Mamidosewin Centre observes Treaties Recognition Week with film series

Using an educational film series, the Mamidosewin Centre at Algonquin College observed Treaties Recognition Week. It allowed the campus community to learn more about the rights, concerns and lifestyles of Indigenous people. The goal is to connect non-Indigenous people with Indigenous people, but also just to connect person to person. There is always a discussion […]
Photo: Zaynab Safa
Summer Wabasse and other students gather to watch the film Forgotten Warriors.

Using an educational film series, the Mamidosewin Centre at Algonquin College observed Treaties Recognition Week. It allowed the campus community to learn more about the rights, concerns and lifestyles of Indigenous people.

The goal is to connect non-Indigenous people with Indigenous people, but also just to connect person to person. There is always a discussion with the aim of getting people to talk about their views in hopes of hearing different perspectives.

The Mamidosewin Centre hopes that by doing this, it can foster relationships and increase understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. These movies allow everyone the opportunity to learn more about difficult Indigenous issues and Indigenous Veterans Day, as well as International Inuit Day.

“We’re doing a film screening of Forgotten Warriors as part of our treaties recognition week series and also in honour of Indigenous Veteran Day. Forgotten Warriors kind of guides us into the world of Indigenous veterans of the Second World War,” said Summer Wabasse, events and communication officer at the Mamidosewin Centre.

People of The Seal, Part 1 was the first film played on Nov. 7. Forgotten Warriors was played the next day, and The Inconvenient Indian was played on Nov. 9.

“Indigenous people couldn’t be conscripted in the war and so all the Indigenous veterans were volunteers and so they came back and faced discrimination. They might have not the same benefits that non-Indigenous veterans had available to them when they came back from the war,” said Wabasse.

“We’re going to be looking at the relationship between Indigenous people and Indigenous veterans and the governance and hopefully educate people on what happened,” said Wabasse before the film screening.

Summer Wabasse at the Mamidosewin center during the Forgotten Warriors film screening event
Summer Wabasse at the Mamidosewin Centre during the Forgotten Warriors film screening event. Photo credit: Zaynab Safa

The Forgotten Warriors documentary tells the story of thousands of Indigenous Canadians, who were not allowed to be conscripted, joining the military and fighting alongside their fellow citizens during the Second World War. They were then denied equality in their own country while fighting for the freedom of others, and when they returned home, their land had been taken.

“Indigenous veterans before being praised, they were kind of meant to be forgotten and I’m not sure why. It was only just recently that they started to give props to Indigenous veterans,” said Sekhoya Simard, a first-year fitness and health promotion student who attended the event. “This event helps students talk about it so that it can bring more awareness and more peace to history.”

These films gave everyone the opportunity to learn more about complex Indigenous issues and help remember Indigenous Veterans Day and International Inuit Day.

“The goal of the treaties series is really to broaden the understanding for the entire student body on different Indigenous issues. Nov. 7 is International Inuit Day. And though treaties recognition week is an Ontario-recognized week and the Inuit do not have any signed treaties in Ontario, they have what they call ‘modern treaties’ or ‘land claims’ and so we tied it in with this documentary called People of The Seal,” said Wabasse.

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