From Musqueam to China: documentary tells story of Chinese-Indigenous family reconnecting
Film tells how 4 Musqueam siblings travelled to China to see the village where their father grew up
In 2013, the elderly Grant siblings had an intercontinental family reunion.
The four brothers and sisters, from Musqueam First Nation in Vancouver, travelled to China that year to meet their father's side of the family and visit his ancestral home for the first time.
Their story was captured by director Alejandro Yoshizawa in the Absolutely Canadian documentary All Our Father's Relations, available on CBC Gem.
"It was personally fascinating to see how they had to navigate their upbringing and their identities," said Yoshizawa.
"Ultimately, it's a family story, and seeing how they negotiate not only Canadian legislation, prejudice, but also their own relationship with their mother and father. I think it speaks to a lot of people."
Watch All Our Father's Relations on CBC Gem:
Yoshizawa says while the story of the Grants's reunion is a joyous one, the backstory is less so.
The Grants' father was one of the over 80,000 payers of the Head Tax, and as Indigenous people, the Grants experienced prejudice through the Indian Act and more which often kept the family separated.
'We didn't know how to reconnect'
Larry Grant, a Musqueam elder, was one of the siblings to make the trip.
He says those past experiences with racist laws made them wary of going, but they were getting into their 70s and found out their father's family's ancestral home could soon be bulldozed.
"We said, okay, we're going. It was almost instant," he said. "We actually never wanted to go to China. I don't know if you've seen Cedar and Bamboo: it shows a lady from Lillooet being, in her mind, deserted in China and treated as a family slave. That was our impression of what might happen to us if we were ever to go to China as youth.
"As we got older the fear subsided, but we didn't know how to reconnect."
Grant says when they went to their father's village, they were surprised how modern and familiar it was.
"It was just not how we imagined rural China would look like," he said.
All Our Father's Relations is part of the CBC documentary series Absolutely Canadian available on CBC Gem.