Last night I saw the documentary Passage, directed by Nova Scotian John Walker.  It’s a stunning piece of work on a lot of levels. For me personally it had added appeal for two reasons:

One, there was a fair bit of footage from the Orkneys and Stromness in particular. My ancestors may have come from further south in Scotland but it is the Orkneys that call to me, and it is there that I felt one part of me reconnect with another part of me.

Two, the Inuit stateman Tagak Curley was featured in the film. I know him from my time in Nunavut and to see him here was both wonderful and heartbreaking.

I say heartbreaking because in this film, he asks the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens for an apology for some horrendous things the senior Dickens wrote about the Inuit. His request wasn’t taken seriously and while the younger Dickens did eventually apologize, it was half-hearted and it was clear he didn’t have a true understanding of the damage that had been caused by his ancestor’s writing. 

Curley, ever the gentleman, accepted the apology nonetheless and invited Dickens to his home.

The film is definitely an eye-opener when it comes to the distortion of history.  See it if you can!


One thought on “Passage

  1. I hadn’t heard about this film and it sounds really interesting. The English are funny about Canada. Even to this day, they tend to treat it like a ‘colony’ and see it as a backwater. They’ve also had very little exposure to the Native concepts of generational responsibility that we have become used to, and even appreciate. I’ll watch for the film.


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