Honor Thy Mother is the untold story of 36 Aboriginal women from Canada and Native women from tribes in Washington and Alaska who migrated to Bainbridge Island, the traditional territory of the Suquamish people, in the early 1940s. They came, some still in their teens, to pick berries for Japanese American farmers. Many, just released from the Indian Residential Schools, fell in love in the berry fields and married Filipino immigrants. Despite having left their homeland and possible disenfranchisement from their tribes, they settled on the Island to raise their mixed heritage (Indipino) children. The voices of the Indipino children, now elders, are integral in the storytelling of their mother’s experiences marrying Asian men and settling in a distant land. They share their confusion of growing up with no sense of belonging in either culture and raised in poverty as the children of berry farmers, some with no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. In a post-World War II racist environment, they grew up in homes burdened with their father and mother’s memory of the 227 Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes after President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19th, 1942. Brought to light, in the oral history interviews of the Indipino elders, is the effect that historical trauma has on children, more specifically children whose mothers survived Indian Residential Schools.
Honor Thy Mother will be featured at the West Sound Film Festival on August 8th at 3:30pm. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through the West Sound Film Festival website. The film will be shown at SEEFilm Cinemas, 655 4th Street, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.