Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, I rise today to congratulate Dr. Tasha Hubbard. She is a well-known Cree film producer and professor at the University of Alberta, but her roots are in Saskatchewan.
Her film, Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, was not only the first Indigenous film to open the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto a few weeks ago; it also won the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary.
To quote a CBC review from April 25:
. . . Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up paints a stark portrait of the landscape surrounding the 2016 death of Boushie, a young Saskatchewan man from Red Pheasant First Nation, and the acquittal of Gerald Stanley, the white farmer who fatally shot him. The case sparked a massive outcry and captured international attention.
In the doc, which Hubbard also narrates, the filmmaker weaves her own personal history into a larger examination of colonialism and racism in the Prairie provinces along with how Boushie’s family continues to pursue landmark changes in our justice system.
“We hope that Nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up shines a light on the significant barriers the Canadian legal system presents to Indigenous peoples and families seeking justice for their loved ones. What Indigenous peoples experience within this system is unacceptable,” the family said Thursday morning in a statement.
Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste; his uncle, Alvin Baptiste; his cousin, Jade Tootoosis; and his lawyers, Eleanore Sunchild and Chris Murphy, have advocated for changes to the justice system here in Ottawa and in New York City at the United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
Colleagues, let me conclude by quoting another review of the film by Lindsay Nixon:
Let me leave you with the last image Hubbard leaves the audience with. . . . Wild horses run on the horizon around a shadowy figure. As the camera zooms in, we see that figure is Colten. He cracks an awkward smile and his eyes glint brightly. In the hearts of his family and loved ones, Colten is forever free on those plains. We stood in ovation, tears in our eyes, some of us still sobbing, and let the light in Boushie’s eyes wash us over.
Colleagues, through Tasha’s film, Colten Boushie will live on in our hearts. His tragic death will continue to inspire change in our judicial system. Thank you.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!