Canada’s dark, behind-the-headlines history of the Indian Residential School system has only begun to surface within the past decade.
Testimonies from former students whose experiences are so dark and bleak, it’s hard to believe such an inhumane, government-funded, church-run school could ever exist.
What some might forget is that the victims were only children when they attended.
Writer/director: Dinae Robinson
Producer: Winnipeg Film Group First Film Fund
How the Savage Came to Be was initially a poem I wrote; walking the Winnipeg streets was my inspiration. Every day we see the impact that colonization and oppression have had on Indigenous people – my people.
It invigorates gloom, rage and pride within me, all at once. Pride because we are resilient, strong and proud of our culture and the path we have walked as a nation and we are still here. I want to generate those exact feelings in the audience while they watch my film.
What the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has done is pave the way and create a pathway for reconciliation to happen. It has not only created awareness; it has lead the way to acknowledgement of the heinous acts committed to former students and stolen children of the 60’s Scoop. The Idle No More and Standing Rock demonstrations and occupations have thrust Indigenous issues into media attention like never before which is where they belong.
Although not 100% there, we are on our way. The Canadian government has acknowledged, apologized and now must act. I believe reconciliation starts with acknowledgement of the injustices and inhumane acts done to the Indigenous people with a sincere understanding and compassionate approach. Reconciliation must include restoring and abiding by the treaties: reinstating the lands, economic self-sufficiency (sovereignty) and political authority to Indigenous people.
Reconciliation will be in sight when Indigenous people have the same living conditions as mainstream Canadians. When reserves have the same clean water, proper housing, affordable food and living costs as the rest of Canada.
We will know we are hearing reconciliation when we no longer hear “just move,” or “get over it,” or “it wasn’t me or my family who did it,” but will instead be outraged by the third world living conditions or the residential school legacy. And when a missing Indigenous person gets the same media attention, compassion and concern as a missing non-Indigenous person.
I believe this starts with education and compassion.
I am an intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential School system. I have experienced racism, both systemic and social. I know from personal experience the legacy impact this has on families and communities, which is why I am dedicating my life to standing up for Indigenous rights.
About Dinae Robinson
Dinae Robinson is a screenwriter and director from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
A proud Anishinaabekwe, all Dinae’s work is influenced by the spiritual traditional way of life and the social and political issues that Indigenous people have endured historically and presently.
Initially starting out in film in front of the camera [as an actor], Dinae credits the CBC New Indigenous Voices course for influencing her move to the creative development side, behind the camera.
An intergenerational survivor of the Indian Residential School system, Dinae felt it was imperative for her first film to be a piece that acknowledged Canada’s dark history and the ripple effect that it has on impacted Indigenous people.
Dinae is currently working on two feature scripts: Two Spirited Brute and Starlight Tours.
How the Savage Came to Be is Dinae’s first short film.