The Nature of Healing

The Nature of Healing is the spoken truth of seven Survivors of Mohawk Institute, Canada’s first and longest running Indian residential school. From victim to survivor, to activist, this is a story of resistance, resilience and a healing path.

What began as a simple conversation about the Mohawk Village Memorial Park the Survivors have been building for 10 years, became a full feature documentary. And now it needs to be a completed Park to commemorate the 15,000 children who were taken from more then 60 communities losing their families, communities, culture, identity and for some, their lives.

The 139 residential schools, operated in partnership with the Canadian Government and Churches were Canada’s sanctioned system of dehumanization; neglect, brutality and child abuse in all its forms in order to obliterate the Red Nation footprint.

The Elders, Grandfathers and Grandmothers who speak out now, do so not only for themselves, but for the thousands of children across Turtle Island who never could.

Today we can Join Hands and Build the Park.


Voices of Mohawk Institute Survivors

Grandmother Roberta Hill
Grandfather Jimmie Edgar
Elder Blanche Hill-Easton
Elder John Elliott
Elder Bud Whiteye
Grandmother Dawn Hill
Grandmother Sherlene Bomberry
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Humbled. Ashamed. Enlightened. Revolutionary. Admirable."

- Krista Smith

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It’s one thing to read or hear about residential school experiences, it is another thing entirely to watch someone describe what happened to them personally. To become immersed in the experiences of their siblings, their parents, and their communities. I have watched The Nature of Healing twice. What struck me both times – even more than the how much was stolen and the utter devastation on personal, physical, and psychological levels, was the towering strength and fortitude of these people to acknowledge the past and move forward. The participants were as inspiring as their situation was dreadful. These people, their stories, their experiences, and the thousands of others they represent must be acknowledged. This illuminating film should be widely seen."

- Maissa Bessada, Writer, Producer

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The Nature of Healing is a vivid illustration of avoidable human tragedy perpetrated by church and state. It’s a story of empty, false promises for a higher education leading to a better life. Instead, these innocent children were given a sentence of abuse. It’s a recent story of cultural indifference and genocide hid from society. The film speaks to the resilience of the young victims, which leads to a heartfelt lesson to humanity. It’s also a story of healing, which leads to the possibility of forgiveness in the process. The details of this time in history must continue to be told in order to help heal the young people who experienced these unimaginable acts and to educate others as part of the ongoing path to reconciliation. These stories must not remain hidden any longer. The Nature of Healing is a respectful impactful image of the horror these innocents endured and is a must see."

- Murray Truax

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This shockingly honest film explores the deep scars of Canada's History. It freezes you in your tracks. Everyone should see this film.

- Felix Gray, First Assistant Director


Arizona International Film Festival - Special Jury Award 2023

Weengushk International Film Festival - Special Jury Prize 2023

Female Eye Film Festival - Special Jury Prize 'Most Impactful Film' 2023

Three Fires International Film Festival - Best Documentary 2023

Red Nation International Film Festival - The Courage Award 2023

WRPN Women's International Film Festival - Outstanding Excellence 2023

Nia:wen/ Thank You for making commemoration possible at film festivals.

Na-Mi-Quai-Ni-Mak Community Support Fund ISO Indigenous Screen Office