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The Meeting House - Oakville
2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville, Ontario L6H 6E1
The Meeting House, in collaboration with the Mennonite Central Committee of Ontario, is hosting an event to engage in dialogue around reconciliation with our Indigenous neighbours. In alignment with the 59th Call to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the evening will be a learning experience about the impact of residential schools and the church's role in reconciliation journey. During the evening, we will be screening the documentary Jingle Dress — First Dance, which follows Jules Koostanchin’s six-year journey in honouring her family. The documentary will be followed by a panel discussion.
Summary of the Film:
Jingle Dress – First Dance chronicles Jules Koostachin’s (Cree, Attawapiskat) six-year quest to dance at a pow wow for the first time in a sacred healing Jingle Dress. Jules’ journey honors her mother who was held against her will as a child for ten years in the Canadian Native Residential School system and her grandmother who didn’t understand that the horrific, abusive system was a deliberate tool of assimilation.
Recognizing the pain and suffering caused by physical, sexual and psychological abuses that happened to children who were taken from their families over the course of more than a century, the Federal Government of Canada formally apologized to Residential School survivors in 2008. As part of the settlement, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission inspired by that of South Africa was established. Jingle Dress – First Dance was invited to screen three times at the seventh and final hearings in Edmonton, 2014. Audience response was overwhelmingly positive – a wonderful acknowledgement of Jules’ decision to include a non-First Nations person as her witness to this story.
Supported by Canada Council for the Arts, Jingle Dress – First Dance is a victory story. In addition to healing the women in her family, Jules had a personal goal: lift herself away from the struggles of being an urban single mother at the end of one career path. Furthering her education at an institution named after one of the policy architects of the Residential School System was only made more poignant by the awards she received. The extent that Jules needed to go to pursue resolve shows in a very personal way how the impact of Indian Residential schools still affects survivors, their families and communities to this day.