They Found Us

Following are stories about the documentary They Found Us by Curt Sipihko Paskwawimostos who is a member of George Gordon First Nation. My friend Christine Nobiss is also a member and has been working to get funds to support the video. The documentary is about the search for unmarked graves at their rez, George Gordon First Nation.

If you click on this image, you will see a remarkable and powerful 3D image that can be moved using your mouse. In an eerie and disturbing way, you find the children.

Well my documentary They Found us got a nomination for best documentary Althens Film Freeway fest. If I win I will be put in for best movie of the year. We’re I would be going to Athens Greece 🇬🇷 for the film fest 🤞🤞🤞❤️❤️❤️🦅🦅🦅
Let’s just see what happens ❤️❤️
Curt Sipihko Paskwawimostos

As described in the following letter, the project was originally for a compilation of Elder’s narratives. But during the initial interviews, the findings of the 215 bodies outside the Kamloops residential school changed the direction of the documentary. To focus on the process that George Gordon’s First Nation was undertaking related to the unmarked graves or bodies at the GGFN reserve’s residential school.

March 27, 2022

This letter in regards to a request for financial support for a documentary title “They Found Us”, to support community presentations of this film that I produced.

My name is Curt Young and I a member of the George Gordon’s First Nation.  I am a descendant of Mike Longman, along with my mother Longman-Young; both members of this nation.  The development of this documentary was an intent for myself to learn more about my maternal familial lineage, as I had not grown up on GGFN and wanted more connections to my cultural heritage.  I applied for the “Peoples Investment Grant”, while residing in Calgary and was a successful candidate.  These funds were intended to financially support a compilation of Elder’s narratives, however, during the initial interviews, the findings of the 215 bodies outside of the Kamloops residential schools, inspired myself to change the direction of the documentary.  I decided to focus more on the process that GGFN reserve’s undertaking of a ground search outside of the local residential school; to see if there were any unmarked graves or bodies buried there. 

Over the past year, I have made three trips to GGFN to obtain footage of the community’s initial activities related to the ground search of the area.  Aside from the footage of the community, I also have compiled interviews from GGFN members, and other Indigenous people, including leaders and Elders, that have shared their own narratives and experience with residential schools.  The budget that I was provided by the grant I received was allocated to travel costs associated with these trips to GGFN, along with the rental of video technological equipment, necessary to create the documentary.  I have spent time and effort into producing this documentary and have been promoting it through various online platforms, along with connections I have within Indigenous communities, both urban and rural.  I have much interest in public showings of this documentary, particularly since June is coming up, with it being National Indigenous Peoples month.  One showing that I have confirmed is the first week of June; at Fort Calgary.  Although I am quite excited for the interest and opportunities, I would like to honour my home community and acknowledge the stories that are compiled in my documentary, by having the first public showing of “They Found Us” on GGFN.

In order for myself to bring the documentary to GGFN I am requesting funds to support my travel, accommodation and honorarium for traditional drummers and possibly a dancer to create a healing and culturally safe space for a community show.  My first showing that I have booked for this documentary is June 4, 2022, thus, I am asking to have funds to showcase the documentary on GGFN prior to this date. 

Curt Sipihko Paskwawimostos

History of involvement of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) Friends

My relative, Curt Sipihko Paskwawimostos, created “They Found Us”. It’s a documentary about the search for unmarked graves at our rez, George Gordon First Nation. I hope we can bring it here to Iowa in the near future. My cousin Janna Pratt is featured in the film.

“I thought it would be important to document these searches and capture some of the stories told by members that were forced to go to these institutions. It’s a first hand look into some of the experiences survived in residential school.”

The film delves into members’ recollections along with the process towards the first ground search of Gordon Residential School before Ground Penetration Radar (GPR) in 2021. This is only the beginning…

I want to say thank you to Jeff Kisling and the Iowa Quaker community for the donation that will help get the film seen. If others would like to help support this work, hit me up.

Sikowis (Christine) Nobiss

During the 2017 annual sessions of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) there was panel discussion about building bridges with native peoples. The panel consisted of Peter Clay, an Iowa Friend, Donnielle Wanatee from the Meskwaki Settlement, and Sikowis (Christine) Nobiss, one of the most active Indigenous leaders in the Midwest. All three have played a large role in my connections with Native Americans since. 

In February 2018, I was part of a group who went to Minneapolis to protest US Bank’s funding of oil pipelines. Sikowis spoke at that gathering. 

I began to get to know Sikowis when she and I were among a small group of native and non-native people who walked and camped for eight days along the route of the Dakota Access pipeline, from Des Moines to Fort Dodge, Iowa. Iowa Friend Peter Clay was also on this First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March.  Jon Krieg (AFSC) joined us for the first day. And my Scattergood School roommate Lee Tesdell participated in one of the evening discussions during the March. Another Iowa Yearly Meeting Friend, Liz Oppenheimer, organized a time of worship sharing and prayer among Friends each morning, supporting our sacred journey. 

Last year I was clerk of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative)’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee. The committee had a small budget to support organizations doing justice work. Last year we were led to a choice of rather than giving token amounts to a number of organizations, to instead see if an opportunity arose to give the entire budget to make an impact on the work that presented itself. I believe because of our discussions about the residential schools, Sikowis asked if Quakers could support showings of the film “They Found Us” that had been made about the residential school of her nation, the George Gordon First Nation. Our Peace and Social Concerns Committee gladly agreed to donate our budget to this.

Ay hai kitatamihin, 
Sikowis (Fierce), aka, Christine Nobiss, she/her
Plains Cree/Saulteaux, George Gordon First Nation
Executive Director, Great Plains Action Society 
Web –
FB – @GreatPlainsActionSociety
IG – @greatplainsactionsociety
Tw – @PlainsAction

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