Everyday Activist - We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice (CIFF 2016)

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 03:00 PM

We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice (CIFF 2016)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

When I grow up, I want to be Alanis Obomsawin. At 84 years old she has the same energy and spirit as person a quarter of her age. During a lecture given at Mount Royal University on Tuesday, she passionately articulated her reasons for making documentary films as vehicle to change the world and provided an example of where this was true in Alberta. We watched a film called Richard Cardinal: Cry from a Diary of a Métis Child. This film from the 1980s helped open up a conversation about aboriginal child welfare in Alberta and as a result policy changes were made. Fast forward 30 years to Alanis’s latest film We Cannot Make the Same Mistake Twice deals with same issues of aboriginal children being removed from their homes due to chronic lack of funding rather than other measures being taken first.

Nearly a decade earlier in 2007, Dr. Cindy Blackstock among others raised the alarm bells that the aboriginal child welfare system had problems. This January, yes you read that correctly, January 2016, they won their case against the Canadian Government who constantly tried to delay and have the case dismissed. In April 2016, the Tribunal issued another order to the Canadian Government to pick up the pace on implementing the January ruling. With the release of this film to educate Canadians about what has happened in the courts, hopefully they can help speed up this process.

Much of this documentary while in the context of the tribunal gave insight into the history of First Nations people; from experiences in residential schools to culturally significant ceremonies regarding children. Alanis does a fantastic job of providing archival images and footage to accompany some of the testimony provided by the various witnesses. Giving the viewers a chance to read the highlighted sections of the documents in question, keeps them engaged in the proceedings as well as provide tangible proof that the Canadian Government has in fact known about these issues for decades but hasn’t done anything to solve the problems. I particularly enjoyed the footage towards the end of film when Dr. Robert Joseph, hereditary chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation, spoke about the ceremonies regarding a child’s place in his community. Alanis followed up his voice with images he described.

Canada is a different place than it was even ten years ago. Many First Nation film makers and those interested in telling First Nations stories from all over Canada have contributed their voices to help the next generation of decision makers understand the current status of aboriginal issues as well as how we got here. As Canadians these films provide proof that our governments haven’t always acted in the best interests of all of its people. It’s up to us to hold them accountable now that we know of the injustices that have occurred in the past and present; may we never have to deal with them in the future. We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice screens Wednesday Sep 28, 6:30 pm At Globe Downstairs and Thursday Sep 29, 4:00 pm at Globe Upstairs. Director Alanis Obomsawin and interviewee Dr. Cindy Blackstock will be in attendance at both screenings. 

Calgary Showtimes: 17th Calgary International Film Festival 2016 > | We Can't Make the Same Mistake Twice >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.