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On violence and vengeance: Rhymes for Young Ghouls and the horrific history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools

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Thank you for sharing this. I hadn’t heard about this film before. I was actually feeling rather down due to a conversation that forcibly reminded me of the denial most Americans-even many indigenous Americans sadly, are still living in with regard to the current and ongoing nature of colonization and genocide.
So many discussions give me cognitive dissonance because it feels like I am discussing one subject and the other person who is supposedly discussing the same topic, appears to be unaware of most of it. The repetitive references to anything negative re settlers to natives being only far in the past give me a sort of mental and emotional vertigo.
Your post appeared in my email just in time to reassure me that I really am not insane, or illogically fixated in the past. The problems are real, current and ongoing and it really is worth speaking out about it all in spite of the disconcerting reception.


by Sean Carleton

** Editor’s note: If you have not seen the movie Rhymes for Young Ghouls, this article likely contains spoilers. **

Download the PDF version of this article here.

Written and directed by Mi’gmaq filmmaker Jeff Barnaby, Rhymes for Young Ghouls offers an unflinching fictional account of Indigenous agency in the face of the horrors of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. Set in the 1970s on the Mi’gmaq Red Crow reserve, known as the Kingdom of the Crow, the film stars Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs as Aila, a tough teenage girl with artistic aspirations and a deep-seated hatred for the sadistic Indian Agent, Popper (Mark Antony Krupa). Popper runs the St. Dymphna’s Residential School and the Red Crow reserve with an iron fist and his heavy-handed tactics mobilize a group of Indigenous youth led by Aila to exact revenge. In the end, Aila’s courageous actions free her consciousness and…

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Author: ohnwentsya

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