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Returning Home / Doctrine of Recovery film collage

This double feature includes the films Returning Home and The Doctrine of Recovery.
After The Doctrine of Recovery, there will be a joint panel discussion/Q&A where themes common to both films will be discussed.
Your ticket for this double feature includes admission to each film, a keynote address for each film, and the joint panel discussion/Q&A.


12:30 pm: Returning Home (72 min.)
Keynote Speaker: Phyllis Jack-Webstad, Film Subject, Returning Home
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 Films, 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.


2:15 pm: The Doctrine of Recovery (75 min.)
Vancouver Premiere
Keynote Speaker: Brisind (Rain), Director, The Doctrine of Recovery
And so it began, with the Papal Bull of 1493. Pope Alexander VI’s apocalyptic declaration established a free-for-all in the European conquest of Tribal lands and souls. It was their “Doctrine of Discovery.” To the First People of this land, it was a death song they had never heard, but soon enough, they would all sing. It is timely that three highly respected Indigenous women from Turtle Island, including one of Canada’s most celebrated actors, Crystle Lightning, have come together to create a documentary about the devastating impacts of the Doctrine of Discovery. The premiere of the Doctrine of Recovery coincided with the Pope’s visit to Canada. The film is a powerful reminder of how the Doctrine of Discovery is at the very foundation of systemic and institutionalized racism that First Peoples continue to be marginalized by, and how the roots of so many tragic issues impacting First Nations’ communities today, like the Murdered and Missing crisis, began with the imposition of the Inter Caetera papal bull of May 4, 1493.


3:45 pm: Joint panel Discussion/Q&A following The Doctrine of Recovery with Phyllis Jack-Webstad, Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, Founder and Ambassador, Orange Shirt Society, Film Subject, Returning Home; Patricia M. Barkaskas, Academic Director, Indigenous Community Legal Clinic and Academic Director, ILS, UBC; Brisind (Rain), Director, The Doctrine of Recovery; Georgina Lightning, Producer, The Doctrine of Recovery
Other Panelists TBD
Moderator TBD


Sean Stiller (Returning Home)

Brisind (The Doctrine of Recovery)

Country of Origin

Canada (Returning Home)

USA (The Doctrine of Recovery)




In English and Secwépemc with English subtitles (Returning Home)

English (The Doctrine of Recovery)

245 min

Book Tickets

Friday February 24

12:30 pm
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
Book Now


Executive Producer

Tim Joyce (Returning Home)


Gilles Gagnier, Andrew Lovesey (Returning Home); Leslee Goodman, Georgina Lightning (The Doctrine of Recovery)


Brisind (The Doctrine of Recovery)


Sean Stiller (Returning Home)


Katharine Asals (Returning Home)

Original Music

Melody McKiver (Returning Home)

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