RIIS from Amnesia / by Riis Media

RIIS from Amnesia

Genre: documentary

Length: 47 mins 10 secs

Directors: Janine Windolph and Trudy Stewart

Produced by: RIIS Media Project, Inc.

RIIS from Amnesia, is a short documentary on the Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS), its descendants and legacy.  Run by the Presbyterian Church of Canada, the school opened its doors in 1891, drawing students from 43 First Nation communities in the North West Territories.  The students came from across all three prairie provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, to the school located on the outskirts of Regina, Saskatchewan.

After closing in 1910, the school's building and grounds became the city jail, and then a detention center for boys.  In 1921, a prairie fire destroyed the wooden crosses used to mark the deceased RIIS students' graves.  The unmarked cemetery recently came back into the public eye when questions arose as to what to do with the site, the exact number of graves, who may be buried on the land, would it be re-memorialized, and how. 

A collective of voices ranging from descendants of the school, concerned church members inspired to activism, local Elders and historians, share the history of the Regina Indian Industrial School and how it permeates present day culture.

RIIS from Amnesia has screened at the following festivals:

Cathedral Village Arts Festival, Regina, SK, World Premiere

American Indian Film Festival, San Francisco, CA, USA

First Nations Film and Video Festival, Chicago, IL, USA

Māoriland Film Festival, Otaki, New Zealand

Also available on Youtube, is RIIS from Amnesia with commentary by co-writers, directors, editors and multimedia producers, Trudy Stewart and Janine Windolph.