Concerned Aboriginal Women occupy Department of Indian Affairs

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Film/Video
Cx Number:  CX2837

A film depicting the occupation of the Department of Indian Affairs building in Vancouver by a group of Native women in 1981.

Abstract:  This film depicts the occupation of the Department of Indian Affairs building in Vancouver by a group of Native women in 1981. The court system in Canada is not theirs to use, they said, so they refused to use it and chose to occupy the offices until they were heard.

The women who produced this video-tape stayed with the Native women, documenting the occupation, and tell their story from their perspective.

One Day 7, Senator Perrault is sent to negotiate with the women, who request that he remain silent throughout their testimonies. It is these testimonies which vividly explain the reasons that led them to the occupation, and which in the film provide a strong critique of the Department of Inidan Affairs and the Canadian government's policies toward Native people.

The testimonies tell of vastly overcrowded housing; frequent fires because of faulty wiring; of Native children being indocrinated with alien values in their schools; of dependency-creating welfare being available while jobs are not.

The sit-in ends with the police forcibly removing the women, but the film makes it clear that the spirit and resolve of the women remains unbroken.

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