Higher Education

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Film Clips, Chapter 12

Part I

8th Fire: At the Crossroads

CBC Doc Zone, 45:16

The CBC 8th Fire series is an excellent collection of documentaries on the historical and current social circumstances of Aboriginal peoples in in Canada (Frideres and Madibbo, pp. 231, 233–235). This is the positive ending, presenting the young “seventh generation” as they build the “8th fire,” the groundwork for a new way of living together. Before predicting the future, however, the film briefly reviews such past injustices as the Indian Act of the 1800s and other Canadian laws and policies that have affected Aboriginal families since; the residential school system; the discrimination against Aboriginal women; the reserve system and cycles of poverty; the stereotypes and racial profiling; and the crises of drugs, alcohol and violence in the latter half of the twentieth century (pp. 234–238, 241–245).

8th Fire takes a closer look at how Aboriginal groups reacted to these conditions and at how Aboriginal leaders are creating new role models for children and adults and promoting higher education. It considers the issue of dependency versus economic development and whether or not there is an environmentally-positive alternative to both. The documentary looks at the promise and hope of the Membertou community for aboriginal communities throughout Canada with its transparent business oriented approach to development in the interests of the community itself. It goes on to detail cultural programs in the North among Inuk youth who want to move on from the drug and alcohol abuse problems of the past, and it ends on a “rapper” note.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. How have Aboriginal Canadian families been affected by colonialism from the 1800s Indian Act to the present? Note the overlap between the text discussion of this and the portrayal in the documentary.
  2. Why is targeting poverty an important strategy for dealing with Aboriginal family issues? How are Aboriginal groups doing this in various ways?
  3. How hopeful is the future for Aboriginal children in Canada according to this video? What statistical trends noted in the text support this hope (or not)?

Part II

True Love or Marriage Fraud? The Price of Heartache

CBC Passionate Eye, 45:17

This exposé follows women and men who recently married foreign nationals and sponsored them into Canada (Frideres and Madibbo, pp. 244–245). They were granted permanent residency status when they landed at the airport. None were followed-up to determine if they even lived with their sponsors after arriving, yet the sponsor had to guarantee their health, welfare, and financial support for at least three years. It includes interviews and footage with sponsors and their landed immigrant spouses, a Member of Parliament, federal immigration workers, immigration lawyers, an immigration consultant, and the Canadian Marriage Fraud Victims’ Society. There is much “passing the buck” between authorities as to who is ultimately responsible for dealing with approximately 1000 fraudulent marriage cases reported each year in Canada. The difficulty is in proving that it is not a genuine marriage but a “marriage of convenience” with intent to defraud to gain immigrant status. It is also difficult to remove permanent residents once they land in Canada. Some begin a process of chain immigration, sponsoring in other family members (pp. 241–242) who sometimes do not have skills, literacy, economic contribution, or language proficiency.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. The text discusses “sponsorship debt” in situations of family violence. How is this concept evident in this case of marriage fraud? The documentary presents cases that are sympathetic to sponsors. Can you see how the experience can differ from the perspective of those who are sponsored?
  2. How does gender (pp. 241242) play a role in immigrant sponsorship and integration? Explain how this video gives a different story than the one usually found in the research and discussed in the text?
  3. The documentary offers a fairly easy solution to marriage fraud in making new spouses reside in Canada for two years before granting permanent residency status. Why aren’t we doing this? Is this issue a top priority or do you think other issues surrounding should be dealt with first?

Part III

Rich Smolan Tells the Story of a Girl

TED talk, 24:59

Using amazing photographs to illustrate the life and process of how an “AmerAsian” Korean child was adopted into an American family, Smolan illustrates the anguish of family upheaval (Frideres and Madibbo, pp. 228, 238), racial discrimination (pp. 229, 231, 245), and bureaucratic red tape in the adoption process with forthright clarity. It ends well. This Ted talk can opens up discussion of how the international adoptions taking place throughout Canada might be better managed to the benefit of all parties.

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Detail the difficulties facing AmerAsian children in Asia in terms of racial profiling and other discriminations.
  2. Discuss the ethics involved in Smolan’s action to take Hyun-Sook Lee away from her Korean family and send her to the United States to be adopted into a family she did not know. Smolan described Hyun-Sook as a leader. How might a child with a more introverted personality fare in this situation?
  3. If you have studied this elsewhere, what are the barriers to international adoption in Canada today? How does this compare with the 1978 circumstances in the US and Korea described by Smolan? How can our sponsorship system here in Canada help? If you have watched True Love or Marriage Fraud? explain the differences in sponsoring spouses and potential adoptees.