CONTENT WARNING: Please be advised that this guide contains references to sensitive material, including violence, sexual assault, and abuse. Students can access 24 hour support from the Good2Talk Helpline at 1-866-925-5454. Support for staff is available through the Employee Family Assistance Program. Access more resources available to the Centennial College community through the Centre for Accessible Learning and Counselling Services.
Highway of Tears (2015)
available via Mediasite
Highway of Tears is about the missing or murdered women along a 724 kilometer stretch of highway in northern British Columbia. None of the 18 cold-cases since the 1960's had been solved, until project E-Pana (a special division of the RCMP) managed to link DNA to Portland drifter, Bobby Jack Fowler with the 1974 murder of 16 year-old hitchhiker, Colleen MacMillen. In Canada, over 600 Indigenous women have been reported missing or been murdered since the 1960s. Viewers will discover what the effects of generational poverty, residential schools, systemic violence, and high unemployment rates have done to First Nations reserves and how they tie-in with the missing and murdered women in the Highway of Tears cases. Indigenous women are considered abject victims of violence, now find out what First Nations leaders are doing to try and swing the pendulum in the other direction.
This short documentary offers an Indigenous perspective on the devastating experience of searching for a loved one who has disappeared. Volunteer activist Kyle Kematch and award-winning writer Katherena Vermette have both survived this heartbreak and share their histories with each other and the audience. While their stories are different, they both exemplify the beauty, grace, resilience, and activism born out of the need to do something.
Four Anishinabe women recount their own personal experiences and views on racism and sexism, and how the two relate to Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women.
Acclaimed Métis filmmaker Christine Welsh brings us a compelling documentary that puts a human face on a national tragedy – the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The film takes a journey into the heart of Indigenous women's experience, from Vancouver's skid row, down the Highway of Tears in northern BC, and on to Saskatoon, where the murders and disappearances of these women remain unsolved.
The Red Dress (1978)
available via NFB
Renowned Métis author and screenwriter Maria Campbell explores themes of cultural identity, sexual assault and the familial impact of colonialism in The Red Dress, echoing the themes of her seminal memoir, Halfbreed.
Kelly is a Métis man without treaty or hunting rights, struggling to sustain his traditional life. His daughter Theresa longs for a red dress from France that she believes will give her power and strength, as the bear claw once did for her great-grandfather Muskwa. When Theresa escapes an assault and Kelly turns his back on his daughter, he realizes that he must reconnect with his culture in order to make things right. Today, the red dress is a powerful symbol recognizing over 1,000 missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.
"Art is a powerful tool for commemoration. Public commemorations, through art, can help bring forward personal stories of colonial violence. Art as commemoration bears witness to injustice, recognizes human dignity of victims and survivors, and calls institutions, systems and structures to account."
Check out these links to find some of those artistic expressions relating to missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people in Canada.
Ignorance by Terry McCue (2017)
The disproportionate number of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people (MMIG2S) in Canada is a human rights crisis. "In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada supported the call for a national public inquiry into the disproportionate victimization of Indigenous women and girls. The National Inquiry’s Final Report was completed and presented to the public on 3 June 2019" (The Canadian Encyclopedia).
This guide contains resources to learn about MMIWG2S and the path towards reconciliation.
Photo via CBC News
Thank you to librarian technician, Ishrat Gulshan, for her care and attention in creating of the first iteration of this guide. It is currently maintained by School of English and Liberal Studies librarian, Stephanie Power. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, email firstname.lastname@example.org.