News+Politics January 24, 2012
Wab Kinew on Getting Attention for Native Stories

Wab Kinew, musician and CBC host in Winnipeg, says non-Native Canadians find it hard to care about Native issues unless they can see how those issues relate to themselves. He says the story of residential schools is a good example.

In this clip, Wab talks about...

Getting non-Native Canadians to connect to his father's experiences
"I told a story on The National about my father's experience with residential schools... he was raped by a nun. There's no way around it. When it is a dark-skinned native man telling his story with black and white photos from another generation I don't think the average Canadian relates to that. When I told his story, I put my son in front of the camera, he's fair-skinned and he's five years old, and i wonder what if... I look at my son and he's the age now that my dad was when he was taken away - could he handle the beatings? could he handle the other stuff that I don't even want to think about? - and I think when a non-Native Canadian sees that, they see somebody who looks like their son, like their grandson then, all of the sudden, holy cow, that's what happened to these people. Somebody went into their homes -- what if somebody tried to come, what if they came to the suburbs and tried to take away my 5-year-old grandson. what would that mean to us? What would it mean if they took little Billy or Jane away from the school yard and took them to some totally foreign different country? And that's what I'm talking about. When we get past these barriers and fences that divide us, we have a lot in common. and so with story telling i believe we can break down the barriers and break down the fences and say walk a mile in my moccassins."



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