A new documentary exploring questions of land and reconciliation in rural Saskatchewan will have its Manitoba premiere in Winnipeg this weekend.
Custodians: A Story of Ancient Echoes is showing on Saturday, March 4 at 5:00 p.m. in the Lecture Hall at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU). The university’s Art of Peacebuilding class is organizing the event along with Mennonite Church Canada.
Admission is free, and drinks and snacks will be provided.
The film explores the work of local landowners, volunteers and municipal government of Herschel, Sask., in protecting and conserving the many signs of historic Indigenous presence in the region.
A panel discussion that includes David Neufeld, who appears in the documentary, will follow the screening.
Joining him on the panel will be: Melanie Neufeld, director of missions engagement for Mennonite Church Manitoba; Jonathan Neufeld, Indigenous relations coordinator for MC Canada; and Joseph Naytowhow, a singer-songwriter, storyteller and actor from Sturgeon Lake First Nation Band in Saskatchewan.
“At first, I saw our work on this project as being a catalyst for launching Custodians in Manitoba,” says Danika Warkentin, one of the students organizing the event. “I wanted to let the movie speak for itself. But now, I see our role in this project as being actors for change. The work we are doing is relevant and affects how people live their everyday lives. This is an incredibly important role to play.”
Students in the Art of Peacebuilding class were inspired to help organize the screening when their professor, Wendy Kroeker, proposed it as a class project.
“I was very enthusiastic about it,” says Abimbola Onijamah, a graduate student from Nigeria. “Having touched on treaties and land acknowledgments in my previous classes, the opportunity to delve deeper into this project is a dream come true.”
The class hopes that showing the film will contribute to transformation and reconciliation, says Lindsay Scott, a social science major.
“I hope that the project will leave people with a sense of wanting change,” she says, “and a newly formed idea of preserving land and acknowledging the stories of the land.”
Above: The trailer for ‘Custodians: A Story of Ancient Echoes.’
The land speaks
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