As Sept. 30 approaches, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the documentary ‘For Love’ which is narrated by Canadian icon Shania Twain is now available to view on Netflix Canada.
Narrated by the music legend, who is also a long-time advocate for children’s rights, For Love exposes the link between residential schools and the 29,000 Indigenous children and youth currently in Canada’s child welfare system.
The film was produced and written by Mary Teegee of Carrier Sekani Family Services alongside director Matt Smiley.
The film tells the heartbreaking stories of Indigenous people across the country revealing the atrocities inflicted by the Canadian child welfare system; however, the film also shines a light on how Indigenous communities are taking back jurisdictional control of their children in order to ensure that their unique and diverse cultures are preserved for generations to come.
Teegee and Smiley previously collaborated on the award-winning documentary Highway of Tears (2015) which dealt with missing and murdered Indigenous women in British Columbia.
“The horrors of residential schools are finally starting to be understood by non-Indigenous Canadians and Americans,” says producer Mary Teegee.
“I wanted this movie to create awareness about the generational trauma caused by residential schools. But it also celebrates the resilience of our people, and shows how communities across the country are rebuilding family connections and rich cultures.”
Activists Cindy Blackstock and Warner Adam, who is the CEO of CSFS, lend their support as executive producers to For Love as an ongoing part of the work around Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.
Approximately 150,000 children attended residential schools until the last one closed in 1997. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned them as ‘cultural genocide.’
“At this time – more Indigenous families are being separated, with children being removed from communities, by the state-driven child welfare system than were displaced at the height of the residential school system,” said Adam.
“We are finally finding pathways to work with all levels of government while we rebuild our cultural ways of ensuring our children remain safe so they can thrive.”
For Love won Best Documentary at the Mammoth Film Festival and was recently nominated as a finalist for the 2022 Evident Change Media for Justice Society Awards.
For Love focuses a revived respect for the matriarchal system, the need to preserve traditional practices, land-based activities and grass roots initiatives in order to keep having a positive impact on children and families - not only reducing the number of apprehensions, but also renewing Indigenous pride.