Originally Posted: Spring 2009
The Canadian Studies Center recently partnered with the Native Voices program and the other Jackson School Outreach Centers to bring the first Native Voices alum, Rosemary Gibbons, back to Seattle to discuss her award-winning documentary film, A Century of Genocide in the Americas: The Residential School Experience, at the Ninth Annual Documentary Film Workshop: Coming of Age in a Changing World.
The workshop brought together 45 K-16 educators from throughout the Pacific Northwest to analyze and discuss the uses of international documentary film in K-16 curriculum, and featured the films Persepolis, Young and Restless in China, and A Century of Genocide in the Americas. The keynote speaker of the event, Diana Hess, opened the day by framing documentary film as “perspective-laden narratives.” The workshop was facilitated by Daniel Mirsky from the College of Education.
A Century of Genocide in the Americas is a poignant and painful look at the attempts to assimilate First Nations children at the turn of the twentieth century, resulting in families being split up, children losing their language and heritage, and widespread sexual abuse. After discussing this painful past, the film looks forward and focuses on healing practices now being utilized in Canadian communities, ending on a positive note. The film was well-received by the educators and they expressed a keen interest in being able to hear firsthand what Rosemary experienced in creating the film, and in using the film (of which every educator received a copy) in their classroom.
Rosemary Gibbon’s presentation and the Ninth Annual Documentary Film Workshop were made possible, in part, from the Center’s Title VI grant, US Department of Education, Office of International Education and Graduate Program Services and by the Native Voices Program.