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Sisters & Brothers / Soeurs et frères

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A pounding critique of Canada’s colonial history, Kent Monkman’s Sisters & Brothers draws parallels between the annihilation of the bison and the devastation inflicted by the residential school system.

Once 75 million strong, wild bison were slaughtered almost to extinction by European settlers by the 1890s, both for their hides and as part of a larger policy to eliminate the main food source of the First Nations of the plains. Around the same time, residential schools were established to remove Aboriginal children from their families in order to assimilate them into mainstream Canadian society.

The powwow-step rhythms of Tribe Called Red’s “The Road” drive home the legacy of loss and pain inflicted by more than a century of abuse and neglect. Sisters & Brothers mourns the preventable deaths of thousands of Aboriginal children in residential schools while honouring the resiliency of Canada’s First Peoples.

Sisters & Brothers is part of Souvenir, a four-film series addressing Indigenous identity and representation by reworking material in the NFB’s archives.

2015, 03 min 41 s

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