5. Choose one of the films that we have screened in class and discuss whether it would be an effective way to teach people about this historical event or period? Etc.

by STEPHEN KREYENBUHL on November 1, 2017 - 8:58pm

One of the best films the class as watched to discuss historical events would have to have been Rhymes for Young Ghouls. The film is set in the mid-1970s on an Indian reserve with a residential school looming nearby. The main story of the film sets around the tragic back story of Alia leading up to her and the local members of the reserve community robbing the residential school. While the movie is a work of fiction, the movie strongly represents the real life of what inhuman abuse First Nations had to suffer due to residential schools.  Why the film is as effective as an educational tool to teach people about the lives of aboriginals is its presentation. There is a residential school focused on within the movie, but it is not the main focus.  The movie focuses more on the life outside of the school to show the never ending struggle that aboriginals had to face. They dealt with suicided, depression, drug & alcohol abusive and dependence, and assault of physical and sexual nature.  The movie is blunt with these subjects and doesn’t hold back the graphic nature of them. It’s informative without explicitly discussing these major community problems Aboriginals had to deal with growing up and are still dealing with today, attempt to recovery from decades of abusive to their people.

However, when discussing the issue of accessibility and translating the historical analysis to a larger viewing audience, Rhymes for Young Ghouls starts to shrink in its ability to reach out to more people. Ironically, the strongest part about the movie is also its downfall: brutal honesty. The facts about indigenous life on the reserve are intense, graphic, and aren’t appropriate for all ages to consume for educational gain. I could never imagine this film to be presented in aK-12 setting for teenagers to watch in a part of a course outline. By the time students are mature enough for the film in a college or University background, they already have prior knowledge of these events that won’t make the initially impact of the movie as effective as it would have been. The same issue can be present in other films we’ve watched such as The Battle of Algiers and Half of the Yellow Sun. Granted, these topics those films cover aren’t talk about as much in Canada and students wouldn’t have as much prior knowledge, it would still be too explicit in most educational areas of study prior to secondary education. Even if the movie was optional through parental

This is one of occasions where literature can take the place of film. I can compare this to my experience first learning about the Holocaust when reading Night by Elie Wiesel. We had to prove to our teacher why we were mature enough to read more explicit material about the Holocaust before we allowed reading it. For me, the Holocaust is similarly taught like residential schools. Everyone is well aware of how bad people were treated in those events, but it is only until later in our educational careers do we learn the specific methods of genocide and abuse that were used. We can learn these ideas without having visuals and leave it up to imagination rather than vividly showing it to high schoolers.  Overall, Rhymes for Young Ghouls can be used as a great educational discussion piece, but only for mature students that can handle the honest and ugly truth history has to tell us.

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