Review: Our People Will Be Healed
A straightforward depiction of de-colonization
Canadian documentarian Alanis Obomsawin brings her latest film Our People Will Be Healed to TIFF this year. Focusing on the Norway House, a Manitoba First Nations community, Obomsawin looks at, in particular, the education offered to the young First Nations students there, with an emphasis on nurturing and encouraging academic growth as well as celebrating culture and heritage. This hopeful vision of progress is contrasted with past stories of Canadian colonial violence, from the historical (retellings of settler-led massacres) to the more contemporary (the only very recently closed residential schools). Obamsawin opts for a no frills look at her subject, giving her material as much space as possible and allowing the very important discussions she has to be given their due. While this can feel too dry, especially in the film’s extremely conventional documentary style (complete with historical recreations and talking heads), it is undeniable that the subject is a necessary one to learn more about, and we can thank Obomsawin for depicting it so thoroughly.