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Award winning documentary about Treaty 6 coming to St. Paul theatre

On Sept. 30, an internationally award-winning documentary film about Treaty 6 and a group of walkers on a journey of learning, is showing at the St. Paul Elite Theatre, and it’s free for all to attend.

ST. PAUL – On Sept. 30, an internationally award-winning documentary film about Treaty 6 and a group of walkers on a journey of learning, is showing at the St. Paul Elite Theatre, and it’s free for all to attend. The theatre will open at noon and the first screening will start at 1 p.m., while a second screening to begin at 6:30 p.m. 

AWÀSISAK, Our Future Treaty Walk is the third in a series of films about learning, collectively, what the Treaties are about and their importance to Canada and the nation’s history, according to Dr. Patricia Makokis from Saddle Lake Cree Nation.  

“The third film is about building relationships and stepping into this walk and talk together on the land,” she says. 

The movie follows the five-day journey of a group of people walking from St. Paul, Alta., to Fort Pitt, Sask. on Sept. 5-9, 2021. Fort Pitt was the location where Treaty 6 was signed on Sept. 9, 1876. Makokis said people from all walks of life, who did not know each other, were encouraged to walk together and learn from one another. 

“As we walk on that land, it’s almost a spiritual experience because you come to realize that we are one element in an inter-dependent aspect of our own humanity,” says Makokis. “When we walk and talk, people are transformed because we slow our lives down, get to know each other a little better, and get to ask questions in a safe way.” 

According to Makokis, while the surrounding Indigenous community lives closely with people from the St. Paul area – sometimes they don’t truly know one another.

“The film is really a way for us to invite people to come and learn together,” she says. “Let’s try and figure out what Treaties are, let’s try to figure out and build relationships together, let’s try to get to know each other, and let’s try to walk and talk.” 

Makokis explains that all three films are similar, and share the same element of “thinking, talking, and building good relationships – we are all related.” 

Completing over 100 kilometers of walking and filming was not without its challenges, according to Makokis, with the greatest challenge coming in the form of COVID-19. Many walkers tested positive for the virus, including Makokis and her family, and were unable to go complete the walk. 

But the remaining walkers who tested negative continued. The walkers received support along the way, including when Onion Lake Cree Nation’s community members stepped in to help.  

Every year, on Sept. 9, Onion Lake Cree Nation hosts a Treaty gathering to commemorate the signing of Treaty 6 in Fort Pitt, according to Makokis. 

Makokis said she felt emotional watching the film because, “They finished the walk for us – I never saw that until I saw the film.” The film won the Impact Docs Award at the Impact Docs Film Competition in San Diego, California on Aug. 25 following its premiere in Edmonton on June 24. 

She encourages the community to also take time to watch the film, which is showing at the St. Paul Elite Theatre on Sept. 30 – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Sid Sood, manager with the Elite Theatre and a councillor with the Town of St. Paul, explained that while the theatre is not a sponsor for the film, the free showing is being made possible thanks to the collaboration of numerous sponsors and community members. 

Having the free screening offers a way to support the community and also honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

Sood admits he did not truly fully know what the film was about, but when he learned it was about learning, knowledge, and building relationships, he told himself, “This is something I support. This is knowledge.”   

He has also committed to watching the film. “I’m going to watch the movie, so I get to know what it is about, and that’s why we’re doing this,” said Sood. 

On Friday, Sept. 9, in commemoration of Treaty 6, a one-day walk was held where and about 70 people walked from Onion Lake Cree Nation to Fort Pitt. Makokis said it was an excellent day where students from multiple First Nations, in addition to “ally partners” from both Saskatchewan and Alberta, all came together to walk, talk, and learn.