Remembering Inninimowin

Jules Koostachin

2010, 76:00 minutes, colour, English/Cree with English Subtitles

TAPECODE 1009.00

Remembering Inninimowin is a two-year long documentary film project on the personal journey of a Cree woman, the documentarist, as she starts to remember her first language, Inninimowin (Cree).

The film addresses the impacts of genocide on the Inninuwak, who have been systematically severed from their language and cultural practices. More specifically, it focuses on the Cree (Inninuwak) peoples who originate from the Mushkegowuk territory, in northern Ontario. Inninimowin is spoken in several communities across Canada, although considered most preserved; it too is at risk of disappearing. Inninimowin is the vehicle for carrying forth the traditional Indigenous knowledge, customary laws, identity, spirituality, as well as the arts. Inninimowin carefully embraces the sacred stories, ceremonial practices and the ancestral teachings of the Mushkegowuk.

Unfortunately, in both the rural and urban Inninuwak communities less people are using Inninimowin to communicate because of the strong English influence and as a direct result of systemic racism, and for these reasons they pose major challenges for the future and the traditional way of life of the Inninuwak. Furthermore, changes in the environment, beliefs and customary practices have had a detrimental influence on Inninuwak urban and rural communities. Yet, with growing and changing perspectives towards what constitutes present day Cree identities come new ideas and approaches, especially in dealing with how we can continue to sustain and preserve the sacred ways and language.

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