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Family, sobriety: an indigenous woman tells her story

‘Turning Points’ continues: stories produced, directed and told by indigenous people from Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, part of an empowerment journalism project in partnership with the Global Reporting Center. Tonight, we hear from Louise Beaulieu, who speaks about being placed in a religious residential school, losing her language and culture, and her struggle with alcoholism.

AIRED: November 28, 2020 | 0:04:34
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

>> Hill: WE ARE CONTINUING OUR

SERIES, "TURNING POINTS,"

STORIES PRODUCED, DIRECTED AND

TOLD BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLE FROM

YELLOWKNIFE IN CANADA'S

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES.

IT'S PART OF AN "EMPOWERMENT

JOURNALISM" PROJECT IN

PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GLOBAL

REPORTING CENTER.

>> YES, GOOD MORNING.

MY MOM NEEDS AN APPOINTMENT TO

SEE HER DOCTOR.

SHE'S GETTING OLD.

SHE'S 95.

SHE NEEDS SOMEBODY THERE.

I'LL VISIT HER, DO LAUNDRY FOR

HER, COOK FOR HER.

OKAY, I'M GOING TO MAKE SOME

BANNOCK.

WELL, WE'RE STILL WORKING OUT A

LOT OF THINGS, BUT IT'S A LOT

BETTER THAN 30 YEARS AGO, YEAH.

AFTER I GOT OUT OF RESIDENTIAL

SCHOOL, I-- I WAS ANGRY AT MY

MOM FOR A LONG TIME.

I SAID-- I BLAME THEM, I GUESS.

SEVEN YEARS OLD, I DON'T KNOW

WHY THEY SEND ME THERE.

THEY WERE ALL STRANGERS TO ME--

NUNS WITH ALL BLACK, DRESSED IN

BLACK.

I LOST MY LANGUAGE, MY CULTURE.

YEAH, I LOST-- I REALLY LOST

MYSELF.

I JUST MEASURE MY FLOUR.

WHEN I WAS 13, 14, I WASN'T

GETTING NO SUPPORT FROM MY

PARENTS, TOO, SO I-- I RAN AWAY.

I WAS HOMELESS FOR A LONG TIME.

I WATCH PEOPLE DRINK.

I THOUGHT THEY-- THEY HAD FUN.

I HAD OLDER FRIENDS, YOU KNOW?

THEY WENT TO PARTIES, SO I WENT

WITH THEM.

THAT'S HOW I STARTED DRINKING.

I USED TO GO TO JAIL, USED TO GO

TO DRUNK TANK, USED TO GO ON--

ON THE STREET LIKE ON A

SCHEDULE, YOU KNOW, MANY TIMES

BECAUSE OF ALCOHOL AND UNHEALTHY

RELATIONSHIP WITH THAT PERSON I

WAS WITH.

I HAD MY CHILDREN WERE TAKEN

AWAY.

I WAS HOMELESS FOR A LONG TIME.

I DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO BE A

PARENT.

I HAD TO LEARN.

LEARN PRETTY FAST TO BE A MOM.

OKAY.

I TRIED MANY TIMES TO SOBER UP.

I WENT FOR TREATMENT IN THE LAST

20 YEARS, YOU KNOW.

I WENT FOR TREATMENT.

IT NEVER WORKED BECAUSE I DIDN'T

WANT IT TO WORK.

IT'S NOT EASY TO CHANGE, YOU

KNOW.

TAKE-- TOOK ME MANY YEARS TO

SOBER UP, YOU KNOW.

IT'S NOT EASY TO SOBER UP, YOU

KNOW.

AND I DID IT.

ANYBODY COULD DO IT.

I DON'T KNOW.

THAT SHOULD BE DONE.

OH, YEAH!

RIGHT ON.

IT'S HOT!

OOH.

OKAY, THAT'S DONE.

BUT EVENTUALLY, I FORGAVE MY

MOM.

I'M CLOSER TO HER NOW.

TODAY, I-- I'M HAVING A BETTER

RELATIONSHIP WITH HER.

SHE TELLS ME ALL STORIES ABOUT

HER WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG, AND--

AND SHE TAUGHT ME HOW TO SEW.

YEAH, I PASS IT ON TO MY GIRLS.

I GOT THREE DAUGHTERS.

AND MY OLDEST DAUGHTER, SHE

LOVES SEWING NOW.

SHE DOES SOME BEAD WORK NOW.

THAT SHE'S DOING SOME BEAD WORK,

YOU KNOW, IT MAKES ME SO PROUD.

AT LEAST I TAUGHT THEM

SOMETHING, YOU KNOW.

A LEAST SOMETHING, YOU KNOW, I

TAUGHT THEM.

AND SHE LOVES IT.

(LAUGHS )

EVERY TIME I-- I PICK A BEAD,

YOU KNOW, IT'S KEEPING AWAY FROM

MY ADDICTION.

I'LL GO FURTHER AWAY FROM MY

ADDICTION, AND I GO CLOSER TO MY

MOM.

YEAH, THAT'S-- THAT'S-- I GUESS

THAT'S THE WAY I LIKE TO THINK

ABOUT IT NOW.

YEAH.