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Terese Marie Mailhot on why photos of her late relatives are symbols of resilience | Mementos 2020

First Nations writer Terese Marie Mailhot looks to black and white photos of her grandparents and extended family to get her by during hard times in 2020.

For Mailhot, the family mementos are a symbol of her ancestors’ resilience during trying times — they withstood the smallpox epidemic and the Canadian residential school system, which was built to forcibly assimilate Indigenous people.

“When I think of what they survived and what they witnessed, and the grief they had to contain, it makes me feel like Indigenous people understand apocalypse,” Mailhot said.

The PBS NewsHour asked 11 artists and writers about which memento best expressed their experience this year. Here’s what they said:

Photos courtesy of Terese Marie Mailhot

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