A two-spirit Cree filmmaker is sharing her journey to parenthood through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in a new short documentary.
The film êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines follows Cree filmmaker Theola Ross and her European partner’s journey through IVF from finding a donor, to discussing what it will be like to raise a child in a biracial family and how they can honour and preserve Indigenous bloodlines.
“This is one role in my life that I’ve never had to question,” said Ross of parenthood.
“It fits perfectly.”
Ross said she had never seen any two-spirit IVF journeys documented or stories about parenthood, adoption and fostering options for two-spirit people shared.
“For me, it was quite an emotional process to want to be a parent,” she said.
“So I felt like it was a powerful emotional story to tell.”
Ross is originally from Cross Lake, Man., but is currently based in Toronto.
She began documenting the process before the idea to turn their story into a documentary even happened.
“That was just something I wanted to do for myself, to keep me grounded,” said Ross.
“You want to absorb and feel everything and take in every process that you can and I’m grateful that I did.”
The film opens with Ross’s experience growing up as a queer person on reserve and the struggles that came with that.
Through the film the couple discuss race and culture, being in a biracial relationship and how that has played into family dynamics.
“All of Canada should know these stories,” said Ross.
In one scene, Ross says that the first language her baby is going to hear will be Cree.
Ross said the baby, who is now a year old, understands Cree even though her first word was “backpack” because she loves Dora the Explorer.
êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines won the Betty Youson Award for Best Canadian Short Documentary at the 2020 Hot Docs Festival..