First world’s third world

Filmmaker visits Queen’s to talk poverty in Aboriginal communities

The film documents eight youth who became orphaned after their parents' suicides.
The film documents eight youth who became orphaned after their parents' suicides.
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Documentary filmmaker Andrée Cazabon wants Canadians to realize that the third world is far closer to them than they may believe.

Cazabon and her team visited Kingston from Monday to Wednesday of this week as part of a tour around Ontario and Quebec to advertise her fifth and latest documentary, Third World Canada.

The film focuses on the Northern Ontarian community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, known as K.I., and the plight of the Aboriginal people who live there. It’s centered on the lives of eight siblings whose parents died by suicide.

Nineteen-year old Nadine Fainnawat, one of the siblings who’s featured prominently in the film, spoke at the Wednesday night’s screening at Duncan McArthur Hall.

“I wrote a speech and I was not planning to read it at all,” she said.

“I finished even though I stuttered a lot. I’m really proud of myself because I’ve never spoken at any of these events before and I’m learning to be more confident.”

Fainnawat, who now lives in Thunder Bay, said she was impressed with the welcoming atmosphere in Kingston.

“I was really amazed in Kingston because lately we haven’t seen much youth at the events and I was really surprised that there were so many young people volunteering and really excited to meet us,” she said.

Filmmaker Cazabon reached out for help from various community members to organize and advertise these events, including Michaela Beynon, MSc ’14.

After seeing the film in 2010 when it first came out, Beynon went to Northern Ontario and volunteered her time doing health education in a First Nations community.

This is what sparked her interest in helping out with the Third World Canada tour. “I was very naïve about the situation occurring in the North so I came back down to the South and tried to spread and educate other people about the conditions and experiences in the North,”

Beynon said.

Cazabon also received support from Queens’ Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, along with numerous Kingstonians who had seen the film and wanted to help out.

It’s with this team and her film that Cazabon hopes to continue the discussion and spread awareness through Canada about the third world that exists in our own country.

“I didn’t consider myself racist until I went up to K.I. and I had to confront the reality of my own people,” Cazabon said.

“I think what leads to these conditions is a lot of our policies are based on racist paternalistic laws [in Aboriginal communities].” The conditions she’s referring to include abject poverty, lack of running water and low funding for education in the communities.

“The story follows how the community tries to look after them amidst third world conditions. In the community of K.I. there are 180 people on the waitlist for housing, so keeping the siblings together is next to impossible,” Cazabon said.

She said she hopes the film will make these issues known to all Canadians, sparking a larger dialogue.

She highlights that members of K.I. and other Aboriginal communities are open to working towards a solution with other Canadians.

The tour is what Cazabon hopes will be the catalyst to sparking this larger discussion.

“The solution is bringing these two groups together,” she said.

“With friendship and dialogue we start to see what we can do together. Any kind of outreach any kind of friendship is tremendous healing for the North.”

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