We Were Children
SCR Jason Sherman
CAM Jeremy Benning, Kim Bell
ED John Whitcher
MUS Shawn Pierce
PROD CO National Film Board of Canada / Eagle Vision Inc. / eOne Television
For over 130 years—until 1996—more than 100,000 of Canada’s First Nations children were legally required to attend government-funded schools run by various Christian faiths. There were 80 of these "residential schools" across the country. Most children were sent to faraway locations that separated them from their families and traditional land. These children endured brutality, physical hardship, mental degradation and the complete erasure of their culture. The schools were part of a wider program of assimilation designed to integrate the native population into "Canadian society." These schools were established with one express purpose: "To kill the Indian in the child." Children were punished for daring to speak their "heathen" language…
We Were Children chronicles the experiences of a four-year-old girl named Lyna, who was taken to a residential school 500 kilometres from her home, and a young boy named Glen who also suffered the same fate, as his parents were forced to hand him over. Told through their own voices, Timothy Wolochatiuk’s drama explores not just the individual experiences of children forced into Aboriginal residential schools but also the impact that the schools have had on the lives of survivors and Aboriginals as a whole. The acting is natural and credible and the stories are compelling. This is a film you will remember for all the right reasons.