Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy chronicles the impact of the opioid crisis on Indigenous community. Tailfeathers focuses on Alberta’s Kainai First Nation, where her mother, Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, works tirelessly to support and educate families affected by the overdose epidemic. The film presents viewers with a series of first-hand accounts from local first responders, healthcare professionals, and people with substance-use disorder.
Kímmapiiyipitssini is a Blackfoot word for empathy and kindness. The Meaning of Empathy explains why embracing this practice is critical to combating addictions. Criminalizing drug use does not address the root problem; a legacy of colonialism and intergenerational trauma inflicted by racist government policies. The film reveals the merits of this new approach, even as it faces resistance from conservative policymakers. Tailfeathers has crafted one of the year’s most powerful films, chronicling the Kainai First Nation’s struggles, while honouring their strength and resilience.
SCREENING WITH JOE BUFFALO
Amar Chebib| 2020 | Canada | English | 16 min
Joe Buffalo is a prolific Indigenous skateboarder. He’s also a survivor of Canada’s notorious Indian Residential School system. Following a traumatic childhood and decades of addiction, Joe must face his inner demons to realize his dream of turning pro.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: DISCUSSING EMPATHY
Join us at 8:30 pm ET for a live Zoom panel discussion featuring Dr. Tailfeathers and Lori Eagle Plume, who will discuss the idea of empathy being a powerful tool for combatting addiction; conversation moderated by Alexandra Lazarowich.
Alexandra Lazarowich is an award-winning Cree filmmaker from northern Alberta. Her short film Fast Horse was honoured with The Special Jury Prize for Directing at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her body of work as director and producer includes LAKE, Indian Rights for Indian Women, Cree Code Talker and Empty Metal. She is the series producer for the CBC’s multi-award-winning comedy documentary series Still Standing and is one of the co-founders of COUSIN Collective.