PODCAST: The Constitution Express with Doreen Manuel
We sat down with Doreen Manuel, a Secwepemc filmmaker and one of the organizers of the historic Constitution Express. From her office at Capilano University, where she mentors a new generation of Indigenous media producers, Manuel shared stories and personal reflections from what was one of the most important Indigenous-led movements, ever.
Doreen’s family is legendary within Indigenous organizing and politics. Her father, George Manuel, was a chief and leader when the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s awakened the general public’s awareness of the social injustices experienced by Black and Indigenous Peoples throughout Turtle Island.
When the Canadian government began the process of repatriating the constitution from the U.K., the entire Manuel family joined forces with organizers across the country to demand recognition of Indigenous rights and title in the new constitution.
The work of Doreen Manuel – and her siblings, Bob, Vera and Art — took place during a renaissance of Indigenous organizing. Emboldened by an earlier legislative victory against the White Paper, Nations were also flexing their legal muscles, bringing groundbreaking legal challenges to the courts and winning many of them. Cases like Calder paved the way for the federal government’s recognition of Indigenous title and worked in tandem with political organizing to move the needle on Indigenous rights.
If Doreen hadn’t uprooted her entire family, and joined forces with thousands of others from the Arctic to the Maritimes and all points in between, we could be living in a very different country today.
Thanks to Autymn Plante for production assistance and to Andrew Ross Collins for music licensing.