Foster Child

Gil CardinalCanada43 minutes1987STCColourEnglish

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View Foster Child during the Foster Child with Cindy Blackstock event.

Filmmaker Gil Cardinal sets out on a search for his biological family to try and understand how he ended up in foster care as an infant, eventually finding a new appreciation of his Métis heritage.

As a result of governmental policies of assimilation, generations of Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and sent to residential schools, adoptive homes and foster care. Apart from the horrifying history of abuses under this colonial system, the result of this policy was to cut Indigenous people off from their own history and culture, forcing them to rediscover it (if at all) only after years of disconnection. In Foster Child filmmaker Gil Cardinal embarks on his own journey of discovery, tracing his roots backward through social workers, to the family who never knew he existed, to his deceased mother, whose photo he finally sees for the first time. Made at a time when open discussion about the systemic issues affecting Indigenous children and the intergenerational traumas of Indigenous families and communities was exceedingly rare, Foster Child is as resonant today as it was in 1987, its maker's care, openness and honesty about his own personal history speaking eloquently to an experience shared by so many. A towering figure in Indigenous cinema and a mentor to many, Gil Cardinal passed away last year, but his legacy lives on not only in his own remarkable body of work, but in that of the many artists he inspired. Chi Miigwetch, Gil.