My name is Summer, and this film is dedicated to my sister Ashley.
It was made with the help of family and friends, and I’m hoping it will help everyone to heal.
Opioids have been used to conquer and colonize Indigenous peoples all over the world for centuries.
Laudanum was the drug used in the mid-1800s during the genocide
of our once strong traditional Indian tribes of Western Canada.
Genocide is still continuing from the time of colonization,
with people overdosing everyday from opioids.
We are in a state of emergency.
Just wanted to see how everyone’s, um, how everyone is doing this fabulous Monday,
getting back to work and everything.
I just came on to jump on to talk to you guys about a little bit of products that
I’m finding that are helping me really well.
I’m the mother to Ashley Radke who passed away from an opiate overdose
almost a year ago.
Ashley was a strong, independent person.
She worked in camp for a year and a half before
she was – she had to leave camp due to an injury to her knee.
And things just got progressively worse for Ashley.
I suffer from ankylosing spondylitis and
I’ve been diagnosed since about 2013.
And that is fusing every single bone in my body, very sucky.
Her chronic pain got really bad, and so she was prescribed more and more opiates,
she became depressed, so was prescribed anti-depressants.
Things just seemed to go downhill for her, and I think it was her addictions to the opiates.
I think the root cause of the epidemic on opioids, one hundred plus years
of putting First Nations in a box on a reserve, and really taking away
what it means to be a human being when you put First Nations people,
or any people for that matter, in a box.
Bad things tend to happen.
When you take away their spirituality, when you take away their way of living,
when you take away their kinship,
when you take away their kids,
when you take away their spirit.
I think that’s truly the root cause of the opioid crisis.
I miss you, Ashley.
And I love you.
And I would like for you to visit.
Ever since she’s passed, I’ve had dreams of her.
And it’s like she’s visiting.
And um, it’s like she’s checking up on me.
I think the pain was just too much for her,
and so, she attempted twice, last December.
She made me a promise, she said –
well she didn’t say, but –
I asked her, I held her hand when she was in the hospital bed,
and I said, “will you promise me you won’t do this again?”
She said “yeah”, she nodded her head.
When she did it the third time, that really hit me.
She promised me, and I forgive her for that, but
sometimes I wish that her promise would have came true for her.
I think spiritually, what we have to do is bring back these ceremonies.
There are things you cannot read in a book,
there are things you cannot write down on a piece of paper.
But when you go to these places and these ceremonies,
it’s a belief, it’s a spirit.
It’s important for people to get the training due to the opiate outbreak that we’re having.
It’s an epidemic right now, we’re losing 700 people last year,
which is roughly two people a day.
And if we can save one life a day,
that will cut down on the stats for next year.
Ashley was somebody who you can have a laugh with.
Who was there for a lot of people.
As much pain as she was going through, a lot of people just talk about the positive times with Ashley.
I hope to help all of you as well,
because no matter what, everyone needs help.
And we shouldn’t have to go it alone.
And hello, my love!
Director: Georgina Lightning
Georgina Lightning has a long track record in the film and entertainment industry, starting out as an actress in 1990, evolved into an acting coach and then in 2008 she founded, “Tribal Alliance Productions” as a filmmaker dedicated to producing powerful narratives on the indigenous experience. As a filmmaker, Lightning was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in “Filmmaker Magazine,” in the Summer 2007 issue. After her directorial debut with “Older Than America,” she received international acclaim from receiving the “White House Project, Emerging Artist Award” in April 2010. The award recognizes women in leadership who create social change from the work they do. By 2011, “Older Than America” had garnered 23 awards, and had been distributed all over the world in many different languages. Lightning has been heard by audiences worldwide as an advocate, keynote speaker, panel participant and ambassador for human rights, sexual exploitation of women and children, missing and murdered women, mental illness, healing, injustice, equal rights, and our environment.