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In The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Two Women Grapple With Trauma and the Past

December 15, 2019

In The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, two Indigenous women cross paths on a city bus line in East Vancouver, British Columbia; a mundane, everyday scene—until it isn’t. The younger woman, Rosie, is fleeing abuse; the older, Áila, wants to help but isn’t certain how. Matters of race and class complicate this meeting: Áila struggles to help, and Rosie proves herself more capable than Áila might have imagined.

As Áila hurries Rosie back to her nearby apartment, we pick up biographical details, in harrowing real time. Rosie, we learn, was born up the coast of British Columbia, in Port Hardy; she is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, living in a nearby housing project with her boyfriend and his mother. Áila, who is light-skinned, has a father who is Sámi and a mother who is Blackfoot, from the Blood Reserve, in Alberta.

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