Last week on Sept. 1, the Eagle Spirit Nest Community Association hosted a movie night at W.R. Myers library where they showed a film from the First Nations film board called Kimmapiiyipitssinni, which talks about the opioid epidemic on First Nations reserves. Mark Brave Rock, a member of the Blackfoot community, was present at this event and was able to speak about the movie.
“Kimmapiiyipitssinni, in the white man’s words, Kimmapiiy, is kindness, sharing, caring, and even loving,” said Brave Rock. “Ipitssinni — you put that into it, it’s the way of life. That is what basically that word is. On here, they use it as compassion, kindness — the meaning of kindness, but our Blackfoot words are very — you can use them in different contacts. That’s so deep and you can use them so many different ways. Recently, we didn’t want to call the homeless addictive, homeless and addictive, so we want to give them a new name. (The new name) came up from the elders literally, plainly, and simply means to wait for.”
Brave Rock continued the discussion by explaining why they chose the title that they did for the movie.
“Its title, Kimmapiiyipitssinni, is the meaning of empathy. That is what the film is about — the meaning of empathy from the Blackfoot perspective. Bringing it back even from the past to remind people what true care — not just Blackfoot — but everybody, we all have that naturally. It’s bringing it back — it’s not saying nobody has it, but everybody’s put it on a shelf or just used it when they need it, but you’ve got to live it every day in everything and all aspects of life. It’s something that should be utilized even more when it comes to people’s struggles, people’s traumas, people’s addictions, homelessness and what’s behind it. That needs to be emphasized — you have to use it and utilize it more instead of punishment, instead of stigmatizing. Those things have to be thrown away, they don’t work.”
Finally, Brave Rock spoke on why kindness is critical for us as a species and society.
“Survival demands kindness, demands it,” said Brave Rock. “Caring for it in a crisis, this is a crisis. Forget the grudges and everything, help each other as best as you can. Help one another to get over this because people are dying, no matter what race you are, these drugs are killing everybody and anybody — rich and poor. It is breaking up society, it is putting a big nothingness, and soullessness is present because of these drugs. We’ve got to dig deep and bring back kindness and caringness be strong in it.”
Ian Croft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times