Most Canadians hold their health care system in great reverence. Yet beneath the veneer of respectability lies a dark history that has largely remained untold; that in Canada health service has been used as a tool to buttress racist stereotypes, and repress and assimilate Indigenous people.
In five interlocking vignettes that cover the stages of life; birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and elderhood, The Unforgotten explores Canadian healthcare through the shared experience of Inuit, Metis and First Nations people. Across the broad sweep of the land we hear stories of those who have been forcibly sterilized, abused in hospital, displaced, ignored to death, starved and forced from their homes and land under the guise of healthcare. From confederation, when colonial health policies were common and acceptable, to the present day where intolerance persists as culture and race-based bias in care, The Unforgotten explores the history of Canadian Healthcare through an Indigenous lens.
The final word in the film is left to the wisdom of Elders, who provide a moment of reflection and a potential path to a new relationship. With intimate stories imaginatively told through a rich fabric of visuals and poetry, and cradled by a moving sound palate that features many of Canada’s most accomplished Indigenous musicians, The Unforgotten reveals a history hidden to most Canadians.