Lisa Murdock is a Métis-Dené woman living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is married to her long-time partner, Sam, and is the proud mother of three beautiful children, Nolan, Madison and Adam. Lisa is registered with Bill-C31 status as a member of the Katl’odeeche First Nation, formerly known as the Hay River Dené Reserve, located in the Northwest Territories. Lisa’s mother, Rita, is a Dené woman who also lives in Winnipeg, and her late father, Olaf, was a European immigrant from a small town located near Copenhagen, Denmark.
Lisa’s mother is a residential school survivor. Just before her fourth birthday, Lisa’s mother was picked up and taken to St. Henry’s Mission, a convent that was run by the Grey Nuns in Fort Vermillion, Alberta. She remained at St. Henry’s Mission until the age of six, when her father picked her up and took her home to Lower Hay River. After a few short weeks at home, Lisa’s mother was again shipped off to a residential school, this time to St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Residential School located in Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories. She remained in the residential school system until she was almost sixteen years old. During this time, she did not experience any other visits at home.
The experience of being taken from her family and community and of being raised in the cold and unfamiliar environment of residential boarding schools had deeply affected Lisa’s mother. She spent a good portion of her life being angry, not trusting anyone and struggling to belong. For the most part, she suffered in silence. Much of her days were plagued with alcohol, violence and self-harm as a way to cope with the lonely and traumatic experiences she survived as a child, and with the deeply-rooted pain she struggled to overcome, well into her elderly years.
Lisa’s video tells a story about how her mother’s experiences had affected her own life. Depicted through a series of still photos, with each image representing a multitude of underlying stories, Lisa’s video is about how she, like her mother, felt lonely and alone, worried and afraid, abandoned and unwanted, and genuinely responsible as a child growing up. The message that she sends is that her mother had unwittingly transferred not only her emotional pain onto her daughter, but also her sense of resilience and determination to survive