Transcript: Jim Morris | Aug 18, 1994

(Lyrical theme music plays)

A clip shows a woman's face in the mist, a boat on a river, a man's face and tree
branches in a snowstorm, lilies in a pond, a farmhouse totally blanketed by snow,
a setting sun, an aerial view of a lake and a man's face over rushing water. Then
a small plane flies over a lake.

"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 man in his fifties with short dark hair and a snub nose is seen in profile,
wearing glasses. A caption reads "Jim Morris, Deputy Grand Chief." Jim sits
facing Eva in a living room with a fireplace burning in the background.

In a gentle voice, Jim says IN THE AREA OF PERSONAL
LOSSES, THE PEOPLE MOST
COMMONLY TALK ABOUT THE
FAMILY MEMBERS THAT THEY'VE
LOST THROUGH THE RESIDENTIAL
SCHOOL SYNDROME, THROUGH
EPIDEMICS AND THROUGH SUICIDE.
A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE
ALSO EXPERIENCED A LOT OF
PHYSICAL AND SEXUAL ABUSE.
THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT
THE PEOPLE ARE SORT OF
HOLDING BACK RIGHT NOW.
AND THE FIRST CHANGE THAT
HAS TO TAKE PLACE IS FOR
PEOPLE TO OVERCOME
THAT DENIAL.

A loon swims across a lake. A title caption reads "Distant Voices."
A further caption reads "with Eva Solomon, C.S.J."
[loon calling]
Eva, in her forties, wearing a fringed yellow leather jacket and a
blue bead necklace, sits facing the camera.
(Native American Indian wind music plays)

A rising full-screen caption reads "Jim Morris was born in Big Trout Lake and
grew up on the reserve within a very traditional family. His mother still lives
there and is well-known as a maker of traditional beadwork and leather crafts.
Since 1988, he has held the elected position of Deputy Grand Chief of the
Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, which is based on the Fort William Reserve. He is most
concerned with health issues, child and family services abd youth suicide, a field
he had been trying to draw attention to for years, before the recent rash of
suicides on northern reserves."

Jim says WHEN I WAS A KID, I REMEMBER
AFTER I CAME BACK FROM THE
HOSPITAL, I REMEMBER GOING
INTO MY HOME, AND IT WAS
A VERY POOR HOME.
AND I HAD DIFFICULTY SEEING
BEYOND TOMORROW, EH?
I WAS JUST LOOKING, COMING
FROM A HOSPITAL INTO
MY HOME, I FELT LIKE I
WAS LIVING IN SQUALOR.
ALL I COULD SEE WAS POVERTY,
AND THERE SEEMED TO BE
NO WAY OUT.
THERE WAS NO HOPE.

An old clip shows images of a snow-covered reserve, featuring stray dogs and
junk strewn around.

Jim continues THAT'S HOW I FELT.
"AM I GOING TO SPEND THE REST
OF MY LIFE JUST LIVING HERE
WITH NO PROSPECT OF
IMPROVEMENT, NO JOB, NOTHING?"
SO, TODAY WHEN NEW PEOPLE
COME INTO THIS SOCIETY, AND THEY
FAIL IN HIGH SCHOOL, THEY
GO BACK HOME, THEY DON'T
KNOW HOW TO HANDLE A TRAP.
THEY'VE LOST THAT CONNECTION
WITH THEIR CULTURE.
AND THEY GO TO A COMMUNITY
THAT HAS 85 PERCENT
UNEMPLOYMENT, WHERE EVERY
AVAILABLE JOB FIRST OF ALL GOES
TO PEOPLE THAT HAVE
FAMILIES TO SUPPORT.
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE ON THE
BOTTOM OF THE LADDER.
AND, PLUS, THE WHOLE ASPECT
OF THEM LOSING THEIR CULTURE,
EVERYTHING PILED ON
TOP OF THE OTHER.
SO WHEN A PERSONAL CRISIS
STRIKES A PERSON LIKE THAT,
LIKE RAPE OR SOME TYPE OF
SEXUAL ABUSE, OR IF A YOUNG
PERSON DECIDES TO TRY AND GET
MARRIED AS A WAY OF TRYING
TO IMPROVE THEIR LIFE, AND
THEY GET REJECTED... SOME
PERSONAL CRISIS LIKE THAT
JUST ADDS TO THE PAIN.
THAT'S USUALLY ENOUGH TO PUSH
YOUNG PEOPLE OVER THE EDGE.
IT'S VERY HARD FOR ANYBODY
TO GO INTO A COMMUNITY AND
SAY, "THIS IS WHY THERE IS
A SUICIDE, AND THEREFORE
THIS IS WHAT YOU
MUST DO TO STOP IT."
THAT'S EASY FOR
ANYBODY TO DO.
WHAT'S HARD IS FOR THE
PEOPLE THEMSELVES TO
RECOGNIZE THAT THERE HAS TO BE
CHANGE, AND THAT THEY ARE
THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN
AFFECT THAT CHANGE.
SO WORKING WITH THOSE LEVEL
OF DIFFICULTIES IS A PRETTY
COMPLEX TASK THAT REQUIRES
A LOT OF UNDERSTANDING OF
PEOPLE, A LOT OF COMPASSION,
AND CERTAINLY A LOT OF
PATIENCE WHEN PEOPLE
DON'T WANT TO MOVE.

Eva says WE CAME TO THE VERY
SAME KIND OF CONCLUSION
WHEN WE WERE DOING A
SERIES OF WORKSHOPS IN THE
COMMUNITIES IN THIS AREA
WITH YOUTH AND ELDERS.
AND WHAT WE HEARD VERY OFTEN
WERE THE ELDERS SAYING "WELL
THE YOUTH AREN'T THIS, AND
THE YOUTH AREN'T THAT, AND
THE YOUTH ARE DOING THIS,"
AND IT WAS REALLY VERY
NEGATIVE WITH THEIR
EXPERIENCE OF THE YOUTH.
AND WHEN IT CAME TO THE
YOUTH, THEY WERE SAYING,
"WE WANT TO KNOW OUR CULTURE,
WE WANT TO LEARN OUR
LANGUAGE, WE WANT TO BE
ABLE TO HUNT AND TRAP."
AND THERE WAS ONE POINT
WHERE I CAME TO THE
REALIZATION THAT THESE TWO
GROUPS ARE GRIEVING THE VERY
SAME THING, AND IT HAS TO DO
WITH THE LOSS OF CULTURE.
IT HAS TO DO WITH
THE LOSS OF LANGUAGE.
AND WHEN THE YOUTH CAN
REALIZE THAT THE ELDERS
REALLY ARE GRIEVING, WHAT
THEY ARE SAYING IS "OUR
LIFE'S NOT THE
SAME ANYMORE.
WE DON'T HAVE WHAT
WE USED TO HAVE."
WE CAN'T HAVE OUR CHILDREN
LIVE OFF THE LAND THE WAY
THEY USED TO BECAUSE THEY
ARE INTO ANOTHER SOCIETY
THAT THEY HAVE TO
LEARN TO SURVIVE IN.
AND THE YOUTH ARE SAYING "WE
DON'T HAVE WHAT OUR PARENTS HAD.
WE DON'T HAVE WHAT
OUR ANCESTORS HAD."

An old photo shows young tribal members dressed in Western clothes, the boys
wearing military caps, and the girls wearing headscarves.

Eva continues AND THEY ARE BOTH SAYING
"WE'RE LOST, WE DON'T HAVE...
IT'S A LOSS."

Jim says IT'S ESSENTIALLY THE
SAME LOSSES, BUT...

Eva says FROM TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.

Jim says FROM TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.
THE ADVANTAGE THAT THE OLD
PEOPLE HAVE IS THAT THEY LIVED IT.
THEY DID LIVE THAT LIFE, AND
THEY'VE SEEN IT COME TO AN END.
THE DISADVANTAGE THAT THE
YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE IS THEY
NEVER REALLY EXPERIENCED IT
BECAUSE THEY WERE EDUCATED
IN A NEW SYSTEM.
WHAT WE ARE DOING IN OUR
AREA IS TO STOP POINTING
FINGERS AT EACH OTHER AND
SAYING, "YOU DON'T DO THIS,
OR YOU'RE NOT LIKE THIS,"
AND STOP BLAMING THE ELDERS
FOR NOT RECOGNIZING
OUR UNIQUE PROBLEMS.
AND THE QUESTION WE'RE
ASKING IS, IT'S EASY
FOR ANYBODY TO SAY WHY.
WE HAVE ENOUGH OF THAT ALREADY.
EVERYBODY HAS AT ONE TIME
SAID WHY THESE ARE HAPPENING.
NOW, LET'S FIGURE OUT WHAT
ACTION CAN WE TAKE TO CORRECT THIS
PROBLEM WE HAVE.
AND ONCE YOU DO THAT, I
THINK YOU'LL START BRINGING
PEOPLE TOGETHER TO, I
GUESS, COLLABORATE ON WHAT
ACTION NEEDS TO BE TAKEN.

Eva says BECAUSE "THE WHY" IS
REALLY THE PARALYSIS.

Jim says YEAH, THE WHY
IS THE PARALYSIS.
AND IF YOU CAN MOVE PEOPLE
PAST THAT POINT AND GET THEM
TO SAY WHAT ACTION CAN WE
DO TOGETHER, THEN IT BRINGS
PEOPLE TOGETHER.

A clip shows a present-day tribal meeting.

Eva says EXACTLY.

Jim says BUT EVEN TO THIS DAY,
THERE IS RELUCTANCE ON THE
PART OF MANY ELDERS TO LET GO.
TO LET GO OF AUTHORITY.
IN MANY COMMUNITIES, YOUNG
PEOPLE ARE STILL RESTRICTED
FROM PLAYING A BIG
ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY
OR MAKING DECISIONS.
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE WAS A
GREAT LACK OF RECREATIONAL
FACILITIES IN THE
COMMUNITIES, WHICH IS
SOMETHING THAT YOUNG
PEOPLE ALL SAY THEY NEED.
AND THAT LACK OF
RECREATIONAL FACILITIES IS
A DIRECT DECISION ON
THE PART OF THE ELDERS.
BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT THAT.
THEY SAY IT'S BAD FOR
YOUNGSTERS TO PLAY TOO MUCH.
THEY CALL IT PLAY.
AND THAT RELATES BACK TO
THEIR TRADITIONAL LIFESTYLE.
LIKE WHEN YOU WERE LIVING
ON A TRAPLINE, YOU HAD TO
WORK 10 OR 12 HOURS TO SURVIVE.
(native wind music plays)

An observation tower appears on a cliff above the lake. Bluebells grow on the
shore. A snowmobile drives across the ice. Pockmarked cliffs stand at the water's
edge, surmounted by a pine forest.

Eva says IN THE COURSE HE HAS
SET IN LIFE, JIM CAN BE
SEEN AS AN EXAMPLE
TO THE COMMUNITY.
SOMEONE SENT OUT TO EXPLORE
THE OUTER PERIMETERS OF
WHAT WAS KNOWN TO HIS
PEOPLE, AND THEN TO BRING
BACK INFORMATION.
HE'S ONE OF A GROWING GROUP
WORKING TO PRESERVE THE
TRADITIONAL WAYS, WHILE
INTERFACING WITH THE
TECHNOLOGY AND WAYS OF
THE DOMINANT CULTURE.

Jim says I THINK ONE OF THE
REASONS I WAS ABLE TO DO
THAT IS MY INTRODUCTION
TO THE SOCIETY CAME ABOUT
DIFFERENTLY THAN OTHER PEOPLE.
I DIDN'T GO TO A
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.
WHEN I CAME OUT, I
WENT TO A HOSPITAL.
SO THE PEOPLE WHO INTRODUCED
ME TO THIS SOCIETY
WERE CAREGIVERS.
THEY WERE NURSES,
DOCTORS, PEOPLE LIKE THAT.
AND THEY TAUGHT ME HOW
TO SPEAK THE LANGUAGE,
AND BASICALLY HOW TO
RELATE TO SOCIETY.
SO I GOT KIND OF
COMFORTABLE, I GUESS, IN
LEARNING TO DEAL WITH THE
SOCIETY, AS OPPOSED TO
BEING IN A STRICT MILITARY
ENVIRONMENT LIKE A
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL.

Eva says WHAT HAPPENED?

Jim says MY BROTHER AND I
CONTRACTED TUBERCULOSIS, T.B.,
WHEN I WAS ABOUT NINE.
AND WE WERE AT WHAT'S NOW
KNOWN AS THE WESTMOUNT-HOGARTH
HOSPITAL HERE FOR 22 MONTHS.
AND THAT'S ESSENTIALLY WHERE
I LEARNED HOW TO SPEAK
ENGLISH AND HOW TO MOVE
ABOUT IN THIS SOCIETY.
SINCE THEN, I'VE BEEN ABLE
TO GO BACK AND FORTH WITH
RELATIVE EASE.
ONE THING I STILL DO IN MY
LIFE, TOO, IS THAT WHENEVER
I WANT TO MOVE INTO A NEW
AREA, FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN I
DECIDED TO RUN FOR DEPUTY
GRAND CHIEF, WHICH IS THE
POSITION I'M HOLDING NOW,
I ASKED MY MOTHER, AND
I ASKED PEOPLE IN THE
COMMUNITY THAT I CONSIDER
ARE IMPORTANT TO ME AS ADVISORS.
SO IN THAT SENSE, YOU DO ASK.
THAT'S HOW I MAINTAIN MY
CONTACT WITH THE COMMUNITY.
BUT WHO I AM IS DETERMINED
BY MY LANGUAGE, MY FAMILY,
MY CONNECTION TO THE LAND.
I'M HERE BECAUSE I'M
WORKING, AND I ONLY HAVE
THOSE THINGS THAT ARE
PORTABLE LIKE MY LANGUAGE
AND MY SPIRITUALITY.
BUT WHEN I STOP WORKING,
WHEN I RETIRE, I GUESS,
IT'S BACK TO TROUT LAKE.

Eva says ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
I FIND VERY INTERESTING
WHEN NATIVE PEOPLE COME
TO MEET SOMEONE SOMEWHERE
THAT'S DIFFERENT FROM THEIR
OWN TERRITORY, THE FIRST
QUESTION THEY ASK IS WHERE
ARE YOU FROM, NOT WHAT YOUR
NAME IS, OR WHAT ARE YOU
DOING, BUT WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
AND IF YOU SAY A NAME LIKE,
LET'S SAY, TORONTO, THEN
THEY'LL SAY, WHERE ARE
YOU FROM ORIGINALLY?
BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE
SENSE THAT TORONTO WAS
A NATIVE COMMUNITY.
SO THERE'S A SENSE OF
BELONGING TO SOMEPLACE
WHERE YOUR IDENTITY COMES
RIGHT FROM THE LAND THAT
YOU LIVE IN AND THE COMMUNITY.
BECAUSE THE NEXT QUESTION IS
ALWAYS, "DO YOU SPEAK YOUR
OWN LANGUAGE."
NOT "DO YOU SPEAK MY
LANGUAGE," IT'S "DO YOU SPEAK
YOUR OWN?"
AND AGAIN, IT'S "HOW CLOSELY
ARE YOU TIED TO YOUR COMMUNITY?"

Jim says THAT'S RIGHT.
IN OUR AREA, WE'RE
ALL NISHNAWBE.
I THINK YOU ARE
NISHNAWBE, TOO.

Eva says YEAH.

Jim says AND THAT'S WHO
WE ARE AS A PEOPLE.
AND THEN BEYOND THAT, WHEN
PEOPLE ASK ME WHO I REALLY
AM, I ALWAYS SAY, IN MY
LANGUAGE, A BIG TROUT LAKER.
AND THAT'S HOW I DETERMINE
WHO I AM, AS OPPOSED TO
SOMEBODY FROM BEARSKIN
LAKE OR SACHIGO.
ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT
OUR AREA IS BECAUSE OF OUR
RELATIVE ISOLATION,
EACH COMMUNITY HAS ITS
UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS.
THE LANGUAGE SOUNDS A
LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT.
I CAN TELL WHERE ALMOST
EVERYBODY IS FROM JUST BY
LISTENING TO THEM TALKING.
LIKE THE PERSON FROM SACHIGO
SOUNDS DEFINITELY DIFFERENT
THAN SOMEBODY FROM SANDY
LAKE OR ALL THE OTHER PLACES.
SO THOSE ARE THE THINGS, I
GUESS, THAT BIND US TO
OUR COMMUNITIES.
THE LAND WHERE WE GREW UP.
(native wind music plays)

A full-screen caption reads "When Jim ran for election in his community, 67
percent of the population were 30 and under."

Eva says JAMES, YOU WERE
ACTUALLY ONE OF THE
YOUNGEST MEMBERS TO BE
ELECTED TO YOUR COUNCIL
AT ONE POINT.
AND THAT WAS NOT JUST THE
FACT YOU YOURSELF HAD THAT
EXPERIENCE, BUT THERE
WAS A WHOLE SHIFT IN THE
COMMUNITY AT THAT TIME.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE
FOR YOU PERSONALLY?

Jim says FOR ME?
IT WAS AN EXCITING TIME.
A LITTLE BIT SCARY BECAUSE
THERE WAS ALSO RUNNING
AGAINST MY FATHER.

Eva says OH.

Jim says I DEFEATED HIM ALONG
WITH SOME OTHER ELDERS.
IT WAS BOTH EXCITING AND
SCARY, BECAUSE IT MARKED A
BIG SHIFT IN THE COMMUNITY,
IN TERMS OF LEADERSHIP.
PRIOR TO THAT, IT WAS
ALWAYS THE OLD PEOPLE WHO
CONTROLLED THINGS.
BUT I THINK IN A COUPLE OF
CASES, I THINK WE HAVE FOUND
THE YOUNG PEOPLE EXERTING
THEIR AUTHORITY BY VIRTUE OF
THEIR NUMBERS, AND ELECTING
THE PEOPLE THEY WANT, WHICH
IS WHAT HAPPENED WITH US.
IT WAS A LITTLE BIT PAINFUL
BECAUSE I DIDN'T LIKE TO
SEE MY FATHER... YOU KNOW, LOSING,
BUT IT WAS INEVITABLE.

Eva says WHY DID YOU CHOOSE
TO RUN AGAINST HIM?

Jim says I DIDN'T SPECIFICALLY
DECIDE TO RUN AGAINST HIM,
AS OPPOSED TO THE FACT I
WAS CONVINCED BY PEOPLE
SUPPORTING ME THAT
I NEEDED TO RUN.
SO I RAN, AND WE WERE NOT
REALLY WELL AWARE OF THE
NUMBERS AT THAT TIME.
IT WAS ONLY AFTER THE
ELECTION THAT WE REALIZED
WHERE THE SUPPORT LAY.
AND I THINK, AT LEAST HE
REALIZED THAT CHANGE HAD COME.
AND BEFORE HE DIED, HIM AND
I, I THINK THERE WERE GOOD
RELATIONSHIP I HAD WITH MY
FATHER STAYED RIGHT TO THE END.
BUT THAT WAS A DIFFICULT TIME FOR US.
I THINK HIM AND HIS FELLOW
ELDERS WERE A LITTLE BIT
STUNNED BY THE ELECTION.
ALTHOUGH THEY SUSPECTED IT,
THEY DIDN'T KNOW IT WOULD
BE SO DEFINITIVE
BECAUSE OF THE NUMBERS.

Eva says DO YOU RECALL ANY OTHER
SIGNIFICANT TURNING POINTS
IN YOUR LIFE?

A view shows the lake at sunset.

Jim says IN MY LIFE?

Eva says I WOULD IMAGINE, THAT'S
MY IMAGINATION, THAT WHEN
YOU HAD TO COME OUT TO
HOSPITAL, THAT WOULD HAVE
BEEN A TURNING POINT.

Jim says THAT DEFINITELY WAS A
BIG TURNING POINT BECAUSE
PRIOR TO THAT I HAD
ESSENTIALLY LIVED A NOMADIC
LIFE ON A TRAPLINE.
BUT IT WAS WHEN I LEFT TO
COME TO THE HOSPITAL AND
ENDING UP HERE, THAT
COMPLETELY CHANGED MY LIFE
AROUND TO, YOU KNOW, A
LIFESTYLE OF GOING BACK AND
FORTH BETWEEN MY RESERVE
AND WORKING OUT HERE.
THAT'S ESSENTIALLY THE
PATTERN THAT MY LIFE HAS
TAKEN SINCE THEN.
NOW, I'M OUT HERE.
I'VE BEEN OUT HERE SINCE
1981, OVER, ALMOST 12 YEARS
NOW I'VE BEEN OUT.
THAT'S THE LONGEST I'VE BEEN
OUT WITH MY COMMUNITY TO WORK.
I DON'T SUSPECT I'LL GO
BACK AGAIN UNTIL I RETIRE.
IF I RETIRE.
[laughing]
THE OTHER SIGNIFICANT POINT
THAT CAME IN MY LIFE IS
WHEN I WAS, IN 1973, I
BECAME THE FIRST EMPLOYEE
OF WAWATAY COMMUNICATIONS.
AND IN WORKING WITH THAT
ORGANIZATION, I PRACTICED
THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT.
THE ORGANIZATION WAS
DEVELOPED BASED ON WHAT
THE PEOPLE WANTED.
WE HAD TRAPLINE RELAYS.
WE HAD A NEWSPAPER WRITTEN
IN BOTH LANGUAGES, ENGLISH
AND THE CREE AND
OJIBWAY LANGUAGES.
AND WE DEVELOPED A NEWSPAPER
THAT REFLECTED THE
COMMUNITY, WHICH IS
WHAT THEY WANTED.
AND IT ALSO GAVE ME THE
FIRST CHANCE TO WORK WITH
TWO ELDERS WHO WERE VERY
INFLUENTIAL IN MY LIFE.
BOTH OF THEM HAVE PASSED
AWAY NOW, BUT ONE WAS
TOM FIDDLER FROM SANDY LAKE,
WHO WAS A HEREDITARY CHIEF
FROM THE OLD DAYS.
AND THE OTHER ONE WAS GEORGE
MCKAY FROM VICTOR LAKE.
AND BOTH OF THEM TUTORED
ME FOR ALMOST TEN YEARS.
AND THAT PERIOD IN MY
LIFE WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT
BECAUSE IT TURNED ME FROM
WHAT I USED TO THINK OF AS A
"CRAZY, WILD, DRUNKEN ANGRY
YOUNG MAN," INTO THE PERSON
THAT I AM TODAY, WHERE I AM
USING MY ENERGIES IN A MORE
PRODUCTIVE MANNER, SO...
AND BEING ELECTED TO THIS
JOB, I THOUGHT I WAS JUST
AN EXTENSION OF MY WORK
AS A NATIVE LEADER AND A
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PERSON.

A winter view of the shore of the frozen lake shows it dotted with leafless trees

Eva says WHEN YOU SPEAK OF
MISTER FIDDLER AS BEING THE
LAST OF THE HEREDITARY
CHIEFS, IT MAKES ME AWARE
OF HOW VERY RECENT THE SORT
OF IMPOSITION OF THE CHIEF
SYSTEM IS FROM THE WAY THE
ELECTION AND SO ON IS, THAT
IT'S MORE OF AN IMPOSITION
FROM THE NON-NATIVE SOCIETY
AND THE STRUCTURE THAT
IT IS TODAY, THAN IT
WAS TRADITIONALLY.
AND IT ALSO SAYS SOMETHING
ABOUT THE TREMENDOUS SHIFT
AND SORT OF DISTANCE...
TIME DISTANCE... THAT WE'VE
TRAVELLED FROM THE SURVIVAL
OF THE LAND, AND HUNTING
AND TRAPPING AND ALMOST THE
IDEA, NOT "STONE AGE," BUT
CLOSE TO IT, IN THE SENSE
OF IMPLEMENTS AND TOOLS,
TO THE SPACE AGE IN A
COUPLE OF GENERATIONS.

Jim says CERTAINLY THE
INTRODUCTION OF TELEVISION
IN THE LATE '70s WAS TOO RAPID.
BECAUSE WE JUST DID A REPORT
ON OUR LANGUAGES THIS YEAR,
AND WITHIN THE SPACE OF 12
YEARS, YOU ALREADY NOTICE
A DIFFERENCE IN LANGUAGE
IN OUR COMMUNITIES.
WHEREAS IN 1973, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHEN WE STARTED
WAWATAY NEWS, EVERYBODY WAS
TOTALLY CONVERSANT IN THEIR
LANGUAGES... 100 PERCENT
NATIVE LANGUAGE.
NOW, YOU START TO FIND MAYBE
ABOUT 5 TO 10 PERCENT CHILDREN NOT
SPEAKING THEIR LANGUAGE
BECAUSE THEY LEARN FROM TV.
AND THEIR PARENTS ARE
STARTING TO COMMUNICATE
ONLY IN ENGLISH TO THEM.
SO THAT'S TOO RAPID.
AND I KNOW THAT'S GOING TO
BE PROBLEMATIC BECAUSE ONE
OF THE PROBLEMS THAT I HEAR
YOUNG PEOPLE SAYING, THAT
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER, THAT IS
CONTRIBUTING TO THEIR
CONFUSION TODAY IS THE
LOSS OF THAT CULTURE.
IN MANY AREAS, IT'S BEEN TOO FAST.
AND CERTAINLY, WHEN YOUNG
PEOPLE COME INTO THE CITY
THE CHANGE IS TRAUMATIC.
MANY OF THEM ARE NOT
EQUIPPED TO COPE WITH THOSE
MASSIVE CHANGES THAT HAPPEN.
THEY QUIT, THEY GO BACK
HOME AND LIVE A LIFE
OF CONFUSION.
(native wind music plays)

Young men of native stock walk across a city road. A clip taken from a small,
low-flying plane shows the snow-covered frozen lake and the pine forests on
either side. A hawk flies high above it. A decorated white and orange teepee
stands at the edge of the forest. A native American walks through the deep
snow in knitted boots.

Eva says JIM BELIEVES THAT IF
YOU PEEL AWAY THE INFLUENCE
OF INSTITUTIONS LIKE CHURCH
AND GOVERNMENT, YOU WILL
FIND BURIED BENEATH THEM
THE CLAN TRADITIONS AND
PRACTICES THAT WERE
THOUSANDS OF YEARS EVOLVING
ON THIS CONTINENT.
RECENTLY, HE AND HIS WIFE
ADOPTED A CHILD FROM ONE
OF THE NEARBY COMMUNITIES.
THEY ARE RAISING HIM WITH THE
LANGUAGE AND TRADITIONS OF
HIS HERITAGE.

A pencil drawing shows a long-haired, grim-faced ancestor in his sixties, wearing
disk-shaped earrings, bead necklaces and native costume.

Jim says I WANT TO FOCUS ON
MAKING SURE THAT THE KID
KNOWS WHO HE IS.
I WANT HIM TO BE
PROUD OF WHO HE IS.
AND THAT'S ESSENTIALLY
WHAT THE ELDERS DID TO ME.
AND THEY QUESTIONED ME VERY,
VERY HARD ON MY INNER FEELINGS.
WHY DID I DRINK? WHY WAS I ANGRY?
AND I HAD TO TELL THEM.
YOU COULDN'T LIE TO THOSE PEOPLE.
AND I SPENT MANY WONDERFUL
HOURS WITH THOSE MEN.
THEY DIDN'T ALWAYS
QUESTION ME DIRECTLY.
THEY WOULD SPEND LONG HOURS
TELLING STORIES FROM THE PAST.
THEY WOULD SPEND FOUR OR
FIVE HOURS TELLING ME A
STORY ABOUT A MAN WHO
LIVED, YOU KNOW, 60 YEARS AGO.
AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
STORY, IT SUDDENLY DAWNED ON
ME THEY WERE TEACHING ME A
LESSON ABOUT SOME ASPECT
OF MY OWN LIFE.
AND THEY DID THIS FOR
A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS.
AND WHEN I CAME OUT OF THAT
PROCESS, I FELT THEY HAD
REALLY SORT OF... THEY MADE ME
LOOK AT MYSELF MORE DEEPLY.
AND I FELT THAT AFTER THAT,
I WAS PROUD OF WHO I WAS.

In kinder weather, the waters of the lake reflect the vegetation on the shore.

Eva says I HAVE TRAVELLED AND
WORKED AMONG OUR OWN
PEOPLE, ONE OF THE THINGS
I HAVE COME TO REALIZE IS
THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE IS SUCH
TREMENDOUS LOSS AND KIND OF
"DECIMATION OF A PEOPLE" IN
A SENSE... THAT THE HEALING
THAT WILL COME WILL BE QUICK.
IT WILL BE IN THE SENSE THAT
JUST AS FAST AS WE HAD TO
ADJUST TO SPACE AGE, SO
WE'LL BE ABLE TO RETURN THE
HEALING PROCESS BACK INTO
OUR COMMUNITIES, AND THAT
THE HEALING WILL COME QUICKLY.

Jim says I THINK ONCE YOU HELP
COMMUNITIES GET PAST THE
DENIAL, THAT THE
HEALING WILL COME FAST.
BECAUSE MANY OF THE THINGS
THAT... WE HAVEN'T REALLY
LOST EVERYTHING.
THERE ARE LARGE REMNANTS OF
OUR CULTURE STILL AMONG OUR PEOPLE.
AND I THINK IT'S JUST ALMOST
LIKE REACTIVATING THOSE THINGS.
IT'S NOT AS EASY AS IT
SOUNDS BECAUSE... PARTLY
BECAUSE OF THE ELDERS.
THEY'VE LIVED SORT OF LIKE
THIS "WORLD BETWEEN TWO
WORLDS" FOR 80 YEARS NOW.
YOU CAN'T TELL SOMEBODY
THAT AGE THAT WAS WRONG.
THEY HAVE TO LIVE THEIR LIFE.
BUT THE NEW GENERATIONS, I
THINK, ARE THE ONES THAT WANT TO HEAL.
AND THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT
ARE SAYING THEY WANT TO HEAL.
THEY WANT TO HEAL FROM THE
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SYNDROME,
FOR ONE THING.

An old Residential School photo shows a woman in nun's garb surrounded by
little native girls in white frocks. The old four-storeyed Residential School
buildings appear.

Jim continues AND THEY WANT TO TAKE BACK
THOSE ELEMENTS OF THEIR
CULTURE THAT THEY NEED.
AND I THINK BECAUSE OF THAT,
YOU ARE GOING TO NOTICE
THAT A LOT OF COMMUNITIES
ARE GOING TO HEAL PRETTY FAST.
AND I'M HOPING A LOT OF
PEOPLE WILL HAVE GONE
THROUGH SOME PERSONAL HEALING.
NOT ONLY BY GETTING RID OF
ADDICTIONS, FOR EXAMPLE, BUT
ALSO, YOU KNOW, GOING TO
LONG-TERM COUNSELLING TO
DEAL WITH THE ABUSES THAT
THEY'VE SUFFERED, SO THEY
CAN BECOME FUNCTIONAL AGAIN.
SO RATHER THAN BEING, SAY, 95
PERCENT UNPRODUCTIVE AND
JUST HURTING, THEY'LL BE
95 PERCENT HEALED, AND THEIR
COMMUNITIES WILL BE MORE...
I DON'T KNOW, MORE "ALIVE."
THAN THEY ARE NOW.
AND BY DOING SO, THEN I THINK
WE CAN GET A BETTER HANDLE
ON WHAT WE ARE GOING TO
DO FOR THE LONG TERM.
MORE LONG-RANGE PLANNING, I GUESS.
AND CERTAINLY, IN TEN YEARS,
AT LEAST IN OUR AREA,
I THINK THAT WE WILL HAVE
SOME FORM OF OUR OWN
SELF-GOVERNMENT BY THEN.
WE WILL CONTROL EDUCATION.
THIS MONTH WE ARE SIGNING
OUR OWN POLICING AGREEMENT.
SO, AS OF THIS MONTH, WE'LL
CONTROL OUR OWN POLICE FORCES.
IN TEN YEARS WE'LL CONTROL
OUR OWN SOCIAL SERVICES,
EDUCATION, CORRECTIONAL
SYSTEMS, THAT SORT OF THING.
THE HARD PART IS GOING TO
BE TAKING OVER THE JUSTICE
SYSTEMS AND THE LAND.
AND BY DOING SO I THINK WE
WILL... OUR COMMUNITIES
WILL HAVE A BETTER
CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES
AND THEIR FUTURES.

Some young people from Jim's community sit together on a low wall in a park.
Dancers' feet display ornamental anklets over fur-lined ceremonial mocassins.

(Orchestral and lyrical native music plays)
Over shots of the wooded lake shore, the End Credits roll.

Produced by Jim Hanley, Jim Hyder.

Coproduced and Written by Patricia Michael.

Directed by Daniel Robinson.

Associate Producer, Elinor Barr.

Edited by Patrick Malone.

Post-Production Facilities, TVOntario.

For TVOntario, Marjorie Robinson.

Supervisor of Production, Paul McConvey.

Executive Producer, Jim Hanley.

A Co-Production of TVOntario and Sleeping Giant Productions in association
with Vision T.V..

The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. 1994.

Watch: Jim Morris