Freedom Road: YOUTH / OSHKAADIZIIG
Angelina McLeod | Short Documentary
Canada | 2019 | 14 min
Saturday, October 26, 2019 | 1:15pm
Shorts Program: Precipice
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3
Freedom Road is a five-part documentary series that tells the inspiring story of Shoal Lake 40 Anishinaabe First Nation and their battle to build a road, after their community was forcibly relocated and cut off from the mainland over 100 years ago so that water could be diverted to the city of Winnipeg. Director and Shoal Lake 40 member Angelina McLeod uses an innovative, community-driven approach to storytelling that highlights the community’s dignity, strength and perseverance, as they take back control of their narrative and their future in the process of building Freedom Road.
Episode Synopsis (short) - Freedom Road: Youth/Oshkaadiziig
Shoal Lake 40 youth share what it’s like to be forced to live away from their close-knit families and community to attend high school in Kenora, Ontario. The community’s school provides courses up to the Grade 8 level only, so there are no other options for young people who want to continue their education. Some of the young men are able to work on the construction of the road, a rare opportunity to have a good job in the community. The pride of the youth in doing this work is palpable, and they express the gratification that comes with providing safety for their Elders and opportunities for future generations. Despite the systemic and personal racism they’ve already experienced, Freedom Road gives the youth a sense of optimism and instills hope in them for the future of their community and their own ability to contribute.
Angelina McLeod is an activist, scholar, filmmaker and mother from Shoal Lake 40 Anishinaabeg First Nation, located on the border of Manitoba and Ontario. She was the Indigenous Scholar-in-Residence at the Manitoba Museum and is currently a University of Manitoba graduate student working on her thesis under the supervision of Dr. Niigaanwewidam Sinclair. Angelina is studying sacred Midewiwin birch-bark scrolls, which have been passed down through her family for generations.
Angelina was also featured in Charlene Moore’s When the Children Left, a documentary about her life and the death of her sister, who went missing after leaving the community to attend high school. She is collaborating with Jessica Kornwall on a photo-archival project about Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and her family that’s scheduled to be completed by summer 2020.