Kewekapawetan: Return After the Flood
Dysart, Jennifer Faye Leigh
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The people of South Indian Lake Manitoba are slowly leaving behind a long period of social crisis brought on by the damming of their namesake lake in the 1970’s. The environmental devastation still exists, but the community returns to their original village site once a year for a gathering called Kewekapawetan, meaning “going back” or “looking back” in the Cree language. My film documents my interactions with family members at this gathering in 2008, and uses archival and found footage spanning fifty years, to show how this yearly event represents a positive cultural change for the community. As the filmmaker, I am not only documenting these subtly monumental events; I am also tracing my own disconnected personal history to this place. Central to the story is my father’s unwillingness to return to his family home that he left a long time ago, and my own desire to forge new bonds with this “home” where I have never resided. For the community, revisiting the place where our grandparents lived brings hope for the future after a long period of despair. In parallel, my film documents my personal hope that I will be one day be able to unite my family.