About the Video

Why We Made It

Of all the provinces in Canada, Saskatchewan has the highest rate of incarceration.

  • Approximately 90 per cent of the women in jail and 75 per cent of the males are of Aboriginal heritage.
  • Saskatchewan has the highest rate of youth incarceration in Canada.
  • There are three times as many Aboriginal youth now in the custody of the province’s child welfare services than at the height of the disastrous residential school policy.
  • The emancipation of Aboriginal people will only come about by challenging the dominant ideas about their daily reality.

How it Began
This video is part of a larger research project titled ‘Accessing Drug Use Reality in an Inner City Community,’ launched in 2005 by a group of researchers connected with the University of Regina School of Social Work, School of Journalism, Social Policy Research Unit, and Department of Justice Studies. They launched the project after examining data that revealed Saskatchewan people have the highest per capita rate of illegal injection drug use in Canada.

The data raised a number of questions: What is the daily reality behind the numbers? Why should anyone care? Why is it happening? How should the wider community respond?

How We Made It
A small team of street-experienced community-based researchers independently came together in March 2008 and approached the university team with an idea to help answer the questions. They proposed recording and sharing people’s stories of their daily experiences through video. The team developed a question line and undertook basic video training at the School of Journalism. Then they set out to discover the realities of life among people in their community.

What We Hope to Accomplish
The participants and filmmakers hope their film will be a catalyst to bring their own community together to make a difference, and that members of the wider public – after seeing ‘This Is Us’ – will stand beside them instead of against them.

The Audience
This video and its accompanying resource kit are meant to be shared in community meetings and discussion groups. Copies are available on request for community use. It is intended for people looking to share experiences and come together to fight for basic human rights.

Permission to Use

“This is Us: Voices from the Street” video and fact sheets are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. You may freely copy printed material for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to the School of Journalism and the Social Policy Research Unit, University of Regina. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/; or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 2nd Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.