kiskisiwin | remembering

A jingle dress dancer, an 1850s blacksmith and a troop of defiant urban Indians assert Toronto as Indigenous territory and challenge Canadians to re-write their nation’s history.

Creative team

Writer: Jesse Thistle
Directors: Martha Stiegman, Jesse Thistle
Producers: Martha Stiegman, Anders Sandberg

Filmmakers’ statement

As Canada celebrates 150 years of colonialism, we offer kiskisiwin | remembering as an interruption of the pioneer mythology at the foundation of the Canadian historical narrative, and to force a space for Indigenous presence.

For Jesse Thistle, a Métis-Cree doctoral student of history at York University, and a Vanier and Trudeau scholar, this work is deeply personal, and part of his research examining intergenerational trauma and Métis history.

For Martha Stiegman, a settler and assistant professor at York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, kiskisiwin | remembering is part of larger body of documentary video and scholarship that explore the history of treaty-making in eastern Canada, and the settler responsibilities that derive from those agreements.

In this Indigenous/settler collaboration, we work together in the hopes of building healthy, honest relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The film also represents a gesture towards embodying truthful public history displays about the Nation’s past and how positive interventions, such as the small film, can dislocate romantic settler narratives that try to erase Indigenous peoples from the history of Turtle Island.

About Martha Stiegman

Martha Stiegman

Martha is a documentary filmmaker and assistant professor of environmental studies at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Her work has screened in festivals around the world from Tunisia and New Zealand to Brazil. Her debut documentary, In the Same Boat?, explores alliances between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fishing communities in Eastern Canada.

Honour Your Word (2013) is an intimate, behind the barricades portrait of the Barriere Lake Algonquins and their compelling struggle to protect their traditional territory.

Indigenous struggles and settler solidarity have been the focus of Martha’s film work and scholarship for more than a decade.

She holds a joint doctorate in communications studies and political science from Concordia University examining Mi’kmaq treaty and inherent rights.

About Jesse Thistle

Jesse Thistle

Jesse is Métis-Cree from Saskatchewan.

He is a Trudeau-Vanier Scholar and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at York University.

Jesse’s work centres on trauma and memory within populations of Métis and Cree in Northern Saskatchewan, and the Algonquin of Timiskaming, Ontario. Specifically, he looks at how history can be applied to understand and heal the effects of intergenerational trauma in contemporary Indigenous populations.

Jesse’s first film, Finding Mistawasis, explored the discovery of Indigenous identity he experienced while working as a research assistant on “Tracing Métis History through Archives, Artefacts, Oral Histories, and Landscapes.”

The short film outlines Jesse’s reconnection with his mother’s Road Allowance Métis family in Saskatchewan – a family he did not know until the summer of 2013.

Jesse’s film and academic work is directed towards community healing and cultural reclamation as well as retrieval of oral history archives, challenging orthodox settler histories in the narrative of Turtle Island.

4 comments

  1. Thank you for making this video Jesse and Martha! I will soon visit your land and really appreciated your provocative and thoughtful introduction to Canadian history.

  2. Very well done and gracefully executed. I thought the music was beautiful and perfect for the film.

  3. Lauren

    That brought me to tears. Thank you.

  4. John Stiegman

    Martha, it is good to have as a member of our family. You are somebody I can always look to and remember my Uncle Emero. I believe in your support of the indigenous peoples in Canada and in the United States. It always amazed me that we are fighting in New Orleans over Confederate monuments and never think about the Chitimachas, the Houmas, or the Coctaws of Louisisana.

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