The Haweaters film is a thought-provoking visual experiment, unveiling the subtle complexities of Indigenous inter-generational trauma on Manitoulin—the world’s largest freshwater island, nestled off Lake Huron’s northern shore. Once a cornerstone in the western expansion of the Canadian Confederation, Manitoulin retains enduring scars from its colonial history. While official accounts celebrate the island’s pioneering role in shaping Canada, the persistent trauma often remains camouflaged as collateral damage—a hidden cost deemed essential in forging one of the planet’s wealthiest and most progressive nations.

Despite over a decade of the ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ process, the Canadian identity, bound to its colonial history, hinders Indigenous self-determination. While the nation’s multicultural fabric contributes to its progressive global reputation, mainstream media often spotlights the consequences of inter-generational trauma, neglecting the exploration of its causes and a comprehensive strategy for Indigenous self-sufficiency within the Canadian mosaic.

Since 2009, I have been pondering to thrive in a system rooted in the methodical oppression of Indigenous people - a shared trait in post-colonial nations. This project departs from the “Haweaters” oral tradition, narrating stories of trauma and coexistence amid a merciless modernity where Indigenous wounds still bleeds, while Manitoulin Island remains abandoned to its rural oblivion. A common plight throughout the least urbanized corners of the country.

Evocative visuals, multiple-exposures, video footage, field recordings, candid interviews, and archival fragments are dynamically edited. Intertwined with glitches and interferences, they unravel a series of whitewashed genealogical processes, revealing diverse voices, perspectives, and several layers of acculturation often overshadowed by sensational headlines about the dreadful effects of a questionable colonial past.

Diverging from traditional journalism, I delved deeply into the daily existence of the islanders, occasionally setting aside the camera to genuinely adopt their lifestyle. The primary objective of this film is to educate Canadians of diverse backgrounds about the origins of their nation, cautioning newcomers facing oppression in their countries, about the palpable risk of unintentionally becoming de-facto oppressors in pursuit of the Canadian dream.

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