Kasabonika Lake News
January 30, 2017
On Tuesday, January 31st, Journalists for Human Rights is showing award winning Canadian film Rhymes for Young Ghouls at the Chief Simeon Mckay Education Centre.
The crime drama is set on the fictional Red Crow Mi’q Maq reservation in 1976. A young girl plots revenge against the residential school, St. Dymphna’s, and the cruel Indian agent who runs it.
The inspiration for the film came from director Jeff Barnaby’s own experience with foster care, and his admiration of the strength and resilience of Indigenous women in his life. In an interview with Muskrat Magazine in 2014, Barnaby says he wanted to have a female protagonist bring down the residential school system.
“It just made sense to me to have a young Native girl bring this institution of ugliness to its knees,” he explained in the magazine. “First Nations women are the language and cultural keepers, they are the epicenter of our matriarchal society. I’ve mostly only known strength to come from the women in my life. Which isn’t to say that the men haven’t been influential, but the rock steady power that doesn’t waiver seems to come from women.”
In the film, the main character Aila is sent to a residential school after losing her mother to suicide and her father to prison. Many people that live in Kasabonika are residential school survivors, including my grandmother June Elise Semple. She sometimes tells me stories about her time at Pelican Falls Residential School.
Here is what she told me:
“Hello, I wanna talk about the residential school.
I was 8 years old, when my mom put me on the plane to go to residential school. I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t know what was going on. But I went. I was going with other students.
We didn’t know where we were going.
We were told to speak English only and I didn’t even know one word. They gave us soap in our mouth if we talk in our language. It was my first time out. And I went home when I was 13.”
My grandmother was lucky she was able to return home. She has told me before that some students tried telling her to tag along and run away with them, into the wilderness. But she didn’t go, and she never saw them again. It’s possible they never got home either.
Anyone is welcome to share their story about attending residential schools before the movie begins. The event starts at 6pm in the school gym and there will be snacks and drinks.
Click here to RSVP to the Facebook event.