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Jingle Dress - First Dance


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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Veritus Pictures Inc.
Closed Captioned: Yes
Running Time: 45 mins
Country of Origin: Canada
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2013
Available in French: No

Jingle Dress - First Dance documents the healing journey of Jules Koostachin (Cree, Attawapiskat). In honour of resolving the harm done to her family because her mother was held against her will in the Canadian Native Residential School System, Jules invites a first generation Canadian of European descent to be her witness while she pursues the dream of dancing at a pow wow for the first time in a Jingle Dress.
 
In 2004 Jules Koostachin was a single mother and executive director at the only native women’s shelter in Toronto. Having dedicated her passion towards helping others for several years, the tank was empty.
 
Having already faced many obstacles, including the two faces of imposed/internalized racism, she decided to embark on a healing journey, for the sake of three generations of women in her family. This time she also set the coveted goal for herself of re-engaging in the arts.
 
Director James Buffin grew up in Toronto and had never heard of the Canadian Native Residential School System prior to meeting Jules. His acceptance of her purpose; to heal from the damage caused by her mother’s ten-year childhood incarceration, was based entirely on friendship. Awareness of the amount of trust placed in him only dawned as the depths of the trauma were shared over time.
 
Jules had planned on taking a year to make her Jingle Dress and dance at a pow wow. Initially unaware of the sacred steps involved in the process, or where to even start, the timeline quickly went out the window. Living through the path of her Jingle Dress journey, Jules’ life was transforming. New members joined her family and others departed. All the while she kept moving towards the dream.
 
Attending a university named after one of the policy architects of the Canadian Indian Residential Schools was an especially poignant move for Jules, especially on the eve of her first dance at Eagle Lake.