Slavery in Canada?!


When many people think of slavery, they tend to focus mostly on the United States, which is a given since the United States has been a huge power over the rest of the world. However, we tend to forget that the entire world was affected by the Transatlantic Slave Trade. One of the places where the history of slavery is largely forgotten is Canada. However, one filmmaker, Mike Barber, is trying to give light to slavery’s impact on the country. In his future documentary, “A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada,” Barber wants to tackle the issue of erasure of a large part of Canadian history. Here is part of the description of the film:

“History is not the past, it is how we recount the past. A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada is a feature-length documentary by independent filmmaker Mike Barber. The film, which is currently in production, explores how a false sense of history—both taught in the classroom and repeated throughout our national historical narrative—impinges on the present. It examines how 200 years of institutional slavery during Canada’s formation has been kept out of Canadian classrooms, textbooks and social consciousness….The film will show the connections between the practice of slavery in the past with racial disparity, tensions, and racism in the present. It will illustrate why telling history in a neutral, accurate and more complete manner is vital to understanding the causal relationship between past, present and future. The overarching point being more than just “history matters,” but rather honest history matters.”

Barber has had some difficulty in getting backing for this project because of the subject matter. He said, “The struggles faced by independent documentary filmmakers in Canada is even more arduous. In two recent articles on documentary filmmaking in Canada—one from the Globe & Mail, the other from the Ryerson Review of Journalism—one word is consistently used to describe the current state of funding for Canadian-made docs: dire.” If you are interested in seeing this film come to fruition, please click on the above link to Barber’s website and make a donation for the film’s production.

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