This virtual reality web series invites you to take on the role of William, a twelve-year-old Indigenous boy who is taken from his family and placed in an Indian residential school against his will.
For one revealing moment, you will be this child. Not only will you witness the events he saw and experienced—you will live through these events. You will feel what he felt, act as he acted. While in William’s skin, you will experience the unthinkable.
Through fiction, you will see reality.
WILLIAM puts technology and cinema in the service of education, truth, and reconciliation.
WILLIAM is a virtual reality (VR) web series that sheds light on a part of our history that was long consigned to silence and deliberate ignorance.
For many decades, thousands of Indigenous youth were placed, often by force, in residential schools where they were taught the language, religion, and way of life of their colonizers. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report (2015), the residential school system was the key component of a national policy of assimilation in Canada, a policy that can be characterized as “cultural genocide.”
The six episodes of WILLIAM allow the user to live this dark chapter of our history in the first person. Anyone can now embody one victim of this assimilation policy that affected some 150,000 individuals in Canada.
The realities brought to life in the various episodes can be experienced independently, or in sequential order to form a single dramatic experience.What was the Canadian Indian residential school system ?
A glimpse at William’s life in his native community, before residential school.
The day the Indian Agent take William away.
William and several other children arrive at the residential school.
The atmosphere of the dorm at night, and the feeling of solitude experienced by William and other residents.
A scene from a lesson in progress.
William’s confusion and feeling of abandonment when he comes home to learn that his family is gone.