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Digital Stories project reveals pain of survivors

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Aug. 7 -- Wendy McNab's movie, featured in the Digital Stories event, discusses her relationship with her mother as she was growing up. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) METRO

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Aug. 7 -- Wendy McNab's movie, featured in the Digital Stories event, discusses her relationship with her mother as she was growing up. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) METRO Photo Store

The Millennium Library is hosting Digital Stories: Exploring the Legacy of Residential Schools, a film project in which several aboriginal adults describe their experiences being parented by residential school survivors.

Digital Stories will show at the Carol Shields Auditorium at the Millennium Library on Aug. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Researchers Roberta Stout and Wendy McNab were part of the first group of women that created Digital Stories. Since 2010, they have presented their movies more than 40 times to universities, conferences, and organizations.

Outreach services librarian Kim Parry first heard about Digital Stories through a friend at the Oral History Centre.

"It’s about the intergenerational trauma, which a lot of people don’t think about. I just thought that these are the kinds of stories the library should be really showcasing," Parry said.

"It’s something that is close to our hearts," McNab, 42, said.

But breaking the silence was tough to do in the beginning. McNab said at first there had been six other women, including herself, that sat down to create the content for Digital Stories.

"That was the first time any of us had ever spoken about being parented by our mothers who went to residential school," McNab said.

However, McNab’s ultimate fear in pursuing this project was making her mother look bad.

"I didn’t want to make my mom sound like she was horrible, but there were certain things I wished my mom would’ve done for me," McNab admitted.

McNab outlined her relationship with her mother in her digital story called nikâwiy ekwa niya, which translates to mother daughter. The story focused on the absence of emotional expression in their mother-daughter relationship when McNab was growing up.

McNab said Digital Stories is a meaningful project because there is emotion and authenticity behind the research.

"There’s so much research that’s been done on us and it’s so disconnected," McNab said. "I’m talking about non-indigenous researchers. There’s no connection — it’s stats and facts and words. We don’t need non-indigenous researchers researching us anymore."

For more information about Digital Stories, visit pwhce.ca/program_aboriginal_digitalStories or call the library at 204-986-6450.

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