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Returning Home film image

Returning Home

Ignite High School Screening


Skilfully intertwining narratives concerning residential school survivors and Indigenous peoples’ relationship with imperiled wild Pacific salmon, Sean Stiller’s stirring documentary is a revelatory testament to strength and resilience.

At the heart of the film is Phyllis Jack-Webstad, the survivor who founded the Orange Shirt Day movement. While Phyllis recounts her childhood trials to youth across the country, her relations in the Secwépemc territory near Williams Lake are contending with another outcome of colonialism: the upper Fraser River’s lowest salmon runs in Canadian history. In observing the interconnection between the Secwépemc and salmon, Stiller lays bare the impacts of overfishing on these communities.

The first production by Canadian Geographic, Returning Home balances Stiller’s stunning cinematography with clear-eyed testimonies to the unforgivable transgressions endured by Phyllis and other survivors within the walls of residential schools. Likewise, it effectively illustrates what it means to truly be in good relationship with the land and shares how, for the Secwépemc, healing people and healing the natural world are synonymous.


Funded by

Director Sean Stiller
Credits See Full Credits
Country of Origin Canada
Year 2021
Language English and Secwépemc
Content Warning Contains descriptions of sexual violence
Rating G
72 min

Education Resources

Primary Curriculum Interests:

  • Social Justice 12
  • Genocide Studies 12
  • BC First Peoples 12
  • Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12
  • Social Studies 9, 10, 11
  • Political Studies 12

Other Curriculum Interests:

  • Environmental Science 12
  • Human Geography 12
  • Film and Television 11

In-Cinema: June 1, 9:30 am, Vancity Theatre

Available on VIFF Connect

How to Book

Free for schools, capacity for all films is limited. To book, submit your request with the online form below. Our Ignite team will respond to confirm availability and complete your booking.


Questions? Contact our Ignite team at [email protected]

Booking Request Form

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Executive Producer

Tim Joyce


Gilles Gagnier, Andrew Lovesey


Sean Stiller


Katharine Asals

Original Music

Melody McKiver