The Ephemerals, Jules Koostachin, and Rebeka Tabobondung

Indigenous Birthing Film Screening

Date: January 20 - March 31, 2019
Location: Mitchell Art Gallery, MacEwan University (11110 104 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB)
Screening & Panel Discussion: January 20, 2018 at 1:30pm in the Betty Andrews Recital Hall, MacEwan University (Room 11-150, 11110 104 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB)

Jules Koostachin;  PLACEnta;  film still, 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.

Jules Koostachin; PLACEnta; film still, 2012. Image courtesy of the artist.

The revitalization of Indigenous birthing practices is a growing movement spreading across Turtle Island. Indigenous women are challenging mainstream medical techniques and the treatment of Indigenous women and families within the confines of the institution. This screening brings together three films that reclaim traditional birthing and ceremony in our modern world.

In the film, Spirit of Birth, Rebeka Tabobondung explores the revitalization of traditional birth knowledge after the colonial legacy of silencing Indigenous women’s wisdom. Highlighting the vision and self-determination of the Indigenous led and built birthing centre in Toronto. Throughout the film, we follow a young Anishinaabe mother, Allysha Wassegijig, as she prepares for the birth of her first child; seeking knowledge and care from Indigenous midwives and Elders.

Jules Koostachin goes on a personal journey in her film PLACEnta, to rediscover traditional teachings around childbirth ceremonies. This film explores the engagement of her children, family, community, and territory throughout the process of reclaiming a traditional ritual embedded within her that took place before her. We will also show the film, ApishKweshimonwhich, which continues the story of PLACEnta.

After Birth was created by the Indigenous women’s collective, The Ephemerals (Jaimie Isaac, Niki Little, Jenny Western). This narrative focuses on the inter-generational journey of giving back to the earth in order to give life with the ceremonial custom of burying the ‘after birth’. Bringing together their children, this film explores the active presence of ancestral memories and matrilineal leadership.

January 20, 2019, 130pm in the Betty Andrews Recital Hall, MacEwan University

Please join us on January 20, 2018 in the Betty Andrews Recital Hall, MacEwan University for a free screening of all three films and panel discussion on the reclamation of traditions explored in the films and what we can do to continue supporting Indigenous women into their journey of motherhood. The panel discussion will be moderated by Core Member Tiffany Shaw-Collinge and will feature artists Jamie Isaac (The Ephemerals) and Jules Koostachin and representatives from Indigenous Birth of Alberta.


About the Artists

The Ephemerals is a collective of Winnipeg artists and curators who have been working together since 2010. Collective members Jaimie Isaac, Niki Little, and Jenny Western aim to investigate and interrogate perceptions of Indigenous identity through aspects of material culture, particularly those involving clothing and fashion. The Ephemerals collective was established to function as an outlet to foster and motivate artistic production within their individual practices as well as to engage collaborative projects that revolve around issues of Indigenous contemporary art. Drawing inspiration from their multidisciplinary artistic practices and diverse cultural backgrounds, the collective’s projects are fueled by collaborative pranks, formal interventions, and bizarre affairs meant to push back the supposed boundaries of Indigeneity. The Ephemerals do not exhibit a specific aesthetic but espouse something more transformative and fleeting based on the collective’s current interests and the spirit of the times.

Jules Koostachin - Cree from Attawapiskat First Nation, she was born in Moose Factory, Ontario; raised by her Cree grandparents in Moosonee, and her mother. She completed graduate school at Ryerson University where she was awarded the Award of Distinction, and the Ryerson Gold Medal for academic achievement. During her Masters, she completed her documentary Remembering Inninimowin about a journey of remembering. Jules was also one of six women selected for the Women in the Director’s Chair program; she directed a scene from her screenplay Broken Angel. Jules is now in post-production of her series AskiBOYZ for APTN, about two urban Cree youth going back to the basics.

Rebeka Tabobondung is a community documentary filmmaker, Indigenous knowledge researcher, poet, and publisher of MUSKRAT Magazine. Rebeka is an M.A. graduate in Sociology & Equity Studies in Education. Her documentary work has screened at festivals across Canada and internationally, while her written works have been published in numerous journals and anthologies throughout North America. In 2008, Rebeka was the Festival Director of the imagineNATIVE film & Media Arts Festival and was also the former Director of the Centre for Women and Trans People at the University of Toronto. Rebeka's latest research and film work documents traditional birth knowledge from Wasauksing First Nation where she is also a member. She is the co-founder of MAAIINGAN Productions and Research Coordinator of the Indigenous Knowledge Network for Infant, Child, and Family Health at St. Michael's Hospital.


This project was produced with the support of the Mitchell Art Gallery, Edmonton Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.