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By the time Sonia Boileau’s grandfather Mitchell left the Shingwauk Indian Residential School in 1947 he no longer knew how to speak his native tongue. The institution had done its job well—Mitchell married and raised children, who didn’t realize until they had children of their own that Mitchell was in fact Mohawk. Sonia now faces a similar stripping away of the First Nation heritage her family only recently reclaimed. According to Canada’s Indian Act, any children she has will not be “officially Indian” unless their father has the requisite percentage of indigenous blood. In this powerful documentary, filmmaker Sonia Boileau returns to Shingwauk to work out the implications of her grandfather’s life and of his death, especially in relation to Canada’s race policies and her own cultural identity.
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