A new four-part documentary aims to teach Thunder Bay what it’s like to be a First Nations person in the community.
Filmmaker Michelle Derosier said the $45,000 Walk-a-Mile Film Project has the ambitious goal of fostering diversity discussions, developing mutual respect and dispelling myths and stereotypes which create mistrust and fear.
The title says it all, she said.
“Really, that’s what we’re trying to achieve here. I will be gathering stories from a number of people in the community about a variety of issues,” said Derosier, owner of Thunderstone Pictures.
“It’ll be some of the issues that maybe people wonder about, but are maybe to afraid to ask, anything from treaties to land issues to stereotypes to residential schools and Aboriginal contributions in the community.”
Through the films, Derosier said she hopes to spread knowledge and create change.
“Knowledge is power. So when you have that knowledge and you have that understanding, respect is born from that,” she said.
“And oftentimes in the community when we have problems with race relations or we’re dealing with racism in the community, I think sometimes the root can be lack of knowledge and lack of understanding. We’re really trying to achieve understanding with this project.”
The films are being produced in conjunction with the City of Thunder Bay. Both the filmmakers and the municipality have begun the process of actively seeking sponsors to help cover the cost of the project, which they hope to launch Feb. 6 at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium.
To date they’ve raised more than $18,750 of the expected cost.
City clerk John Hannam said promoting better understanding of the Aboriginal community to the broader community of Thunder Bay is good for everyone.
It also fits into the city’s Aboriginal strategic plan, which is based on building relationships with the First Nation’s community.
“Through the work that we’ve been doing over the last five years, and in our experience even before that, there is a general lack of understanding of the reality of the experience of the Aboriginal community. We’ve been tossing this around for awhile, actually,” Hannam said.
The project germinated through a conversation between Hannam and Desrosiers that took place earlier this year.
“We thought we could address that,” he said.
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