Transcript: Brian Maracle | Jun 30, 1994

(music plays)

The opening sequence begins.
Fast clips show the daybreak on a lake, birds flying in the sky, and a house covered with snow.

A song says TALK TO ME, SO I CAN HEAR
YOUR VOICE LIKE A LAKE
SO DEEP AND CLEAR
SOARING THROUGH THE
TOPS OF THE TREES,
DANCING BY MY WINDOW
LIKE A WIND BLOWING THROUGH
MY DOOR, DISTANT VOICES,
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Brian Maracle. Writer, Journalist." Brian is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven with long black hair in a ponytail. He wears glasses and a blue shirt.

Brian says BUT WE HAVE TO
REALIZE THAT THESE FIRST
PEOPLE CAME ACROSS THE
GREAT SALT WATER, WERE
PEOPLE WHO WERE NOT
MODEL CITIZENS.
THESE PEOPLE HAD ULTERIOR
MOTIVES IN MIND.
THEY WOULD COME HERE TO THIS
LAND, TAKE ONE LOOK AROUND,
AND SAY, NICE LAND.
NICE FURS, NICE WOMEN.
AND THEY HAD A BOTTLE,
AND THEY SAID HERE.
AND THEY DIDN'T TEACH OUR
ANCESTORS TO DRINK WITH ONE
LITTLE FINGER IN THE AIR.
IT WAS LIKE, TAKE THE CAP
OFF AND THROW IT AWAY.

(flute music plays)

The title of the show appears in yellow letters. It reads "Distant Voices, with Eva Solomon, CSJ."

The caption changes to "To the Ojibway, it is known as shkode-wado or firewater; the Iroquois call it deganigohadaynoyohs, white man’s water. Whatever the name, the legacy of alcohol in the Native community has been destructive. In Crazywater: Native Voices on Addiction and Recovery, Brian Maracle collected stories that express the pain, anger, sorrow and hope of a culture forever changed by the effects of alcohol. The stories of hundreds of people he spoke with chronicle an honest and powerful history of its effect on Native lives and culture. It was a phenomenon whose effect was noted first of all in his own life."

Brian says I SUPPOSE LIKE A LOT
OF PLACES, I GREW UP IN A
HOME, AND AN ENVIRONMENT IN
WHICH DRINKING WAS NOT ONLY
ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR,
IT WAS EXPECTED OF YOU.
AND ESPECIALLY
IF YOU'RE A MAN.
A MOHAWK MAN, PART OF HIS
IDENTITY WAS BUILT AROUND,
NOT ONLY HOW HARD HE COULD
WORK, AND HOW GOOD A WORKER
HE WAS, BUT HOW MUCH HE
COULD DRINK, AND HOW WELL
HE COULD DRINK.
YOU GREW UP THINKING THAT,
AND GROWING INTO THAT
BECAUSE IT WAS PART
OF YOUR ACTIVITIES.
AND I WAS ON THE JOB FROM
THE TIME I WAS 8 YEARS OLD
ON A CONSTRUCTION JOB,
WITH ALL INDIAN CREWS.
AND WHAT I SAW WAS MY
FATHER, MY UNCLES, AND
EVERY MALE RELATIVE I
HAD WERE ON THAT JOB.
AND AT THE END OF THE DAY,
AND THE END OF THE WEEK,
IT WAS PART OF THIS JOB, AND
PART OF YOUR LIFE WAS DRINKING.
AND I WAS IN MY EARLY TWENTIES
BEFORE I MET AN INDIAN MAN
WHO DIDN'T DRINK.

Eva is in her mid-forties, with long curly brown hair. She stands in front of Brian in a wood cabin. She wears a pale yellow turtleneck shirt under a purple shirt and a long necklace.

Eva says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
IS PART OF OUR HISTORY IS
THE STORY OF HOW WHEN THE
EUROPEANS CAME TO THIS LAND,
WE DIDN'T HAVE WITHIN
OUR BODIES THE KINDS OF
ANTIBODIES, IF YOU WILL, TO
DEFEND OURSELVES FROM MANY
OF THE ILLNESSES THAT CAME,
SO WE HAD PLAGUES AND
EPIDEMICS OF SMALLPOX AND
TUBERCULOSIS AND SO ON.
AND ALCOHOL, OR ALCOHOLISM
IS SIMILAR TO THAT.
IT'S LIKE THE PLAGUE OF
THE NATIVE PEOPLE TODAY.
AND I WONDERED HOW
YOU THOUGHT OF THAT?

Brian says WE KNOW THAT WHEN
EUROPEANS FIRST CAME HERE,
THEY DISCOVERED A PEOPLE
WHO DIDN'T DRINK OR MAKE
ALCOHOL, HERE IN THE
NORTHERN HALF OF GREAT
TURTLE ISLAND.

Black and white pictures show native people.

He continues WE KNOW THAT, AND YET WE
DON'T KNOW WHY THAT IS SO.
AND MAYBE THERE ARE SOME
PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT IT'S
BECAUSE OUR ANCESTORS WERE
TOO STUPID TO KNOW HOW TO
MAKE THE STUFF.
AND THAT'S CLEARLY NOT
TRUE BECAUSE CERTAINLY OUR
ANCESTORS KNEW HOW TO, AND
HAD TO KNOW EVERY PLANT AND
LEAF AND FRUIT AND
BERRY AND VEGETABLE.
THEY NEEDED THIS INFORMATION
SO THEY COULD NURSE THEMSELVES.
THEY NEEDED THIS KNOWLEDGE
SO THEY COULD CURE THEMSELVES.
SO THEY CERTAINLY KNEW ABOUT
THE PROPERTIES OF EVERY
LIVING THING ON THIS EARTH.
AND THEY SAW BECAUSE MY
ANCESTORS LIVED AND THEY
GREW AND CORN, PERHAPS YOUR
ANCESTORS SAW, THEY LIVED
IN THE WOODS AND THEY HAD
BERRIES, THESE ARE NATURAL
SUBSTANCES THAT CAN PRODUCE
ALCOHOL ALL BY THEMSELVES.
THEY FERMENT ON THEIR OWN.
WE SEE THE RESULTS WHEN
BIRDS OR SMALL CREATURES
GET INTO THE STUFF AND THEY
START ACTING STRANGELY.
SO OUR ANCESTORS KNEW ABOUT
THE SUBSTANCE, YET THEY
CHOSE NOT TO MAKE
IT OR DRINK IT.
SO NOW YOU HAVE TO
THINK WHY IS THAT?
WHY AMONGST ALL THE PEOPLES
ON THE EARTH DID OUR PEOPLE
CHOOSE NOT TO USE OR
MAKE THIS SUBSTANCE?
AND I LIKE TO THINK THAT THE
REASON IS BECAUSE WE DIDN'T
NEED, WE HAD WAYS OF LIVING
TOGETHER THAT DIDN'T
REQUIRE THE USE OF ALCOHOL
AND WHAT IT DOES FOR YOU.
SO WE HAD, AND OF COURSE
WHAT THEY BROUGHT WITH THEM,
AS YOU MENTIONED,
WAS THE DISEASE.
AND THIS DISEASE WIPED OUT
MANY OF THE CLAN MOTHERS,
THE MEDICINE MEN, THE
CHIEFS, THE ELDERS, THE
PEOPLE WHO KEPT OUR
COMMUNITY STRONG WITH THEIR
KNOWLEDGE AND THE
CEREMONIES AND THE
PRACTICES, SO THAT WE
BEGAN TO LOSE SOME OF OUR
TRADITIONAL DEFENCES
AND STRENGTHS.
WE BEGAN TO HAVE REASON TO
WANT TO FORGET OUR PROBLEMS.
WE BEGAN TO HAVE REASON TO
WANT TO TRY TO RECAPTURE THE
PAST SO THAT WE THEN HAD
THE COLONIAL HISTORY IMPOSE
ITSELF ON US SO THEY
CRIMINALIZED THE POSSESSION
OF ALCOHOL.
SO PEOPLE WHO DID, BY THEN,
AFTER LIVING WITH THE
EUROPEANS FOR SOME PERIOD
OF TIME, DID WANT TO DRINK.
AND WHAT HAPPENS?
THEY WOULD COME TO TOWN,
AND IF THEY DIDN'T WANT TO
BE ARRESTED AND GO TO JAIL
FOR DOING SOMETHING THAT
THE NON-INDIAN PEOPLE WERE
DOING, THEY HAD TO HIDE,
HIDE THEIR DRINKING.
SO THAT MEANS THEY WOULD
HAVE TO TAKE THE CAP OFF
AND DRINK THE BOTTLE DRY
IMMEDIATELY TO KEEP
FROM BEING ARRESTED.
AND THAT'S NOT A HEALTHY
WAY TO DEAL WITH A
POISONOUS SUBSTANCE.
YOU HAD THINGS LIKE
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS WHICH
SIMPLY COMPOUNDED
MANY OF OUR PROBLEMS.
SO WITHIN, UP UNTIL PERHAPS
A GENERATION AGO, WE MAYBE
REACHED THE BOTTOM POINT
ABOUT OUR PROBLEMS IN
DEALING WITH
THIS SUBSTANCE.

Old photograph of children walking by a priest and a large building appears.

He continues I THINK THAT'S ONE THING
PEOPLE HAVE TO REALIZE IS
THAT IN MANY WAYS, I
THINK THE WORST IS OVER.
THERE'S A FELLA WHO TELLS A
STORY I LIKE TO REPEAT, IS
PAT SHIRT FROM THE NECHI
INSTITUTE AT THE
POUNDMAKER'S LODGE.
HE'S FROM SADDLE LAKE.
HE SAID WHEN HE WENT HOME TO
HIS COMMUNITY 20 YEARS AGO,
WHEN HE HAD QUIT DRINKING,
THE WHOLE PLACE, IT WAS
JUST ONE CENTRE
OF DRUNKENNESS.
AND PEOPLE WERE ALWAYS
FIGHTING AND PASSED OUT
ON THE STREETS, HE SAYS.
AND HE WENT HOME, AND HE'D
GO TO SOMEBODY'S HOUSE, AND
THEY'D OFFER HIM A DRINK,
AND HE'D SAY, NO THANKS,
I DON'T DRINK.
AND THEY WOULD BE OFFENDED.
AND THEY'D SAY,
WHAT ARE YOU?
WHAT ARE YOU
TRYING TO PROVE?
YOU THINK YOU'RE
BETTER THAN US?
YOU'RE JUST ACTING
LIKE A WHITE MAN.
WELL, BECAUSE OF HIS, AND THE
INFLUENCE OF OTHER PEOPLE,
THEY'VE STRENGTHENED AND
REVIVED THEIR CULTURE AND
TRADITIONS, HE SAYS THEY
NOW HAVE 200 SWEAT LODGES
IN THAT COMMUNITY.
AND NOW, SOME 20 YEARS
LATER, HE SAYS THE THING
HAS REVERSED ITSELF.
ON THE RARE OCCASIONS WHEN
SOMEBODY LOOKS OUT THEIR
WINDOW, AND THEY SEE
SOMEBODY WALKING BY DRUNK,
THEY'LL JUST SHAKE
THEIR HEADS AND GO,
ISN'T THAT TERRIBLE?
GUY IS ACTING JUST
LIKE A WHITE MAN.
IT JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW THE
THINKING HAS REVERSED ITSELF
IN THAT COMMUNITY.
THAT TO BE AN INDIAN IN
THAT COMMUNITY IS TO BE
A SOBER PERSON.

A clip shows a native male elder wearing a feathered war bonnet talking to a group of children.

Eva says WE'VE ALWAYS HAD THE
TRADITION OF GREAT ORATORS.
THOSE THAT COULD SPEAK
THE STORY OF THE PEOPLE.
BUT WHAT BRIAN DID WAS
TRANSLATE THE STORIES HE
HEARD FROM THE SPOKEN
TO THE WRITTEN WORD.
HE RECOUNTS A TALE THAT GOES
BEYOND THE PICTURE OF THE
DRUNKEN INDIAN, AND REPLACES IT
WITH A VISION OF THE POSITIVE.

Brian says WE DO COME FROM A
PEOPLE WHO WERE ABLE TO MAKE
THE MOUNTAINS DANCE WITH OUR
WORDS AND MAKE THE BIRDS
COME DOWN OUT OF THE TREES
WITH THE POWER OF OUR VOICE.
AND MANY OF THOSE THINGS
HAVE BEEN NOT EXACTLY LOST,
BUT TO THE SIDE BY FORCES
THAT HAVE PUT OUR PEOPLE
IN THE POSITION THAT
THEY'RE IN TODAY.
AND IT IS A COMBINATION OF
THINGS THAT I SUPPOSE LED ME
HERE AND LED YOU HERE
TO THIS SAME SPOT.
AND IT IS TO CAPTURE THE
THOUGHTS AND THE FEELINGS OF
OUR PEOPLE, AND PUT THEM ON
PAPER FOR PEOPLE TO SHARE.
NOT JUST AMONGST OURSELVES,
BUT AMONGST THE
NON-INDIAN PEOPLE.
AND I SUPPOSE, BECAUSE I
COME FROM WORKING IN THE
MAINSTREAM MEDIA, AND
SPECIFICALLY IN RADIO FOR
MANY YEARS, WHAT I DID
WAS SET OUT TO GATHER THE
STORIES OF OUR PEOPLE
AND PUT THEM ON PAPER.
SO WHAT IT IS, I CALL
IT RADIO ON PAPER.
I SIMPLY WENT OUT AND I
DIDN'T REALLY TALK, BUT I
LISTENED TO 200 PEOPLE.
AND I SAID, TELL ME
EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO SAY
ABOUT NATIVE
PEOPLE AND ALCOHOL.

Eva says IN YOUR BOOK,
CRAZYWATER, YOU SAY WHEN WE
DRINK OUR SPIRIT LEAVES US.
WHERE DOES IT GO, AND WHAT
HAPPENS, WHEN YOU SAY THAT?

Brian says A LOT OF PEOPLE
DO SAY THAT.
AND I'LL BE DARNED IF
I KNOW WHERE IT GOES,
OR WHAT HAPPENS TO IT.
I DON'T KNOW.
I THINK IT'S NOT A CASE... I
THINK IT'S PROBABLY IN THAT
INSTANCE WHERE YOUR SPIRIT
LEAVES YOU, IT'S THAT YOU
LEAVE YOUR SPIRIT.
YOUR SPIRIT IS ALWAYS THERE.
IT'S THAT YOU HAVE
GONE SOME PLACE ELSE.
AND WHERE YOU GO, AND WHAT
HAPPENS TO YOU, IN MANY
CASES IS NOT A PLEASANT OR
GOOD EXPERIENCE, BUT IT'S
TO TELL THE ENTIRE
STORY ABOUT OUR PEOPLE'S
INVOLVEMENT WITH ALCOHOL,
THAT I PUT THE BOOK TOGETHER.

A close-up shot shows Brian’s book cover.

A slate reads "According to one study done in the mid-1980s, 43 different academics, social and government ‘experts’ have proposed their separate theories to explain the phenomenon of native alcoholism. None have been proven. Crazywater."

Eva says IN YOUR OWN PERSONAL
EXPERIENCE, WHAT WAS
THE DAY LIKE?
WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE,
THE DAY YOU DECIDED
TO STOP DRINKING?

Brian says WELL, IT'S NOT A
DAY I'M TERRIBLY PROUD OF.
IT WAS, AGAIN, ONE OF THOSE
THINGS WHERE YOU'RE JUST
OUT AND CARRYING ON, AND
STAYING OUT ALL NIGHT, AND
COMING HOME AT 8:00 IN THE
MORNING, AND WATCHING YOUR
10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER
LEAVING THE HOUSE TO GO TO
SCHOOL, AND YOU HAVEN'T
SEEN HER SINCE THE DAY
BEFORE, AND YOU'RE STILL
WEARING YESTERDAY'S CLOTHES
AND SMELLING LIKE
A BARROOM FLOOR.
AND SHE JUST DIDN'T SAY
ANYTHING, BUT JUST LOOKED UP
AT ME, AND SHE
DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.
I'VE SPOKEN TO HER SINCE,
AND SHE DOESN'T EVEN
REMEMBER THAT DAY.
BUT IT WAS A LOOK OF
JUST DISGUST AND SHAME.
SHE WAS EMBARRASSED ABOUT
WHO I WAS, AND WHAT I WAS,
THAT CAUSED ME TO SAY,
YOU'VE GOT TO SLOW DOWN, BOY.
YOU NEED TO TAKE
ANOTHER LOOK AT THINGS.
AND IT WAS JUST THAT LOOK IN
A CHILD'S EYE THAT MADE ME
THINK I'M NOT THE
PERSON I WANTED TO BE.
AND I'VE GOT TO SHAPE UP.

Eva says WHEN YOU SPEAK OF THE
CURE FOR MANY, MANY PEOPLE
BEING THAT RELIGIOUS
EXPERIENCE WHERE THEIR
SPIRIT AND THEIR BEING
SOMEHOW COME TOGETHER, THAT
THEY'RE REUNITED WITH THEIR
SPIRIT, ARE THE TREATMENT
PROGRAMS AND SO ON, ARE
THEY REALLY GEARED TO BE
ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT KIND
OF SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE FOR
THEM TO COME TO THAT
POINT WHERE THEY CAN FIND
THEMSELVES AGAIN?
TO FIND THAT
REUNITED SPIRIT?

Brian says NATIVE TREATMENT
CENTRES ARE WHAT I'D CALL
THE OFFSPRING OF THE
MARRIAGE BETWEEN
TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY
AND ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS,
WHICH IS A
RELIGIOUS-BASED PROGRAM.
SO YOU COMBINE THOSE TWO,
AND YOU HAVE A NATIVE
TREATMENT CENTRE, WITH
STRONG TRADITIONAL OR
SPIRITUAL ELEMENTS COMING FROM
BOTH SIDED COMING IN THERE.
SO HOW WELL THEY SORT OF
MARRY THE TWO, I SUPPOSE,
DEPENDS FROM CENTRE TO
CENTRE, AND HOW WELL THEY
DO IT, I'M NOT REALLY
QUALIFIED TO JUDGE, BUT
IT'S CERTAINLY SOMETHING AN
AWFUL LOT OF PEOPLE SPEAK
VERY HIGHLY OF.
IN THE SAME WAY PEOPLE SPEAK
VERY HIGHLY OF TRADITIONAL
SPIRITUALITY WITH NO
RELATION TO A TREATMENT
PROGRAM, AS WELL AS
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS JUST
AS A TREATMENT PROGRAM,
AND PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT
TREATMENT CENTRES.
THE COMMON INGREDIENT
IN ALL OF THEM IS A
SPIRITUAL ELEMENT.

Eva says DID YOU YOURSELF GO
TO A TREATMENT PROGRAM?

Brian says NO, I DIDN'T.
THAT'S BECAUSE I DIDN'T
KNOW I HAD A PROBLEM.
I MEAN, AS I SAID, I DECIDED
TO SLOW DOWN AND GIVE IT A
REST, AND CLEAN UP MY ACT
BECAUSE I HAD NO INTENTION
OF QUITTING DRINKING.
I SIMPLY WANTED TO GET TO
THE POINT WHERE I COULD GO
BACK OUT AND SPEND MORE
TIME WITH THE BOYS.
BUT IT WAS JUST BEING AFRAID
TO GO OUT, AND WANTING TO
GET CONTROL OF THIS, AND
BEING ABLE TO HAVE THE
CONFIDENCE TO BE ABLE TO GO
OUT WITHOUT STAYING OUT ALL
NIGHT, OR GETTING
COMPLETELY DRUNK THAT
I WAS LOOKING FOR.
AND I HAD STAYED ON THE
WAGON, STAYED ON THE
WAGON, SO LIKE A WEEK
PASSES, THEN A MONTH
PASSES, THEN SIX MONTHS
PASSES, AND I'M STILL
AFRAID TO GO OUT, AND I'M
STILL MAKING FIBS TO OTHER
FRIENDS ABOUT WHY I'M NOT.
AND ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF
LATER, OF BEING ON THE
WAGON, AND STILL, IT
FINALLY OCCURS TO ME,
GEEZ, MAYBE YOU'VE GOT
A DRINKING PROBLEM.
MAYBE THE REASON YOU'RE
AFRAID TO DEAL WITH THIS IS
THAT YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE
STUFF, AND MAYBE YOU'RE
AN ALCOHOLIC.
AND IT WAS ONLY THEN
THAT I'D COME TO THAT
REALIZATION, YOU KNOW?

(music plays)
The slate changes to "There are approximately 50 treatment centres in Canada operated by and for Native people."

Eva says WHAT WAS IT THAT
HAPPENED A GENERATION AGO
THAT REALLY TURNED THINGS
AROUND IN OUR PEOPLE?

Brian says WELL, IF WE COULD PUT A
DATE TO THE BEGINNING OF
WHAT I THINK IS THIS
TURNAROUND THAT WE'VE BEGUN
TO EXPERIENCE, IT WOULD BE
ABOUT 15 YEARS AGO, WHEN
PHYLLIS CHELSEA, WHO WAS,
I THINK SHE WAS A BAND
MANAGER THEN AT ALKALI
LAKE, B.C., WAS CONFRONTED
BY HER DAUGHTER WHO REFUSED
TO GO HOME WITH HER BECAUSE
SHE WAS DRINKING OR DRUNK.
THIS CONVINCED
HER TO SOBER UP.
AND PHYLLIS' INFLUENCE HELPED
HER TO SOBER UP HER HUSBAND.
AND THE TWO OF THEM THEN
PROCEEDED TO SOBER UP THE
REST OF THE COMMUNITY.
AND THE STORY OF THAT
COMMUNITY, WHICH WAS PUT IN
THAT FILM,
THE HONOUR OF
ALL, HAS BEEN AN EXAMPLE
THAT HAS ENCOURAGED OTHER
COMMUNITIES TO DO
THE SAME THING.
WE'VE GOT, NOW, A LITTLE
RIPPLE EFFECT THAT HAS
SPREAD OUT FROM ALKALI LAKE
TO SNOW DRIFT, TO SADDLE
LAKE, TO AITCHELITZ, TO OTHER
COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE
COMPLETELY TURNED
THEMSELVES AROUND.
SO INSTEAD OF BEING A
POPULATION OF 95 PERCENT
DRUNKS, THEY'RE NOW
90 PERCENT SOBER.
THAT'S A TREMENDOUS
TURNAROUND, AND YET OUR PEOPLE
DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THESE
KINDS OF STORIES, YOU KNOW?
AND THE FACT THAT THEY DID
IT WITH ONLY THE FORCE OF
THEIR WILL.

Sun rays reflect on a body of water.

Eva says ONE OF THE OTHER
THINGS THAT IS BEGINNING TO
RESTORE SOME OF THAT IS THE
RETURN TO THE SPIRITUALITY
OF OUR TRADITIONAL
ANCESTORS.
BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS
THAT HAS HAPPENED WITH THAT IS
THAT THAT SPIRITUALITY
SPOKE TO EVERY ASPECT OF
OUR LIVES, WHETHER IT WAS OUR
POLITICAL, OUR SOCIAL, OUR
ECONOMIC, OUR PERSONAL LIFE,
IT SPOKE, OUT OF THE CORE
OF WHO WE ARE, THE SPIRIT.
WHEN THAT WAS DENIED US
AS A PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THE
CRIMINALIZATION BY THE
GOVERNMENT, OR BY THE
CONDEMNATION BY THE
CHURCHES, OR BY OUR OWN
PEOPLE, THAT'S
WHAT BROKE DOWN.
AND THAT'S THE RESTORATION
THAT'S BEGINNING TO HEAL AGAIN.

Brian pauses and says I THINK IT'S
MORE THAN THAT.
I THINK WE HAVE TO, WHEN
PEOPLE, WHAT THIS SPIRITUAL
LIFE MEANS, FOR AN AWFUL
LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW
FINDING THEIR WAY, IT'S SORT
OF AN EDUCATIONAL PROCESS.
THEY ARE LEARNING NEW THINGS
THEY DIDN'T KNOW BEFORE
BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T
BROUGHT UP THAT WAY.
THEY ARE LEARNING THAT THIS
TRADITIONAL, IF WE CAN CALL
IT RELIGION, OR
SPIRITUALITY, HAS PUT THEM
IN A CERTAIN PLACE ON
THIS EARTH WITH CERTAIN
RESPONSIBILITIES, WITH
CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS.
AND THAT THIS IS A
TREMENDOUSLY PEACEFUL,
TREMENDOUSLY COMFORTING
KNOWLEDGE TO KNOW JUST WHY
YOU WERE PUT HERE, WHAT
YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES ARE,
WHAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS
WITH THE WORLD AROUND YOU.
THIS IS TREMENDOUSLY... GIVES
YOU TREMENDOUS SENSE OF
PEACE AND WELL-BEING
OF KNOWING THIS.
AND THAT'S WHAT AN AWFUL
LOT OF YOUNG, I MEAN, NOT
NECESSARILY YOUNG PEOPLE,
BUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE LEARNED
THIS ANEW, THAT THEY ARE
BEING EDUCATED TO THIS.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO KNEW
THIS AND WENT AWAY FROM THAT
ARE RETURNING TO IT BECAUSE
IT IS THE THING THAT BRINGS
YOUR SOUL BACK INTO HARMONY,
AND CAUSES YOU TO PUT THIS
DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOUR TO THE
SIDE BECAUSE YOU'VE FOUND A
BETTER WAY OF LIVING.

Eva says BRIAN HAS BEEN AT
WORK ON TWO PROJECTS.
THE IROQUOIS CREATION STORY
WHICH HE BEGAN WRITING FOR
CHILDREN, BUT WHICH BECAUSE
OF ITS COMPLEXITY WILL
APPEAL TO A BROADER
AUDIENCE, AND A COLLECTION
OF STORIES ABOUT EIGHT
TRADITIONAL RELIGIONS.
WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT
TRADITIONAL WAYS OF SPIRIT,
HE FEELS VERY STRONGLY THEY
SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN OUT OF
THE CONTEXT FROM
WHICH THEY CAME.

Fast clips show trees and vegetation.

Brian says A LOT HAS BEEN
WRITTEN ABOUT TRADITIONAL
INDIAN RELIGION, OR NATIVE
SPIRITUALITY, BUT IT'S
ALWAYS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT
AS THOUGH IT WAS AN ARTIFACT.

Eva says YES.

Brian says JUST SOME OBJECT
SITTING ON A SHELF.
THESE ARE THE BELIEFS, THESE
ARE THE ORIGINS OF THIS
THING, THESE ARE
THE CEREMONIES.
AND NOBODY EVER WRITES ABOUT
THE PEOPLE WHO PRACTICE
THESE BELIEFS, WHO PRACTICE
THESE CEREMONIES, WHO GREW
UP THINKING IN THIS WAY.
NOBODY EVER WRITES ABOUT
THE PEOPLE BEHIND IT.
IT IS AN OBJECT THAT
EUROPEAN PEOPLE CAN
APPROPRIATE FOR THEMSELVES.

Eva says STILL MUSEUM PIECES.

Brian says EXACTLY.
THEY CAN TAKE A LITTLE BIT
OF THIS, AND A LITTLE BIT
OF THAT, AND A LITTLE
BIT OF THIS, AND STIR IT
TOGETHER AND SAY, VOILA,
NATIVE SPIRITUALITY.
AND EVERYBODY CAN
TAKE PART, YOU KNOW?
IT'S A LITTLE BUFFET.
WELL, THAT IS MISUSING
THINGS THAT COMMUNITIES OF
PEOPLE STILL HOLD
VERY DEAR AND SACRED.
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GO TO
WEEKEND RETREATS WHERE
PEOPLE SELL THE EXPERIENCE
THAT'S CONNECTED WITH SOME
ELEMENTS OF
INDIAN RELIGION.
YOU CAN BUY YOUR WAY
INTO A SWEAT LODGE.
YOU CAN BUY A PIPE.
YOU CAN, YOU KNOW, PAY
WITH MONEY TO GET A CHEAP
SECONDHAND VERSION OF THESE
THINGS THAT ARE REAL AND
SACRED TO OUR PEOPLE.
SO IT'S TO TELL THEIR STORY
THAT'S ONE OF THE OTHER
ACTIVITIES THAT I'M
STARTING TO WORK ON NOW.

Native people dance wearing traditional clothes.

Eva says I'M ALSO INTERESTED IN
TALKING ABOUT THE FAD OF
INDIAN LORE, OR
WHATEVER, TODAY.
I MEAN, IT REALLY IS A FAD
TO LEARN ABOUT INDIANS,
TO BE INVOLVED IN
THEIR SPIRITUALITY.
AND WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN WHEN IT STOPS?

Brian says IT'LL BE THE BEST
THING POSSIBLE, EH?
WE'LL BE BACK TO
BEING IGNORED.
WE CAN LIVE OUR OWN LIFE
WITHOUT BEING CONSTANTLY
BEING STUDIED, AND BOTHERED
BY PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIVE
WITH US, AND LIVE WITH
OUR PROBLEMS, YOU KNOW?
PEOPLE WHO COME IN ON THE
WEEKENDS TO SORT OF GET
SOME CHEAP THRILLS.
AND YET THEY DON'T HAVE TO
PUT UP WITH THE PROBLEMS WE DO.
THEY DON'T HAVE TO SIT THERE
AND LIVE IN OUR CONDITIONS.
THEY DIDN'T SHARE... GROW UP
SHARING THESE BELIEFS, AND
THE OBLIGATIONS.
THEY THINK, OH, THIS IS SO
GREAT, THIS IS SO NEAT,
I CAN TAKE THIS LITTLE BELIEF
HERE, AND THIS LITTLE
ACTIVITY THERE, AND SORT
OF IMPROVE MY OWN LIFE.

Eva says YOU SPOKE OF YOUR
DAUGHTER PERHAPS BEING THE
KEY TO A MOMENT OF
TRANSFORMATION IN YOURSELF
THE MORNING SHE LOOKED AT
YOU WITH DISGUST AND WITH
SHAME, AS SHE WALKED OUT
THE DOOR, PERHAPS, THAT'S
WHAT TOUCHED YOU
TO CHANGE YOURSELF.
AND I'M WONDERING, IN A WAY,
THAT CAME OUT OF A CERTAIN
STRENGTH IN HERSELF, TOO.
WHAT'S THE DREAM YOU HAVE
FOR THE PEOPLE, THE YOUNG
PEOPLE LIKE HER, THE CHILDREN
OF OUR NEXT GENERATION?

Brian says I DON'T KNOW, I
SUPPOSE WHEN I WAS HER AGE,
MY DAUGHTER IS NOW 19.
WHEN I WAS HER AGE, OR
MAYBE EVEN YOUNGER, I WAS
EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED
OF WHO I WAS, YOU KNOW?
I WENT TO CITY HIGH
SCHOOLS, AND CITY SCHOOLS.
AND PEOPLE WOULD SIT THERE
AND THEY'D SAY BECAUSE
NOBODY WOULD EVER CONFUSE
ME WITH SITTING BULL, FOR
EXAMPLE, BUT AT THE SAME
TIME, THEY KNEW I WASN'T
THE SAME AS THEM.
THEY'D ALWAYS SAY TO ME,
WHAT ARE YOU ANYWAY?
ARE YOU HAWAIIAN?
FILIPINO?
WHERE THE HECK
DO YOU COME FROM?
AND I WOULDN'T TELL THEM
BECAUSE I KNEW WHAT IT WOULD
END UP TO BE.
IT WOULD END UP TO BE, WOO,
WOO, WOO, AND THEN THERE
WOULD BE A SCRAP.
I'M THE ONLY INDIAN IN THE
SCHOOL, WHO'D GET THE WORST
OF THAT?
I WAS ALWAYS BECAUSE I
DIDN'T GROW UP MOST OF MY
LIFE WAS NOT SPENT GROWING
UP ON A RESERVE BECAUSE
I DIDN'T HAVE A NAME LIKE
SITTING BULL, I DIDN'T LOOK
LIKE SITTING BULL, I DIDN'T
SPEAK THE LANGUAGE, I
ALWAYS HAD THIS TREMENDOUS
SENSE OF INADEQUACY THAT I
WAS NOT, I WAS AN INDIAN,
BUT I REALLY WASN'T.
AND FEELING
TERRIBLE ABOUT THIS.
NOW, I CAN TAKE A LOOK AT MY
DAUGHTER, I TAKE A LOOK AT
OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE, AND I
KNOW SHE NOW SPEAKS MORE
MOHAWK THAN I DID
WHEN I WAS HER AGE.
YOU KNOW?
SHE NOW HAS A BETTER
SENSE OF HER HISTORY AND
TRADITION AND CULTURE THAN
I DID WHEN I WAS HER AGE.
THAT SHE HAS MORE SKILLS
AND MORE ABILITIES, MORE
CONFIDENCE THAN I EVER DID.
AND I SEE THAT WITH
MANY YOUNG PEOPLE.
AND I JUST CAN'T HELP BUT
THINK THIS IS ANOTHER SIGN
THAT WE ARE HEADED
FOR BETTER DAYS.
THAT WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE
OF A RENAISSANCE OF OUR
PEOPLE, YOU KNOW?
THAT PEOPLE AND OUR
COMMUNITIES ARE GROWING
STRONGER EVERY DAY.

(music plays)
The end credits roll.

Produced by Jim Hanley and Jim Hyder.

Co-produced and Written by Patricia Michael.

Directed by Daniel Robinson.

Photographed by Mark Mackay.

Edited by Patrick Malone.

Title theme by Rodney Brown.

Closing theme by Lawrence Martin.

Executive Producer, Jim Hanley.

A co-production of TVOntario and Sleeping Giant Productions in association with Vision TV.

Copyright 1994, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Brian Maracle