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My Auntie survived residential school. I need to gather her stories before she’s gone | Inendi

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Published 10 months ago

With a pandemic threatening to take our elders, Sarain Fox gathers stories from her auntie and matriarch, Mary Bell, who holds the family’s history: the legacy, the trauma, the truth. #CBCShortDocs #AloneTogether #Inendi

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“Elders are the most vulnerable to this pandemic and they are our knowledge keepers.”
— Sarain Fox

In Sarain Fox’s Anishinaabe culture, women lead the family. Her auntie, Mary Bell, is the oldest surviving matriarch, and she holds the family’s history: the stories, the trauma, the truth. She is a knowledge keeper.

The Indigenous way is to sit with elders while they live. And Fox’s job, as the youngest in her family, is to carry on those ways.

Mary is a residential school survivor who worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to document the stories of other survivors. And now that she’s an elder, she’s focused on how those stories will live on.

Elders are knowledge keepers, but they are also among the most vulnerable to COVID-19. The pandemic is threatening to cut a line of knowledge that has survived for generations. Fox reckons with this tension and her duty to sit with her auntie to document her stories before they are lost.

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