP MY CHILDREN HERE.
I LET MY LATE WIFE,
SHE WANTED TO LOOK AFTER HIM.

In the clip, a woman says HERE COMES VIRGINIA,
JORDAN'S MOM.

Ernest says SHE'D BE GONE
FOR MONTHS AT A TIME
AND SHE'D COME HOME FOR A WEEK
AND SHE'D GO BACK.

In the clip, a woman says AND THERE'S MARY JANE.

A man holds a little girl next to Jordan.

Ernest says THAT'S MORE OR LESS,
MORE OR LESS HOW IT HAPPENED.

In the clip, the Therapist says THERE'S GRANDMA
AND GRANDPA
TO MARY JANE.
MOM AND DAD TO JORDAN.

A kid says HEY, WHERE'S MY KISS?

Ernest says KISS FOR ME.

The Therapist says KISSING PEOPLE
IS LIKE ONE OF THOSE
THINGS ISN'T IT?

(baby babbling)

Ernest says I REMEMBER MY BABY
WAS TWO YEARS OLD,
MY LITTLE GIRL
WAS TWO YEARS OLD
WHEN JORDAN WAS BORN.
STILL IN PAMPERS.
SO I HAD TO POTTY-TRAIN
HER AND ALL THAT.
IT WAS HARD
BECAUSE THEY WANTED THEIR MOM.
MY TWO-YEAR OLD,
MY FOUR-YEAR OLD
AND MY SIX YEAR-OLD,
THEY WOULD CRY FOR THEIR MOM.
I CRIED WITH THEM.
He chuckles and continues I'M NOT ASHAMED TO SAY
THAT BECAUSE I REALLY DID
CRY WITH THEM.
ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT
WHEN THEY WANTED THEIR MOM
TO STAY.

The caption changes to "Madeline Gamblin. Family Enhancement Program. Kinosay Sipi Minisuwin Agency,Norway House, Manitoba." Madeline is in her mid-forties, with black hair tied-up. She wears glasses and a black and white floral shirt.

Madeline says THE DOCTORS HAD INFORMED US
THAT HE'D,
HE NEEDED TO BE NEAR...
A HOSPITAL AT ALL TIMES.
EVEN IF HE
GOT WELL ENOUGH TO MOVE
INTO A FOSTER HOME.
HE WOULD HAVE TO BE NEAR
THE HOSPITAL.
IN 2002 A MEDICAL FOSTER HOME
WAS LOCATED IN WINNIPEG
BUT CERTAIN THINGS NEEDED
TO BE DONE
IN THE HOME TO MAKE
IT WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE
AND TO LIFT JORDAN
IN AND OUT OF BED
TO THE BATHROOM, ETCETERA.
THAT FOSTER HOME WAS FOUND
BUT THE WRANGLING BETWEEN
THE PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL
DEPARTMENTS
BEGAN BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT
DECIDE
WHICH DEPARTMENT
WOULD PAY FOR WHAT.

The caption changes to "Trudy Lavalle. Executive Director. Ikwe (illegible) Women's Shelter, Winnipeg, Manitoba." Trudy is in her forties, with shoulder-length brown hair. She wears a purple sweater and a patterned shawl.

Trudy says IT WAS VERY DISHEARTENING
AND DISILLUSIONING THAT...
THE TWO LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT
COULD NOT...
COME TO AN AGREEMENT
AT THAT TABLE
OF A PAYMENT FOR JORDAN
SO HE COULD LEAVE THE HOSPITAL.
AND HE NEVER DID LEAVE
THE HOSPITAL.
HE HAD ACTUALLY GONE INTO A COMA
AND HE PASSED AWAY IN 2005.

In off, a woman says HI JORDAN.
ARE YOU LOOKING AT YOUR BOOK?

Jordan looks at a photo album.

Trudy says THE MEDICAL STAFF
WERE JUST SO WONDERFUL WITH HIM.
THEY HAD IT SET UP SO WARM
BUT THEY KNEW THAT JORDAN
DESERVED THE OPPORTUNITY
TO LIVE IN A HOME.

In a clip, the woman says WHO'S THAT?
WHO'S THERE?
IT'S CHRISTIAN!

Another woman says LOOK AT HOW JORDAN IS OPENING
HIS MOUTH FOR EVERYBODY.
YOU CAN OPEN YOUR MOUTH
REALLY WIDE.

Trudy says IF HE HAD BEEN
A PROVINCIAL CHILD,
SAME SITUATION, IF HE HAD BEEN
DEEMED A PROVINCIAL
RESPONSIBILITY
HERE IN MANITOBA,
HE WOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED,
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
AND THE ENTIRE PER DIEM
WOULD HAVE BEEN COVERED.
BUT IT WAS BECAUSE
OF HIS INDIAN STATUS,
FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY,
THAT HE NEVER HAD
THAT OPPORTUNITY.
I HAD RAISED THE ISSUE
WITH A COLLEAGUE OF MINE
IN OTTAWA, CINDY BLACKSTOCK.
AND THE PROFILE WAS RAISED
IN REGARD TO THIS INJUSTICE.

The caption changes to "Jean Crowder. Former NDP MP Nawaimo-Cowichan. B.C." Jean is in her fifties, with short brown hair and bangs. She wears glasses and a blue shirt.

In an office, Jean says CINDY MET WITH ME AND TALKED
ABOUT JORDAN RIVER ANDERSON.
AND ABOUT THE PLIGHT
OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN ACROSS
THIS COUNTRY.
AND WORKING WITH CINDY
WE DEVELOPED A MOTION
TO BE PRESENTED
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
SO CINDY WAS REALLY
MY FIRST POINT OF CONTACT.

The caption changes to "House of Commons. December 12 2007."

A Male Judge says THE QUESTION IS
THE FOLLOWING ONE.
MS. CROWDER, SECONDED
BY MS. WASYLYCIA
MOVED THAT IN THE OPINION
OF THE HOUSE
THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD
IMMEDIATELY ADOPT A CHILD-FIRST
PRINCIPLE
BASED ON JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
TO RESOLVE JURISDICTIONAL
DISPUTES INVOLVING THE CARE
OF FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN.

In off, a woman wearing a black gown says YEAS, POUR: DEUX CENT
SOIXANTE-DEUX,
TWO HUNDRED SIXTY-TWO,
NAYS, CONTRE: AUCUN, NONE.

The Judge says JE DÉCLARE
LA MOTION ADOPTÉE.

(applauding)

Jean says WE WERE PRETTY SURE
IT WAS GOING TO PASS
WITH EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE
BECAUSE WE'D DONE THE WORK
AHEAD OF TIME
MAKING SURE WE TOLD
PEOPLE WHAT IT WAS ABOUT
AND GIVING THEM BACKGROUND
INFORMATION.
BUT I THINK THE THING...
THAT WAS THE BIGGEST...
HAD THE BIGGEST IMPACT
ON ME WAS ALL OF THE CHILDREN.
FAMILIES BROUGHT THEIR CHILDREN
AND THEY WERE IN THE GALLERY
WHEN THE VOTE HAPPENED.
AND YOU HAVE THESE FAMILIES
WHOSE VOICES WERE NOT BEING
HEARD.
THEY SAW MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
VOTE YES.
THAT CHILDREN MATTERED, RIGHT?
AND FOR ME,
THAT WAS THE MOMENT.
KNOWING THAT FAMILIES
WERE SEEING THIS
AND HEARING THIS,
THAT THEIR KIDS WERE THERE.
IT WAS AMAZING.

In off, Alanis says JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
ESTABLISHED
THAT WHEN A CHILD IS IN NEED
THE FIRST GOVERNMENT AGENCY
THAT IS CONTACTED
MUST SERVE THE CHILD
AT THAT MOMENT.
IF LATER, A DIFFERENT
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT
IS FOUND TO BE RESPONSIBLE
FOR PROVIDING THE SERVICES,
THE COSTS ARE THEN SHIFTED.
HOWEVER, DESPITE
THE MOTION BEING PASSED,
INDIGENOUS CHILDREN WERE STILL
NOT ABLE TO ACCESS SERVICES
THROUGH JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
THE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS,
THE CHILD AND FAMILY CARING
SOCIETY
AND JORDAN'S COMMUNITY
CONTINUED TO FIGHT
FOR JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
TO BE FULLY IMPLEMENTED.

People march peacefully holding a white flag that reads "Jordan's Principle."

The caption changes to "May 2005. Eight years after Jordan's Principle was passes. Chief Ron Evans. Kinosad Sipi Norway House Cree Nation." Ron is in his late fifties, clean-shaven and bald. He wears a beige zip jacket and black trousers.

Ron says I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY CHANGES
EVER SINCE, SINCE
THE JORDAN PRINCIPLE
WAS INTRODUCED.
THERE'S BEEN NO
REAL MEANINGFUL CHANGES
FOR THE KIDS THAT NEED HELP.
THE HOSPITAL HELPS THOSE
THAT IT CAN HELP
WITH ITS LIMITED CAPACITY.
IT'S A VERY OLD BUILDING.
WITH THE NEW TECHNOLOGY
AND WITH THE NEW EQUIPMENT,
YOU NEED TO REWIRE IT
AND IT JUST DOESN'T HAVE
THE CAPABILITY TO DO THAT.
SO WE WOULD REQUIRE
NEW INFRASTRUCTURE
TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE
ALL THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES
THAT COME IN THE AREA
OF HEALTH CARE.
ALL OUR PEOPLE
FROM DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES
THAT HAD TO BE HOUSED
IN WINNIPEG
BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T GET
TO THE HEALTH CARE TREATMENT
IN THEIR COMMUNITY...
AS NICE AS WINNIPEG IS,
WITH ALL THE CONVENIENCES
AND EVERYTHING ELSE,
MOST OF OUR PEOPLE WOULD RATHER
BE AT HOME.
THEY'D RATHER DIE IN THEIR
HOME COMMUNITY
BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE
THEY'RE MOST HAPPY, RIGHT?
AND SO... UNDERSTANDING THAT,
SO WHAT WE TRY TO DO HERE
IS PROVIDE AS MUCH OPPORTUNITY
IN OUR COMMUNITY
AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL DELIVER
FOR US THE RESULTS
WE'RE LOOKING FOR,
WHICH IS MORE PROFESSIONALS
IN OUR COMMUNITY, HOMEGROWN.

Alanis says IT WAS THE SAME STORY
FOR ALL INDIGENOUS FAMILIES
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
NO ONE COULD ACCESS SERVICES
THROUGH JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.

The caption changes to "Montana, Alberta. Carolyn Buffalo." Carolyn is in her mid-forties, with brown hair. She wears a black sleeveless shirt, a necklace and blue jeans.

Carolyn says PUT YOUR HEAD UP.
LOOK UP.
THIS IS NOAH.
HE WAS BORN TEN WEEKS PREMATURE
WITH CEREBRAL PALSY.

Noah is in his teens and has short black hair. He sits in a wheelchair.

Carolyn continues HE WEIGHED FOUR AND A HALF
POUNDS.
HE WILL ALWAYS BE DEPENDENT
HIS WHOLE LIFE.
HE'S ALWAYS GOING
TO NEED SOMEBODY
TO LOOK AFTER HIM.
HE'S 16 NOW, SO HE'S..
HE'S PRETTY SPECIAL.
WE TRIED TO SEND HIM
TO THE SAME SCHOOL
THAT HIS OLDER BROTHER
AND SISTER WERE ATTENDING
BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY WE WANTED
ALL OF THE CHILDREN TO BE
ATTENDING SCHOOL TOGETHER.
WE WERE DENIED.
THE SCHOOL WOULDN'T TAKE HIM
BECAUSE
THEY NEEDED FUNDING
FROM THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.
THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA
PROVIDES,
AT THE TIME IT WAS
20,000 DOLLARS
TOWARDS; IT COULD BE
FOR A TEACHER AIDE
OR IT COULD BE FOR SPECIAL
COMPUTERS OR OTHER
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT
THAT SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN NEED
TO LEARN IN SCHOOL.
AND SO THEY CALL IT
PROGRAM UNIT FUNDING
OR PUF FUNDING.
WE WERE DENIED PUF FUNDING
BECAUSE WE LIVE ON A RESERVE.
THAT WAS THE ONLY REASON.
IF WE LIVED OFF RESERVE,
THEY WOULD HAVE COVERED IT
BUT BECAUSE WE LIVED
ON RESERVE IT WAS
A FLAT OUT NO.
SO MY CHILDREN COULDN'T
GO TO SCHOOL TOGETHER.
WHAT WE DID IS WE ENROLLED HIM
AT THE SCHOOL HERE IN MONTANA.
MY HUSBAND WAS A TEACHER
AND HE WORKED THERE,
SO I DON'T KNOW, COSTS,
WE BOUGHT OUR OWN VAN.
WE HAD IT RETROFITTED.
IT WAS MADE INTO
A HANDICAP VAN.
MY HUSBAND WOULD TAKE NOAH
TO SCHOOL WITH HIM EVERY DAY.
NOAH DID WELL IN SCHOOL.
HE LOVES SCHOOL.
RIGHT, DUDE?
YOU REALLY LIKE SCHOOL? SO...
HE DID REALLY WELL,
HE THRIVED THERE.
MADE LOTS OF FRIENDS.
BUT WHEN HE WAS IN GRADE FOUR,
WE DECIDED TO SEND HIM
TO THE NORWOOD SCHOOL
IN WETASKIWIN
BECAUSE THAT SCHOOL
HAD A REALLY EXCELLENT
PROGRAM FOR SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS.
THEY WERE HAPPY TO HAVE HIM,
AND HE DID REALLY WELL THERE.
HE JUST THRIVED.
HE WAS ACTUALLY IN A
LEADERSHIP ROLE.
HE WAS A CROSSING GUARD
AND HE ALSO WAS THE SAFETY REP
FOR HIS CLASS.

Pictures show Noah in his classes.

She continues SO WE ENROLLED HIM THERE.
THEN WE TRIED TO SIGN HIM UP
FOR BUSSING.
WE DIDN'T GET THAT.
THEY DIDN'T HAVE, UM... BUSSING THAT WAS
HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE.
SO WHAT WE HAD TO DO
WAS, IF WE WANTED OUR SON
TO ATTEND THERE,
WE HAD TO...
MAKE SOME DIFFICULT CHOICES.
MY HUSBAND HAD TO,
WELL, HE COULDN'T WORK
FOR 14 MONTHS.
HE DROVE NOAH TWO HOURS A DAY,
AND WE LIVED ON MY INCOME.
(birds singing)
I MEAN, WHO ELSE HAS TO MAKE
THOSE CHOICES, RIGHT?
THOSE WERE THE ONLY
ALTERNATIVES WE HAD.
BUT IT WAS WORTH IT
BECAUSE NOAH LOVED SCHOOL,
HE JUST LOVED THE SCHOOL THERE.
AND HE THRIVED AND HE DID
REALLY, REALLY WELL.

Noah paints near a tree with his father looking at him.

The caption changes to "Richard Jackson. Noah's father." Richard is in his early fifties, with short hair. He wears a cap, glasses and a dark T-shirt.

Richard says HE'S HAD ONE HORSE,
THIS OLD HORSE. DO YOU REMEMBER
YOUR HORSE'S NAME?

Noah says AMOS.

Richard says THAT'S RIGHT, AMOS.
BUT HE WAS SO OLD THERE WASN'T
MUCH LIFE LEFT IN THIS HORSE.
(LAUGHING)
AN OLD ROPING HORSE
JUST ABOUT BOMB-PROOF.
NORWOOD SCHOOL HAD THIS PROGRAM
FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
AND THE IDEA BEHIND
CHILDREN WITH CP
RIDING HORSES TO TRY
TO BUILD THEIR CORE.
THE ONLY THING WAS THAT
FUNKY-LOOKING HELMET
YOU HAD TO WEAR.
EVERYBODY HAD TO WEAR
THE HELMET.
BUT FOR MY LITTLE GUY
LIKE I SAID IT'S ALWAYS
TRYING TO DO SOMETHING FOR HIM.
I'VE MADE HAND DRUMS FOR HIM.
HE'S THE ONLY LITTLE GUY
WHO'S GONE TO SUN DANCES,
WHO'S GOT HIS OWN HAND DRUM.

Noah enjoys beating a drum by a tree.

Richard continues I MADE HIM ONE AND THERE'S
THIS OTHER DRUM HE LIKES TO USE
AS WELL.
HE PREFERS THE DEEPER TONE ONE
THAN THE ONE THAT I MADE
FOR HIM.
THAT'S FINE.
THAT ONE WAS HIS
LATE GRANDFATHER'S.
I RE-HIDED IT,
I USED BUFFALO HIDE.
AND THAT'S THE ONE HE LIKES
TO USE EVERY NOW AND THEN.
I SAID I WOULDN'T CRY BUT I TEAR
EVERY TIME I THINK ABOUT
HOW HARD IT'S GOING TO BE
FOR MY LITTLE GUY
WHEN HIS PARENTS ARE GONE.
SOONER OR LATER WE WILL GO,
IT'S ALWAYS SOMEBODY'S TURN
AND I WILL GO
BUT THAT'S FINE, I ACCEPT IT.
SO IN BETWEEN THEN AND NOW
I WORK AS HARD AS I CAN
TO PROVIDE WHAT I CAN.
WHAT I CAN.
I'VE HAD TO CASH IN MY PENSION
TWICE
TO BUY THINGS FOR HIM.
TO BUY A VEHICLE TO GET HIM
TO SCHOOL,

He wipes a tear and continues TO GET HIM TO DOCTOR'S
APPOINTMENTS.
TO TAKE HIM WHEREVER
HE NEEDS TO GO.
TODAY, I DON'T WORRY ABOUT THAT
ANYMORE.
I'VE STILL GOT MY PENSION.
I'VE GOT A FRESH PENSION GOING.
I HAVEN'T HAD TO CASH THIS ONE
IN YET, RIGHT?

Richard speaks Cree and chuckles.

The caption changes to "Norway House, Manitoba."

A black beard walks on a rock near a forest.

A woman wearing a green headband standing by a lake says IT SWAM ACROSS...

Diane says UH HUH.

The woman wearing a green headband continues AND IT CAME OUT OVER THERE
AND WE'RE HOPING HE'S GOING
TO COME BACK OUT.
HE'S RIGHT THERE ON THAT ROCK
OVER THERE.
(indistinct chattering)
THAT BEAR JUST CAME RIGHT THERE,
SEE, ON THAT ROCK THERE?
HE WAS LOOKING AT US.

A kid says A BLACK BEAR?

The woman wearing a green headband says YEAH, HE WAS QUITE BIG, EH?

The kid says WAS IT A BLACK BEAR?

Diane says YEAH, A BLACK BEAR.

The kid says A GRIZZLY ONE.

Diane says NO, NOT A GRIZZLY ONE.
GO, GO PLAY INSIDE.

(birds calling)

The caption changes to "Diane Painter. Child and Family Services. (illegible) Agency." Diane is in her early sixties, with shoulder-length wavy brown hair. She wears glasses and a gray shirt.

Diane says I WAS THERE
WHEN JORDAN WENT.
HE JUST WENT SO PEACEFULLY.
THESE MACHINES ARE GOING
OFF, BEEPS...
AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN
IT WAS QUIET. IT WENT SILENT.
IT WAS QUIET.
AND THEN THE DOCTOR
CAME OVER TO VIRGINIA
AND INFORMED THEM, YOU KNOW,
THAT JORDAN HAD PASSED, LIKE...
THERE WAS NOTHING MORE
THEY COULD DO.
SO...
I WAS WITH VIRGINIA,
I STAYED WITH HER AND, UM...
SHE, UM...
YOU KNOW, FOR THE VERY
FIRST TIME SHE WAS ABLE
TO HOLD HER SON
WITHOUT ANY TUBES,
WITHOUT ANYTHING.
SHE CRAWLED INTO BED WITH HIM
AND SHE WAS HUGGING HIM.
IT SEEMED LIKE HE WAS JUST
AT PEACE.
JUST LIKE A LITTLE ANGEL.
IT TOOK ITS TOLL ON THE FAMILY
WHICH IS SAD BECAUSE
IF THEY WERE HERE,
MAYBE THINGS WOULD HAVE
BEEN DIFFERENT.

(crow cawing)
(insects chirping)

Ernest says BUT AFTER THAT,
I COULDN'T TAKE THE PRESSURE
ESPECIALLY WHEN I SEEN
MY CHILDREN SUFFER
AND MY WIFE DIED.
WELL, SHE PASSED ON
ABOUT SIX MONTHS AFTER
JORDAN DIED.
I HAVE A HARD TIME
WITH IT.
THE LOSS, PAIN.
ESPECIALLY WITH YOUR CHILDREN,
THEY'RE HAVING A HARD TIME TOO,
AS YOU ARE.
IT'S HARD.

Virginia and Jordan's graves appear.

The caption changes to "Frances, Donna and Noah Ballantyne. Virginia's siblings."

In his fifties, Noah Ballantyne says THINGS DIDN'T WORK OUT
SO GOOD, YOU KNOW?
SO VIRGINIA HAD TO MOVE TO...
WINNIPEG TO LOOK AFTER HIM.
AND THAT'S WHEN THINGS
GOT WORSE.
YOU KNOW, LONELINESS
AND WHATEVER. SHE HAD TO...
WORRY ABOUT HER CHILDREN
BACK HERE
AND THEN SHE HAD TO GO BACK
AND LOOK AFTER THAT LITTLE ONE.
IT DIDN'T WORK OUT TOO GOOD.

Kids sit on the floor.

In off, a woman says SIT STILL,
THEY'RE TAKING PICTURES OF YOU!

The caption changes to "Nora Jean Olman. Ernest Anderson's cousin and Virginia's friend." Nora is in her late forties, with long black hair. She wears a black jacket, a patterned shirt and jeans.

Nora says WHEN SHE LEFT WINNIPEG
TO BE WITH HER SON, JORDAN,
IT WAS VERY HARD ON THE FAMILY,
ESPECIALLY THE CHILDREN.
AND LIKE I KNOW A LOT OF TIMES
THEY WERE...LONELY AND HELPLESS
AND I KNEW...
LIKE, SHE WAS TORN APART
TO LEAVE THE FAMILY.
A LOT OF TIMES SHE CRIED
BECAUSE SHE WANTED
TO BE WITH HER CHILDREN
AND SHE DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
JORDAN IN WINNIPEG BY HIMSELF.

A picture shows Virginia next to Jordan sleeping.

The caption changes to "Mike Muswagon. Norway House Band Councillor." Mike is in his early fifties, clean-shaven with short black hair and shaved sides. He wears round glasses and a black polo-shirt.

Mike says ERNEST DIDN'T JUST LOSE A SON,
HE LOST HIS FAMILY,
HE LOST EVERYTHING.
THAT'S THE PROBLEM HERE,
IS THE GOVERNMENT,
THE BUREAUCRACY, PEOPLE
DON'T WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTH.
THIS IS REALITY FOR US
HERE WITH OUR CHILDREN.
WE'RE HAVING ELECTIONS
THIS FALL.
I HAVE YET TO HEAR ONE
OF THE PARTIES COME UP
AND SAY...
"WE FULLY, WE'LL SUPPORT
OR IMPLEMENT
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE."
NO GOVERNMENT PARTY
IN THIS PROVINCE HAS DONE
THAT EXCEPT FOR ONE.

The caption changes to "Doctor Jon Gerrard. Liberal MLA, Manitoba."

In his early sixties, Jon says TRUDY AND I TALK ABOUT
THIS OFTEN
AND HAVE BEEN TALKING RECENTLY
WITH PEOPLE IN NORWAY HOUSE
ABOUT THE NEED TO CONTINUE
THIS FIGHT
BECAUSE IT'S VERY APPARENT THAT
WE ARE NOT THERE,
IN TERMS OF WHERE WE SHOULD BE.
WE DON'T YET HAVE A GUARANTEE
THAT IF THERE'S ANOTHER CHILD
LIKE JORDAN ANDERSON
WHO COMES ALONG,
THAT HE WOULDN'T BE...
TREATED DIFFERENTLY
AND HE WOULD BE...
MADE SURE THAT HE WOULD HAVE
A CHANCE TO GET HOME.

The caption changes to "Aimée Craft. Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa." Aimée is in her late thirties, with long straight brown hair and bangs. She wears a purple sweater.

Aimée says WE TALK ABOUT UNIVERSAL
HEALTH CARE IN CANADA.
WELL, WHY IS IT
THAT IT'S UNIVERSAL,
EXCEPT FOR INDIGENOUS KIDS?
AND THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE
WERE ADVOCATING FOR.
THEY WERE SAYING
IF IT'S UNIVERSAL,
IT HAS TO BE UNIVERSAL.
AND OUR TREATIES ACTUALLY
TALKED ABOUT
THIS RIGHT TO HEALTH CARE
AND THIS RELATIONSHIP
AND IF WE THINK ABOUT
THE HISTORY OF CANADA
AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CROWN,
IF THE CROWN IS CONTROLLING
THE PURSE STRINGS
ON HEALTH CARE,
FUNDING, AND SPENDING,
AND SERVICES,
THEN THAT TREATY OBLIGATION
TO HEALTH, TO THE ABILITY
TO BE WELL,
SHOULD BE RIGHT AT THE TOP
OF THE MINDS
OF EVERY CROWN OFFICIAL
IN GOVERNMENT.
THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN NO FIGHT.

(guitar music plays)

Alanis says LED BY
CINDY BLACKSTOCK
OF THE CHILD AND FAMILY
CARING SOCIETY,
THE CASE WAS BROUGHT BEFORE
THE HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL
FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
FOR INDIGENOUS CHILDREN
IN EDUCATION AND HEALTH
SERVICES
WHICH INCLUDED
THE FULL IMPLEMENTATION
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
ALL OTHER CHILDREN IN CANADA
WERE ABLE TO ACCESS
HEALTH SERVICES
TO THE PROVINCES
WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.
FOR INDIGENOUS FAMILIES
ON RESERVES,
THE ONLY WAY TO GAIN ACCESS
WAS BY GIVING UP THEIR CHILDREN
TO THE WELFARE SYSTEM.
THE CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT
FOUGHT TO PROTECT
ITS OWN IMAGE,
THROUGH APPEALS
THAT LASTED YEARS
AND THAT COST
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
FINALLY, IN JANUARY, 2016
THE HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL
FOUND
THAT INDIGENOUS CHILDREN
AND FAMILIES
WERE BEING DENIED EQUAL ACCESS
TO THE PROVISION
OF CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES.
IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE
THAT DESPITE THIS RULING,
INDIGENOUS FAMILIES WERE STILL
DENIED ACCESS
TO THESE SERVICES.
SO THE STRUGGLE CONTINUED.

(sirens wailing)

Cindy gives a speech after a march. She is in her fifties, with short dark hair. She wears glasses and a black shirt.

Cindy says YOU KNOW WHAT,
YOU ARE THE REASON WHY
WE DO ALL THIS, RIGHT?
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE IS SOMETHING
THAT WAS GIFTED TO ALL OF US
BY JORDAN RIVER ANDERSON
AND HIS FAMILY.
AND I AM SO HOPEFUL
THAT TOGETHER WITH ALL
OF OUR SUPPORT,
WITH FLOATS LIKE THESE,
WITH BEARS LIKE THOSE,
WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE
THAT NO FIRST NATIONS CHILD
IS TOLD "NO,"
OR, "YOU HAVE TO WAIT
FOR A SERVICE THAT'S AVAILABLE
TO ALL OTHER KIDS
IN THE COUNTRY."
BECAUSE OUR KIDS MATTER
AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO
TO COME TO THAT CONCLUSION
IS TAKE A LOOK AT THESE
BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN.
AND THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT
IN LINE BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE.

(applause, cheering)
The caption changes to "Cindy Blackstock. Executive Director First Nations' Child and Family Caring Society."

Cindy continues SO WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE
THAT OTHER FIRST NATIONS LEARN
FROM ALL OF YOU.
AND WITH THE LOVE IN YOUR HEART.
AND I JUST WANT TO SAY
WHAT A GREAT HONOUR IT IS
TO BE HERE.
THANK YOU FOR THE HONOUR SONG.
THANK YOU SO MUCH
VIRGINIA'S FAMILY FROM
PETER BALLANTYNE FIRST NATION
AND MOST OF ALL,
THE ANDERSON FAMILY.
WHAT YOU HAVE SACRIFICED.
NO ONE CAN EVER GIVE WORDS
TO,
BUT I AM SO GRATEFUL
FOR THE CHANGES
THAT YOUR SON'S LEGACY
HAS MADE IN THE LIVES
OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN
IN CANADA AND AROUND THE WORLD.
WE ARE ALL IN YOUR DEBT,
SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

(applause)

Talking with a microphone, Ernest says IT'S WORTH THE FIGHT,
AND IT'S A GOOD FIGHT
AND YOU'RE ALL IN IT.
WE DIDN'T CHOOSE IT.
BUT YET, IT HAPPENED.

He speaks Cree.

Subtitles read "This was the most devastating."

He continues I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK,
MY HEAD SPINNED.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE MY HEART WAS.
WHERE IS MY HEART?
I THINK I LOST MY HEART
FOR SOME TIME AGO.

The caption changes to "Jerleen Sullivan. Jordan's sister."

In her twenties, Jerleen says LIVING WITH SOMEBODY
WITH A DISABILITY IS VERY HARD.
IF YOU HAVE A RELATIVE
OR YOU KNOW SOMEBODY,
GO HELP THEM OUT.
IT'S NOT THAT HARD
TO OFFER YOUR HELP.
YOU KNOW, THOSE PEOPLE WILL FEEL
VERY HAPPY FOR IT.
I JUST WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE
THOSE PEOPLE,
LIKE THE PARENTS
OF THE KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS.
I KNOW THEY'RE HAVING
A HARD TIME.
MY PARENTS HAD A HARD TIME TOO.
SO JUST PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE THEM
AND RESPECT THEM,
AND, YOU KNOW,
SUPPORT THEM IN EVERY WAY THAT
YOU CAN. THANK YOU.

(applause)

Alanis says MONTHS PASSED
AND STILL THE GOVERNMENT
FAILED TO IMPLEMENT THE CHANGES
ORDERED BY THE TRIBUNAL.
IN APRIL, 2016,
THE TRIBUNAL FILED
A COMPLIANCE ORDER
AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.
FOLLOWED BY A SECOND
COMPLIANCE ORDER
IN SEPTEMBER, 2016.
IN MARCH, 2017,
FIFTEEN MONTHS AFTER
THE ORIGINAL DECISION
ALL PARTIES WERE BROUGHT BACK
TO THE TRIBUNAL
TO HEAR THE ISSUES
OF NON-COMPLIANCE.

Elmer sits in a tribunal.

The caption changes to "Elder Elmer Courchene." Elmer is in his late sixties, with long white hair tied-up. He wears a beige shirt under a black vest with colourful details and gray trousers.

Elmer says FIRST I THANK THE CREATOR
FOR ALLOWING US TO BE HERE TODAY
ON SOMETHING THAT'S VERY DEAR
TO ALL OF US,
AND THAT'S THE LIFE
OF OUR CHILDREN.
I WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS
AND I WAS THINKING ABOUT
ALL THE LITTLE THINGS
OUR CHILDREN DO
AND THEY REMIND US
OF HOW IMPORTANT LOVE IS.
AND THEY REMIND US
THAT THEY CAME TO THIS WORLD...
FREE.
THEY HAD FREEDOM.
AND THEY ALSO REMINDED US
THAT THEY HAD EQUAL DIGNITY.
SOME MORE LITTLE ONES COMING
INTO THIS WORLD.
WITH MISFORTUNES.
OR MISHAPS.
BUT DOES WE...
WE NEGLECT THEM?
DOES THAT MEAN
WE PUT THEM ASIDE?
WE HAVE TO QUESTION OURSELVES.
I DON'T CARE WHAT LEVEL OF
GOVERNMENT YOU ARE,
WE HAVE TO QUESTION OURSELVES.
HOW DO WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN?
OR DO WE LOVE OUR CHILDREN?
WHEN YOU LOOK AT A LITTLE ONE,
WHAT DO YOU SEE?
YOU GO THROUGH A STRESSFUL DAY,
YOU GO HOME,
PICK UP THAT CHILD
AND JUST HOLD THAT CHILD
AND THAT CHILD WILL TAKE AWAY
ALL THE STRESS THAT YOU HAVE.
IT WORKS.
POWERFUL.
DO JUSTICE,
LOVING JUSTICE,
CARING JUSTICE,
HONEST JUSTICE
AND THE RESPECTFUL JUSTICE
FOR OUR LITTLE ONES.
SIMPLE.

A man says PLEASE BE SEATED.

Standing, Cindy says SO GOOD MORNING,
PANEL MEMBERS.
AND GOOD MORNING TOO
TO THOSE WHO ARE HERE,
THE CHILDREN MOST ESPECIALLY.
IN MY HANDS I CARRY
THE BABY BLANKET
OF JORDAN RIVER ANDERSON.
A GIFT FROM THE ANDERSON FAMILY
IN HONOUR
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
I'VE SAID MANY TIMES
THAT I WAS SHOCKED
WE HAD TO FILE THIS CASE
TO BRING EQUITY FOR CHILDREN
AND I CANNOT EVEN FIND
A WORD IN MY VOCABULARY
TO TELL YOU HOW SHOCKED I AM
TO STAND HERE TODAY.
AND WHAT ABOUT FIFTEEN MONTHS
AND THE GOVERNMENT'S CALLS
TO PATIENCE?
THE WORD "PATIENCE."
IS REALLY BOUND UP
IN THIS BLANKET.
IT'S THE SAME IDEA
THEY USED
TO TALK ABOUT JORDAN'S SITUATION
WHEN THEY HAD REPEATED
CASE CONFERENCES
TO RESOLVE HIS DISPUTE.
AND PATIENCE MEANS TO SUFFER...
WITHOUT COMPLAINT.
FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN
HAVE BEEN SUFFERING
WITHOUT COMPLAINT
FOR THE TEN YEARS
SINCE THIS CASE HAS BEEN FILED
AND FOR THE FIFTEEN MONTHS
SINCE THE DECISION WAS MADE
PROVIDING A VERY CLEAR PLAN
FOR THE RESPONDENT
TO MOVE FORWARD.
AND IN MANY STATUTES,
WHEN A BABY IS REMOVED
BECAUSE OF THE LACK
OF PREVENTION SERVICES,
BY THE LAW, THE PROVINCIAL LAW
THE RESPONDENT REQUIRES
THESE SUPPLIES TO OUR KIDS
WE ONLY HAVE SIX MONTHS
TO REUNITE THAT CHILD
WITH THEIR FAMILY
BEFORE THEY BECOME
A PERMANENT WARDEN ADOPTED OUT.
SO THIS PATIENCE,
THE BURDEN OF IT
IS PLACED WITH THE CHILDREN,
THEIR SIBLINGS
AND THEIR FAMILIES.
IT MUST BE PROPERLY SHOULDERED
BY THE RESPONDENT.
I PRAY THIS IS THE LAST TIME
I HAVE TO STAND UP IN THIS ROOM.
NOT BECAUSE THE COMPANY
ISN'T GOOD
BUT BECAUSE EVERY TIME
THAT WE DO STAND HERE,
EVERY DAY THAT WE STAND HERE
ANOTHER CHILD LOSES
THEIR FAMILY,
LOSES THEIR CULTURE,
LOSES THEIR LANGUAGE.
AND IN FAR TOO MANY CASES,
LOSES THEIR LIFE.
I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION
AND I THANK YOU AGAIN
FOR DEDICATING THIS SPACE
TO LOVING AND CARING JUSTICE
FOR OUR CHILDREN.

A woman says THANK YOU.

Then, talking to the camera, Cindy says CHANGE IS NOT IN A DECISION.
CHANGE IS WHEN THEY IMPLEMENT IT
AND MAKE CHILDREN'S LIVES BETTER
AND THEIR FAMILY'S LIVES BETTER.
AND IT BECAME PRETTY CLEAR
TO ME VERY QUICKLY
THAT THEY WEREN'T GOING TO
COMPLY.
AND ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT BROUGHT IT INTO FOCUS
WAS THE BUDGET.
BUDGET 2016 WAS CREATED
IN THE FALL OF 2015.
THE GOVERNMENT WITNESSES,
UNDER SWORN TESTIMONY
CONFIRMED THAT THERE WERE
NO CHANGES MADE TO THAT BUDGET
AFTER THE TRIBUNAL RULED.
AND IN FACT,
MANY OF THE TOP OFFICIALS
IN THE GOVERNMENT
DIDN'T EVEN READ THE DECISION,
LET ALONE CHANGE THE BUDGET.
AND THEN WHEN THE COMPLIANCE
ORDERS WERE ISSUED,
STILL NO CHANGES IN THE BUDGET.

The caption changes to "Jonathan D. N. Tarlton. Counsel for the Attorney General of Canada." Jonathan is in his late forties. He wears a dark suit, white shirt and striped blue tie.

Back in the tribunal, Jonathan says I WILL MAKE IT ABUNDANTLY
CLEAR AT THIS POINT
IT IS OUR POSITION THAT CANADA
HAS COMPLIED
WITH THE TRIBUNAL'S ORDERS
WITH RESPECT TO IMMEDIATE RELIEF
AND AS SUCH, THE MOTIONS
THAT ARE REQUESTING
EITHER FINDINGS
OF NON-COMPLIANCE
OR THAT WE HAVE NOT FULLY
COMPLIED
OUGHT TO BE DISMISSED
TO THAT DEGREE.

Cindy says WHAT CANADA IS SAYING
IN THIS HEARING,
AFTER CANADA'S ROLE
IN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL,
WHICH HAS BEEN CALLED
CULTURAL GENOCIDE,
AFTER THE SIXTIES SCOOP,
THAT CANADA PLAYED A DIRECT ROLE
IN THE SEPARATION
OF THOUSANDS
OF FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN,
AND AFTER THREE ORDERS
SAYING CANADA NEEDS TO STOP
RACIALLY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST
THIS GENERATION OF KIDS
IN WAYS THAT SEPARATE THEM
FROM THEIR FAMILIES,
CANADA IS ARGUING
IN THESE PROCEEDINGS
THAT THE TRIBUNAL SHOULD
JUST TRUST IT WITH
FIRST NATIONS KIDS.

Jonathan continues IF YOU GIVE IT TO NAN...

Cindy says YOU DON'T NEED
TO RETAIN SUPERVISION OVER US.
AND IN FACT YOU HAVE NO
LEGAL AUTHORITY OVER US
BECAUSE WE'RE THE GOVERNMENT.
JUST LEAVE US ALONE.

The caption changes to "Julian Falconer. Counsel for Nishnawbe Aski Nation." Julian is in his early fifties, with receding graying hair. He wears a dark suit.

At the tribunal, Julian says WE HAVE PUT FORTH
AN AFFIDAVIT
SWORN JANUARY 27TH OF THIS YEAR
SO JUST TWO MONTHS AGO.
BY DR. KIRLEW.
DR. KIRLEW IS THE FAMILY
PHYSICIAN FOR WAPEKEKA
FIRST NATION.
TRAGICALLY, IN THE EARLY
DAYS OF JANUARY 2017
WAPEKEKA FIRST NATION LOST
TWO GIRLS WHO DIED BY SUICIDE.
ON JANUARY 8, 2017,
WAPEKEKA LOST TWELVE-YEAR-OLD
GIRL, JOLYNN WINTER.
TWO DAYS LATER
ON JANUARY 10TH, 2017,
WAPEKEKA LOST TWELVE-YEAR-OLD
GIRL, CHANTELLE FOX.
WAPEKEKA IS CURRENTLY
IN A STATE OF CRISIS
AND ON A HIGH ALERT
FOR OTHER YOUTHS
CONTEMPLATING SUICIDE.
PARAGRAPH FIVE,
I BELIEVE THAT THESE DEATHS
WERE PREVENTABLE.
IN JULY 2016,
WAPEKEKA HAD ACTUALLY FILED
A PROPOSAL WITH CANADA
TO TRY TO PROTECT
THEIR CHILDREN.

Close-up views of the documents mentioned appear.

He continues A PROPOSAL
THAT WASN'T RESPONDED TO
AND A PROPOSAL WE LATER LEARNED
IN CROSS-EXAMINATION
MET ALL THE CRITERIA
FOR JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE FUNDING.
IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN FUNDED
AND TO THIS DAY WE DON'T KNOW
WHY IT WASN'T.
WAPEKEKA CITES A REALITY
THAT THEY KNEW
OF A YOUTH SUICIDE PACT.
IN JANUARY OF THIS YEAR,
TWO YOUTH DIE
WITH THAT PROPOSAL BEING
ABSOLUTELY UNADDRESSED.

The caption changes to "Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. Nishnawbe Aski Nation." Alvin is in his fifties, clean-shaven with black hair. He wears glasses, a gray jacket and an open-necked white shirt with a big traditional necklace.

Alvin says I HEARD A SENIOR OFFICIAL
FROM HEALTH CANADA
SAY YESTERDAY
THAT WHEN THEY RECEIVED
THAT PROPOSAL FROM WAPEKEKA,
IT WAS A BAD TIME.
IT WAS AN AWKWARD TIME
FOR THEM...
TO EVEN CONSIDER
APPROVING THAT REQUEST.
I THINK THAT'S THE QUESTION
THAT OUR COMMUNITY
IS ASKING TODAY
IS WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT TIME?
WHEN IS IT THE RIGHT TIME FOR...
THIS GOVERNMENT TO ACT
AND SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITIES,
ESPECIALLY OUR YOUTH
AND OUR CHILDREN?

Julian says WE PERPETRATED THE OPPRESSION.
WE ARE THE BENEFICIARIES
OF COLONIALISM.
WE ARE THE RACISTS.
AND YET THESE THINGS
CONTINUE TO GO UNADDRESSED.
AND I SAY WITH RESPECT
THAT AS A MATTER
OF RECONCILIATION, THESE THINGS
HAVE TO BE IMPLEMENTED.

First Nation kids carefully listening to Julian.

He continues THE TIME HAS TO STOP
FOR US LISTING INVENTORIES
OF THINGS THAT HAVEN'T
BEEN DONE.
WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
IN THESE PROCEEDINGS,
TO ACTUALLY CREATE RESULTS.
SIXTEEN MONTHS IS TOO LONG.
THERE IS A RECORD BEFORE YOU
THAT INAC AND HEALTH CANADA
ARE EITHER NOT WILLING TO CHANGE
OR ARE INCAPABLE OF CHANGE.
YOU CAN CREATE AN APPARATUS
SO LARGE,
SO ROOTED IN THE INDIAN ACT,
THAT BY ITS VERY DEFINITION,
IT IS A TOOL OF OPPRESSION.
I FEAR THAT DESPITE
THE BEST INTENTIONS
OF SOME OFFICIALS,
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED.
IT NEEDS AN OUTSIDER.
IT NEEDS YOU, IT NEEDS OTHERS
TO ORDER THEM TO DO THINGS
BECAUSE THEY CAN'T
DO IT THEMSELVES.
THEY ARE UNABLE TO DO IT.
THEIR OWN APPARATUS
HAS HANDCUFFED
AND PARALYZED THEM.

(piano music plays)
(birds calling)

Alanis says MORE TIME PASSED
AND CAROLYN CONTINUED
TO BATTLE THE BUREAUCRACY.

Carolyn says BY THIS TIME,
THEY HAD MONEY SET ASIDE
FOR JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE CASES.
WE'RE STILL FIGHTING OUR CASE.
WE WEREN'T GETTING SERVICES
AND YET THEY HAD THIS MONEY
SET ASIDE.
WELL, WHERE WAS THAT
MONEY GOING?
WHAT WERE THEY DOING WITH IT?
THEY ACTUALLY HAD A STORY
WHERE THEY WERE ASKING PEOPLE,
THEY HAD SET UP A FACEBOOK PAGE
WHERE THEY WERE ASKING PEOPLE
TO CONTACT THEM THROUGH FACEBOOK
IF THEY HAD
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE CASES.
I COULDN'T
BELIEVE IT.
I THOUGHT, SERIOUSLY?!
YOU KNOW, OUR REQUESTS
GO TO HEALTH CANADA,
THEY GO TO FNIHB,
IT'S OUR DOCTORS
AND OUR THERAPISTS
AND OUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
THAT ARE MAKING THESE REQUESTS.
THEY'RE STILL SAYING NO,
BUT THEY HAVE THIS MONEY
SET ASIDE.
IT WAS JUST UNCONSCIONABLE.
I HAD NO CHOICE.
I SUBMITTED MY OWN COMPLAINT
TO THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION.
I MADE A SUBMISSION,
THEY WOULD RESPOND
ON MY SUBMISSION.
I WOULD RESPOND TO THEIR
RESPONSE. THEY WOULD RESPOND
TO MY RESPONSE,
AND THROUGH THAT WHOLE PROCESS
THE COMMISSION, UM...
INVESTIGATOR...
STARTED TO BELIEVE
WHAT THE OFFICIALS
FORM INDIAN AFFAIRS WERE SAYING
IN THEIR SUBMISSIONS.
EVENTUALLY,
THE COMMISSION INVESTIGATOR
MADE A REPORT TO THE COMMISSION
SAYING
"WE RECOMMEND THAT THIS
COMPLAINT BE DISMISSED."
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
LAWYERS WERE HAPPY,
THEY SAID, "YES, WE AGREE,
THIS COMPLAINT
SHOULD BE DISMISSED."
UM...
I WAS REALLY UPSET
SO I CONTACTED CINDY BLACKSTOCK
AND SHE SAID, "CAN I FORWARD
THIS TO OUR LAWYERS?"
AND SO, ANNE LEVESQUE,
ONE OF THE LEAD COUNSEL
FOR THE CHILD AND FAMILY
CARING SOCIETY
CALLED ME AND SHE SAID,
"I'VE NEVER SEEN
A RECOMMENDATION SO HOSTILE
TO THE COMPLAINANT."
AND SHE OFFERED TO...
TO ACT FOR US PRO-BONO.
AND THEN THINGS STARTED
TO CHANGE FROM THERE,
FINALLY THINGS CHANGED.
I... ..WAS REALLY GRATEFUL THAT
WE HAD SOMEBODY TO HELP US.
ANNE LEVESQUE AND DAVID TAYLOR
DID SUCH AN EXCELLENT JOB
AND THAT'S WHAT REALLY MADE
THE DIFFERENCE.
WE FINALLY REACHED RESOLUTION.

A web article reads "Indigenous mother's 11-year old battle for disabled son's transportation to be settled."

She continues AND NOAH WILL BE GOING
INTO GRADE 11 THIS FALL.
WE HAVE A NEW EDUCATION
AUTHORITY ESTABLISHED HERE
AND THEY HAVE PROVISIONS
FOR SPECIAL NEEDS
TRANSPORTATION.
I MEAN, IF I WEREN'T A LAWYER
AND POLITICIAN,
AND MY HUSBAND - WHO WAS
A HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
AT ONE TIME...
BETWEEN THE TWO OF US,
AND ALSO WITH THE SUPPORT
OF OUR FAMILIES,
YOU KNOW WE HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO ADVOCATE FOR NOAH,
BUT...
JUST THINK OF ALL THE FAMILIES
WHO ARE NOT IN THAT POSITION.
IT'S HEARTBREAKING
KNOWING THAT THEY'RE OUT THERE.
THAT THERE ARE CHILDREN
WHO HAVE BEEN PUT IN CARE,
OR FAMILIES HAD
TO MOVE OFF RESERVE
JUST SO THEIR CHILDREN
COULD GET ACCESS TO SERVICES.

Richard says SHORTLY AFTER HE WAS BORN,
ONE OF THE SOCIAL WORKERS
ASKED US TO GIVE HIM UP,
AND PUT HIM IN CARE.
I WAS VULGAR, I SWORE AT THEM,
I SAID "EFF YOU!"
AND THAT'S THE POLITE VERSION.
THAT'S MY SON, HE'S MY SON.
IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY,
I'M GOING TO LOOK AFTER MY SON
AS BEST AS I CAN
FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE,
BECAUSE HE'S MY SON!
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT
AWAY FROM ME. YOU'RE NOT GONNA
TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM.
SO... HE'S BEEN WITH US
AND HE WAS NOT GOING
TO GO ANYWHERE
OTHER THAN BE WITH US.
WHAT DO YOU THINK, HUH?
(NOAH MUMBLING)
YOU THINK SO?
YEAH, I THINK SO.

The caption changes to "May 2018."

A cocktail takes places in a luxury castle. Teddy bears sit around a cake and cupcakes on a table.

The caption changes to "Senator Daniel Christmas and daughter Gail." Daniel is in his mid-sixties, clean-shaven with dark hair. He wears glasses, a black suit, white shirt, striped tie and a pin.

Daniel sits next to Gail in a hall. He is holding a book. She is around 10 years old.

Daniel reads I WAS BORN
IN THE HUCKLEBERRY PATCHES
IN CARRIER SEKANI TERRITORY
NEAR PRINCE GEORGE,
BRITISH COLUMBIA.
IT'S MY NINTH BIRTHDAY,
CINDY AND I ARE CELEBRATING
WITH OTHER CHILDREN AND GROWNUPS
WHO BRING THEIR BEARS
TO DAYCARE, SCHOOL AND WORK
TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT
JORDAN' PRINCIPLE.
SEE EVERYBODY BRINGING
THEIR BEARS?

Gail says MM-HMM.
I DID THAT ONCE.

Daniel says YOU BROUGHT YOUR TEDDY BEAR?
YOU BROUGHT BINKO?

Gail nods.

He reads I BELIEVE THAT CHILDREN
CAN CHANGE THE WORLD
BECAUSE I SAW IT HAPPEN
AT THE TRIBUNAL.
KIDS JUST LIKE YOU
MADE A DIFFERENCE
AND HOW BEARS LIKE ME
AND OTHER ANIMALS TOO
HELPED ALONG THE WAY.
LET'S JOIN HANDS, AND PAWS,
AND HOOFS,
AND KEEP WORKING TOGETHER
UNTIL EVERY FIRST NATIONS CHILD
IS TREATED FAIRLY. REMEMBER...

They read EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

Gail reads OUR DREAMS MATTER TOO.

Daniel says AND YOU MATTER, TINY GIRL.
THAT'S WHAT SPIRIT BEAR DID.
HE MADE SURE THAT EVERY
CHILD MATTERS.

Alanis says AFTER ALL THIS TIME
WITHOUT HELP, MONEY
OR RESPECT
FOR JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE,
CHANGE HAS COME WITHIN
THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF.
OUR CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
ARE NOW FINALLY RECEIVING
SERVICES LIKE NEVER BEFORE.
AS OF MAY, 2017,
MANY GOOD PEOPLE, INDIGENOUS
AND NON-INDIGENOUS ALIKE
ARE NOW WORKING TOGETHER
WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT
TO IMPLEMENT THE CHANGES
THE TRIBUNAL ORDERED.
ONE CAN FEEL THE DEDICATION
OF ALL
IN MAKING SURE OUR CHILDREN
CAN HAVE A FUTURE
AND THE BENEFIT
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.

The caption changes to "Sophie Marchloon. (iilegible) Tribunal." Sophie is in her late thirties, with wavy blond hair. She wears a black jacket.

Chairing a tribunal, Sophie says WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT
THE HISTORY,
I'M CURIOUS TO FIND OUT
WHAT IS TOLD TO THE EMPLOYEES?

The caption changes to "Doctor Valerie Gideon. Assistant Deputy Minister of the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch Department of Indigenous Services Canada." Valerie is in her early forties, with black hair tied-up. She wears a black blazer over a red shirt.

Valerie says WE WOULD SAY THAT
THAT WAS BASED
ON A DISCRIMINATORY...APPROACH
AND NOT ONE THAT THE GOVERNMENT
IS CURRENTLY COMMITTED
TO IMPLEMENTING.
THE TRIBUNAL HAD INDICATED
THAT THAT WAS NOT THE DEFINITION
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
THAT WE SHOULD BE UTILIZING,
AND SO WE'VE ACTUALLY RECEIVED
AN AMENDED POLICY AUTHORITY
UNDER THE CHILD FIRST INITIATIVE
TO REFLECT THE MAY, 2017
ORDERS OF THE TRIBUNAL.

The caption changes to "David Taylor. Counsel for First Nations Child and Family Caring Society."

In his late thirties with a gray suit, David says THERE IS A TALK OF MAYBE
THE NUMBER OF REQUESTS
PLATEAUING AT SOME POINT
BUT IT SEEMS TO ME
IN LOOKING AT THESE DOCUMENTS
THAT THERE IS NO SENSE
OF SLOWING DOWN.

Valerie says I CERTAINLY DON'T SEE
THAT HAPPENING.
WE HAD...
JUST IN TERMS OF OUR SPENDING,
IF YOU LOOK AT OUR SPENDING
OF 135 MILLION
IN '17-'18,
I CAN TELL YOU THAT
AS OF LAST WEEK
WE WERE AT 307 MILLION
JUST FOR THIS FISCAL YEAR.
WE'RE FORECASTING AT LEAST
SPENDING AROUND 612 MILLION
THIS FISCAL YEAR.

David says AND THERE'S NO SIGNS
OF ANY SLOWING DOWN
IN YOUR VIEW OF THE NEEDS?

Valerie says NOT IN MY VIEW, NO.

She chuckles.

David says AND THE NEEDS THAT ARE BEING
FUNDED RIGHT NOW,
THOSE ARE NEEDS THAT WERE UNMET
PRIOR TO THIS...

Valerie says ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY.

David says OKAY, THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Doctor Jane Philpot. Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, 2017-2019." Jane is in her late forties, with short brown hair. She wears glasses, a light pink blazer and a black shirt.

Jane says I DON'T KNOW WHETHER
CANADIANS ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND
THE EXTENT TO WHICH INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE'S IN THIS COUNTRY
HAVE FACED DISCRIMINATION
IN THE PAST,
AND THE DEEP SCAR
THAT THAT HAS PLACED
ON OUR COUNTRY.
THE SCARS ASSOCIATED
WITH COLONIALISM,
DOMINATION, THE FORCED
ASSIMILATION
OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE'S.
IT'S SO IMPORTANT
TO ALL CANADIANS
THAT WE REVERSE THAT PAST
AND MOVE AHEAD
WITH RECONCILIATION,
MOVE AHEAD
WITH AFFIRMING RIGHTS,
MOVE AHEAD WITH JUSTICE
AND MAKING SURE THAT EVERY CHILD
IN THIS COUNTRY
HAS ACCESS TO OUTSTANDING
QUALITY HEALTH CARE.
AND PARTICULARLY IN THE CASE
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE,
YOU SHOULD NOT BE
DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE
YOU'RE A FIRST NATIONS CHILD.

Now, giving a speech, Jane says WHEN OUR GOVERNMENT
CAME INTO OFFICE
SOME OF YOU MAY KNOW
THAT THE NUMBER OF CASES
OF WHICH CHILDREN
WERE APPROVED FOR TREATMENT
ON THE BASIS
OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE WAS ZERO.
AND NOW I'M VERY PROUD TO SAY
THAT THERE HAVE BEEN OVER
77,000 REQUESTS FOR CARE
AND 77,000 OF THE CASES
HAVE BEEN APPROVED.
SO MERCI BEAUCOUP,
MEEGWETCH.

(applause)

Jane says GAIL, I THINK
SPIRIT BEAR NEEDS A LITTLE HELP
BLOWING OUT CANDLES,
CAN YOU HELP HIM?
YOU CAN? HE WOULD LOVE THAT.

At the cocktail, Daniel holds Gail so she can blow a candle.

(cheering)

Gail says THANK YOU!

Daniel says MY LITTLE GIRL WOULDN'T BE
WHERE SHE IS TODAY WITHOUT
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE PROGRAM.
THE NUMBER OF SERVICES
AND THE NUMBER OF BENEFITS
THAT SHE'S...BEEN ABLE TO ENJOY
HAS MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE
IN HER LIFE.
AND I KNOW IT'S MAKING A BIG
DIFFERENCE IN A LOT OF LIVES
AND FIRST NATIONS FAMILIES.
SO I'M VERY GRATEFUL FOR THAT.

Alanis says MEMBERS
FROM COMMUNITIES ACROSS
THE COUNTRY
ARE MEETING
IN WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
FOR A SUMMIT
ON JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.

People stand on a stage in front of an audience sitting around tables.

The caption changes to "Lisa Levi-Paul. Elsipogtog, New Brunswick."

In her thirties standing behind a lectern, Lisa says SO WHEN WE FOUND OUT
THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE
A PRESENTATION
TO THE ANDERSON FAMILY,
MAWWI COUNCIL
WANTED TO PRESENT SOMETHING
TO THE FAMILY
TO SHOW OUR APPRECIATION.

Next to her, two women hold a big white and red quilt.

She continues WE HAD THIS STAR QUILT MADE
BY AN ELDER IN MY COMMUNITY,
ELSIPOGTOG.
AND WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE
THAT THE FAMILY KNEW
THAT JORDAN IS APPRECIATED
AND THAT HE'S LOVED
AND THAT HE'S HELPED SO MANY
CHILDREN IN OUR COMMUNITIES.

She sobs.

(steady drumming)
Women wearing traditional clothes play drums and sing in a native language.

The caption changes to "Kevin Hart. AFN Regional Chief, Manitoba." Kevin is in his forties, with a goatee and bald. He wears glasses, a gray jacket and a green polo-shirt.

Standing behind the lectern, Kevin says HIHI.
THANK YOU
VERY MUCH.
(SPEAKING CREE)
I WELCOME YOU HERE
TO THE FIRST EVER NATIONAL
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE SUMMIT.

(applause)

Now, Cindy gives a speech.

She says THE GOOD NEWS
IS JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
IS NOW LAW.
IT'S NOT A POLICY,
IT'S NOT
THE CHILD FIRST INITIATIVE,
IT'S NONE OF THAT.
IT'S LAW IN CANADA
AND THAT MEANS THAT THEY,
THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA,
HAS TO BE RESPONSIBLE
FOR THE LAW.
THERE HAVE BEEN OVER 90,000
SERVICES APPROVED
UNDER JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
AND THAT'S IN LARGE
THANKS TO HIS FAMILY.
THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN
YOUR COMMITMENT AS A FAMILY,
IS YOU WANTED TO MAKE SURE
OTHER LITTLE KIDS DIDN'T SUFFER
THE WAY THAT JORDAN DID.
CAN I ASK ANYBODY WHO KNOWS
OF A FAMILY WHO'S BEEN TOUCHED
BY JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE,
AND HELPED
BY JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE, TO STAND
SO THE FAMILY CAN SEE THAT?
THESE ARE ALL THE PEOPLE
WHO HAVE BEEN HELPED
BY YOUR BROTHER'S LEGACY
AND BY YOUR FAMILY'S LEGACY.
RIGHT? THERE ARE LOTS OF KIDS...
(applause)...
RIGHT NOW, WHO ARE LIVING OUT
THAT PROGRESS.

Parents with their children sit on the stage.

The caption changes to "Doctor Erica Neeganagwedgin. Constance Lake, Ontario." Erica is in her mid-thirties, with long black hair. She wears a gray cardigan.

Holding a microphone, Erica says MY CHILDREN ARE SO HAPPY
BECAUSE OF JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
I HAVE THREE BOYS
WHO ACCESS RESOURCES
THROUGH JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
MAKEISHA IS 12, DAKOTA IS 8,
AND CLIFTON IS 7
AND ALL THREE BOYS HAVE A LOT
OF CHALLENGES.
THEY'RE AWARE OF JORDAN,
THEY KNOW THE STORY
AND MY CHILDREN WILL,
THEY'LL SAY,
"MOMMY, WE HAVE SUPPORT
BECAUSE OF JORDAN."
AND TRULY I AM SO THANKFUL
TO EVERYONE
WHO HAS FOUGHT SO HARD
FOR ALL FIRST NATIONS CHILDREN
TO HAVE THESE RESOURCES
AND SO THANKFUL
TO JORDAN'S FAMILY,
FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART,
I'M REALLY GRATEFUL,
AND THANK YOU SO MUCH.

(applause)
The caption changes to "Anna and Christian Nibby-Woods."

In her late forties, Anna says IT WAS THE TRUTH
AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
THAT RECOMMENDED
JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE.
I HAD NO IDEA WHO THEY WERE
OR WHAT THEY COULD PROVIDE
FOR ME.
THEY SENT THEIR CASEWORKER
TO MY HOME,
MET WITH ME AND THE CHILDREN
AND INTERVIEWED US.
AND THE FOLLOWING FEW DAYS,
THEY HAD A PLAN IN PLACE.
THEY SPRUNG INTO ACTION
LIKE I'VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

Christian sits next to Anna. He is in his early teens. He has short black hair. He wears a green suit with red details. He has facial paralysis.

Christian says I'D JUST LIKE TO SAY
THANK YOU,
BECAUSE JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
HAS REALLY GIVEN ME
SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR.
I FEEL LIKE I WAS
GOING NOWHERE BEFORE THAT
AND I'D JUST LIKE
TO THANK JORDAN'S FAMILY
AND EVERYTHING THAT THEY WENT
THROUGH TO HELP ME IN MY LIFE.

(applause)

The caption changes to "Bernadette and Keanu Summer. Waywayseecappo First Nation, Manitoba."

In her late forties, Bernadette says I WOULD TELL OTHER FAMILIES
NOT TO GIVE UP.
JUMP THROUGH THOSE HOOPS,
DON'T GIVE UP.
THERE ARE PEOPLE
WHO YOU CAN CONTACT.
IF ONE DOESN'T HELP YOU,
GO TO ANOTHER.
THERE IS SOMEBODY THERE TO HELP
AND OUR CHILDREN ARE WORTH IT.

(applause)

The caption changes to "Joni Wilson." Joni is in her forties, with short black hair. She wears a purple and black blouse.

Standing in the audience, Joni says I'M ACTUALLY
A JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE MOTHER
MYSELF,
AND HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT WHOLE
PROCESS OF APPLYING FOR
THE JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE SERVICES
BACK BEFORE ANY OF THE FUNDING
CAME OUT.
AND ALTHOUGH I HAD MET
THAT CRITERIA,
A VERY, VERY NARROW CRITERIA,
WE HAD MET THAT CRITERIA
BACK LIVING ON RESERVE.
AND WENT THROUGH
THE WHOLE PROCESS
WITH HEALTH CANADA,
WITH MANITOBA HEALTH.
EVERYBODY AT EVERY LEVEL
IN OUR COMMUNITY
FROM CHIEF IN COUNSEL,
HEALTH, EDUCATION, CFS
AND ULTIMATELY IN THE END,
AFTER GOING THROUGH IT ALL
FOR A YEAR,
NOBODY COULD HELP US
AND, YOU KNOW, WE WERE GIVEN
THAT OPTION TO,
OR I WAS GIVEN THAT OPTION,
BECAUSE I'M A SINGLE PARENT,
TO PUT MY SON IN CARE.
(sniffles)
SORRY.

The caption changes to "Mathieu Courchene."

In his fifties, behind the lectern, Mathieu says IT'S ALRIGHT.
TAKE YOUR TIME.

Joni continues THANK YOU.
WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO
WITH OUR KIDS
ONCE THEY AGE OUT OF THIS?
THAT'S ALWAYS MY BIG QUESTION
BECAUSE MY SON IS SIXTEEN NOW.
HE CAN ONLY STAY IN THIS PROGRAM
YOU KNOW, UP UNTIL 21,
IF HE'S IN SCHOOL.
IF HE'S NOT IN SCHOOL
IT'S ONLY UNTIL 18
AND I WORRY ONE DAY
THAT I MIGHT NOT BE HERE
FOR HIM.
AND I'M SURE ALL OF YOU
HAVE THAT SAME WORRY TOO,
THAT YOU WON'T BE THERE ONE DAY
FOR YOUR CHILD.
SO WE STILL NEED
TO KEEP WORKING,
TO CONTINUE THIS, AND TO HAVE IT
RIGHT THROUGH UNTIL...
YOU KNOW...
UNTIL THE END
OF EVERYBODY'S LIFE-SPANS
BECAUSE IT SHOULDN'T
JUST GET CUT OFF
BECAUSE CERTAINLY DISABILITIES
AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS
DO NOT GO AWAY
ONCE YOU TURN 18 OR 21.
THANK YOU.

Mathieu says MEEGWETCH.

Carolyn says AND I AGREE.
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR HERE
IS CHILD WELFARE.
WHY SHOULD WE BE FORCED
TO SUPPORT THAT SYSTEM
BY PUTTING OUR SPECIAL NEEDS
CHILDREN THERE,
INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING
THE FAMILIES?
OUR SON HAS TREATY RIGHTS
JUST LIKE THE REST
OF THESE CHILDREN.
THEY HAVE RIGHTS TO BE
IN THEIR COMMUNITIES,
TO BE IN THEIR HOMES,
TO BE WITH THEIR FAMILIES
THAT LOVE THEM,
AND NOT IN THE FOSTER SYSTEM
WITH STRANGERS
WHO DON'T LOVE THEM.
HOWEVER WELL-MEANING
THEY MAY BE.
THEY DON'T LOVE THEM
LIKE WE DO AND THEY NEVER WILL.
RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION
IS WHAT'S KEEPING SERVICES
AWAY FROM OUR CHILDREN
AND THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE.

The caption changes to "Leonard Ermine." Leonard is in his late sixties, with a receding long white hair. He wears glasses and a blue and black jacket.

In Cree, Leonard says THIS CHILD OUR CREATOR
CALLED TO GO HOME.
HE PROBABLY SAW HOW TO
HELP HIS FELLOW CHILDREN
WHO ARE CONTINUALLY SUFFERING.
HE PAVED THE WAY
TO SHOW US HOW TO
HELP OUR GRANDCHILDREN,
OUR CHILDREN.
I THANK HIM
FOR GATHERING US TOGETHER.
ALL OF US WHO ARE SUFFERING
JUST LIKE THESE CHILDREN HERE,
WE SHOULDN'T BE SUFFERING
LIKE THIS WHILE TRYING
TO RAISE OUR CHILDREN.
THIS IS WHY I SAY, KEEP BEING
SPIRITUALLY PERSISTENT.

Now in English, he continues DO NOT GIVE UP, CARRY ON.
YOU PANEL...
YOU WHO CARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN,
WHEN I GO BACK TO MY COMMUNITY.
WHEN WE HAVE OUR PIPE CEREMONIES
AND WHEN WE HAVE
OUR SWEAT CEREMONIES,
WE WILL PRAY FOR YOU.
WE WILL PRAY FOR YOU.
SO YOUR SPIRITS CAN REST,
SO YOUR HEARTS CAN REST.
REMEMBER, REMEMBER...
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
(SPEAKING CREE)

Mathieu says MEEGWETCH.

(applause)

Next, in an office, Cindy says I'VE ALWAYS FELT
THAT THE LAW IS JUST THE LAW.
IT CAN BE A SHIELD
OR IT CAN BE A SWORD.
AND FOR US,
IT'S BEEN BOTH.
AND IT WAS THE MEANS
BY WHICH WE WERE TAKEN
TO RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.
IT WAS THE MEANS BY WHICH
OUR LANDS WERE TAKEN.
BUT IN THIS CASE, IT WAS A
SHIELD
FOR THIS GENERATION OF
CHILDREN.
IT COULD BE USED TO RESTORE
THEIR DIGNITY
AND THEIR ABILITY TO GROW UP
IN THEIR FAMILIES.
JUSTICE IS POSSIBLE.

A person hands Jean a baby blanket.

Jean says YEAH!
YEAH.
IT'S BEEN WELL LOOKED AFTER.
(LAUGHING)
IT'S, UM...
Getting emotional, she continues AH...
I THINK THIS SPEAKS
OF THE GENEROSITY OF THE FAMILY,
THAT THEY...
GIFTED SUCH A PRECIOUS GIFT
FROM A LITTLE BOY
THAT DIDN'T...
GET TO LIVE HIS LIFE
WITH THEM.
AND THAT THEY...
SHARED WITH EVERYBODY IN CANADA.
AND I THINK THIS BLANKET
IS A SYMBOL OF...
THE HEART OF THE FAMILY.

Ernest plays the guitar and sings with his family.

They sing NO MORE CLOUDS IN THE SKY
NO MORE TEARS
TO DIM THE EYE
ALL IS PEACE FOREVER MORE
ON THAT HAPPY GOLDEN SHORE
WHAT A DAY, GLORIOUS DAY
THAT WILL BE
WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE
WHEN MY JESUS I SHALL SEE

Alanis says BY FEBRUARY, 2019
216,000 JORDAN'S PRINCIPLE
SERVICES
WERE APPROVED
IN JORDAN'S NAME.
THIS LAW NEEDS TO BE
CAREFULLY PROTECTED
TO ENSURE THAT NO FAMILY
GOES THROUGH
WHAT JORDAN AND HIS FAMILY
EXPERIENCED.

In off, a woman says THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.

In a clip, Jerleen says YOU KNOW,
JORDAN HAS A STRONG SPIRIT.

The Therapist says THERE HE GOES,
HE PUSHED THAT BUTTON!
ATTA BOY, JORDAN!

The clip ends.

Jerleen says HE DIDN'T LIVE LONG,
BUT HE HAD AN IMPACT
ON SO MANY PEOPLE'S LIVES.
IT'S AN HONOUR TO KNOW
THAT JORDAN,
JORDAN RIVER ANDERSON
AND HIS LEGACY IS STILL LIVING,
STILL GOING ON.

(Soft native music plays)

Alanis says IN BEAR COUNTRY,
STRANGE BEHAVIOUR WAS WITNESSED
IN SOME BLACK BEARS,
WHO STARTED PACING THE LAND.

(bear growling)
An animation recreates the story being told.

She continues THESE BEARS COULD FEEL
JORDAN'S SPIRIT FLYING BY.
THEY WANTED TO WELCOME
JORDAN TO THE SPIRIT WORLD.
JORDAN WAS AT PEACE
MAKING NEW SOUNDS AND SMILING.
A RENEWAL OF GOODWILL
AND RECOGNITION OF THE SACRED
IN LIFE
FOR ALL CHILDREN.
JORDAN RIVER ANDERSON,
YOU ARE OUR HERO.

A picture of Jordan holding a yellow flower appears.

The end credits roll.

Director and Writer, Alanis Obomsawin.

Copyright 2019, National Film Board of Canada.

Watch: Jordan River Anderson, The Messenger