Research Start-up Summary and Abstract:
Following a 2004 project entitled, “Many Paths toward Common Goals” the topic of food security emerged as a number one priority for Aboriginal people living off reserve and in urban settings. Defining food security is a multi-faceted process involving such issues as access to food, income, knowledge, location, isolation, community, power relations, and racism. Food is equally about continuity, context, community and empowerment as it about physical survival and a healthy lifestyle.
The film, Wi’kupaltimk (Feast of Forgiveness), will look at the experiences of Urban Aboriginal people residing in Kjipuktuk (Halifax Regional Municipality) within an historical and cultural context. Wi’kupaltimk (Feast of Forgiveness) is a very fundamental concept that will run throughout this film. In the words of Mi’kmaw linguist and Elder, Bernie Francis, “There is sacredness about this concept in the form of ‘forgiveness.’ Wi’kupaltimk can be extended in meaning as in ‘feeding one another’s spirit’ since it’s the reciprocal form of the verb. It’s difficult to capture in three words—‘Forgiveness Feast while extending kindness and compassion’ is another way of expressing it.”
The film is a celebration of the long rootedness of the Mi’kmaw and Aboriginal people in general, to their landscape prior to colonization, and the sacredness of the food that sustained them spiritually, culturally, and physically. While addressing many of the current issues of poverty, isolation, and food insecurity many Urban Aboriginal people face, this film is ultimately about how people can and do respectfully connect with the urban landscape as a source of food and medicine. This process involves connecting and re-connecting with the knowledge of the Elders, the importance of community, and the cultural importance of “feast” that is at the heart of the community. The film is a way to show how Urban Aboriginal people are attempting to retain their traditional knowledge and establish their own food sovereignty. An important aspect of this project is to connect people of all generations to one another and their knowledge holders.
The film, Wi’kupaltimk (Feast of Forgiveness)is now availble: