It was a full house for the opening of a new movie about residential schools at the Gitanmaax Tri Town Theatre in Hazelton last week.
The film, set in the late 1950s, follows a seven-year old-boy as he’s torn from his Ojibway family and sent to a residential school.
The education coordinator at the Gitanmaax Band Office, Pansy Wright-Simms helped bring the movie to town and organized the opening night, which was free to attend. She felt it was important for it to be screened here.
“There are so many within people in our nation and our neighbouring nations that have been affected by residential schools,” she said. “We are living with the trials and tribulations, turmoil and pain. We see it in the people day in and day out.”
Although she said it was difficult to watch at times.
“I could relate to it as a Gitxsan woman that has had family members who attended residential schools,” she added. However she knows of a few people who did not want to attend because it was in a public venue or did not want to relive the pain.
There were support people present to ensure those that may have been triggered could have support then and for the days to follow.
Also on hand were some people from the film. Wright-Simms said her office coordinated their efforts with I love First Nations to have a producer and an actor present for the screening and a Q and A afterwards.
Overall, she said the movie was good but heard some feedback from residential school victims that parts of the film were sugar coated.