Where the Spirit Lives
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (March 2009)|
|Where the Spirit Lives|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bruce Pittman|
|Produced by||Heather Haldane
Mary Young Leckie
|Written by||Keith Ross Leckie|
|Starring||Michelle St. John
Kim Bruisedhead Fox
|Music by||Buffy Sainte-Marie|
|Edited by||Michael Todd|
|Distributed by||Amazing Spirit Productions Ltd.|
|Running time||96 min.|
Where the Spirit Lives (1989) is a drama film about Aboriginal children in Canada being taken from their tribes to attend residential schools for assimilation into majority culture. Written by Keith Ross Leckie and directed by Bruce Pittman, it aired on CBC Television in 1989.
The film starred Michelle St. John as Amelia, a young First Nations girl captured and confined to the residential school system of the 1930s. The system was an attempt to have aboriginal youth to assimilate into the majority European-Canadian culture. Amelia resists assimilation and plans her escape. The film's cast includes Ann-Marie MacDonald and David Hemblen as teachers at the school.
In 1937, a young First Nations girl named Ashtoh-Komi is kidnapped along with several other children from a village as part of a Canadian policy to educate First Nations children and assimilate them into Canadian/British society. She is taken to a boarding school, where she is forced to adopt Western Euro-centric ways and learn English, often under harsh treatment. One teacher is portrayed as sympathetic and she becomes repelled by the bigotry of others at the school. She offers Ashtoh-Komi help. Forced to take the name Amelia, Ashtoh-Komi determines to hold on to her First Nations identity and encourages her younger sibling to do so as well. She plans their escape.
- Michelle St. John - Astoh-Komi/Amelia
- Clayton Julian - Pita/Abraham
- Ann-Marie MacDonald- Kathleen
- Ron White - Taggert 
- David Hemblen - Reverend Buckley
- Doris Petrie - Miss Weir
- Sleeping Children Awake, a 1992 documentary about residential schools
- We Were Children, a 2012 Canadian documentary about residential schools
- Our Spirits Don't Speak English (2008), a documentary film about Native American boarding schools in the United States.
- Where the Spirit Lives, Screen Door Website
- Where the Spirit Lives at the Internet Movie Database
- Where the Spirit Lives at AllMovie
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