For a few years now I have wanted to produce a show about the Highway of Tears, or more specifically about the missing 582 aboriginal women in western Canada. I am glad to report that someone got to it first. New Harlem Productions is producing Keith Barker’s play THE HOURS THAT REMAIN until the end of this week.
It is at the new Native Earth Performing Arts theatre space in Regent Park at 585 Dundas Street East. The play is really well done and theatrically draws you into this world of the disappeared with such nuance that you hardly notice it happening. As a play alone it is well done, but when you come out you will have had one of those magical experiences in the theatre that is transformative and meaningful. I recommend it highly. Here’s why.
What is happening to these women is huge and yet is not being reported or responded to in any way commensurate with its importance. The police forces regard aboriginal women as marginal and have not been taking their disappearances and murders seriously enough. The dearth of response to one or two cases would be enough cause for concern but the loss of 582 is systemic. This level of gross systematic racism is inconsistent with a progressive country like Canada.
Amnesty International’s major human rights concern in Canada is the number of stolen sisters. Please visit their website and sign the petition that calls on the Canadian government to establish a national plan of action. (Please note that in the week of October 29, amnesty.ca is revamping its website so if you encounter problems, please return later.)
The press has also remained mostly silent until recently when a few, like the CBC, have begun reporting about this huge tragedy.
I am embarrassed as a Canadian that this situation has gone on so long without proper attention from those who could help. I congratulate New Harlem Productions for putting such an effective spotlight on this epidemic. Please go and see for yourself how good theatre can be made about such important matters.