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How The Spirit Moves

The Sacred Stone Lodge, or Sweat Lodge, is a place of healing and prayer. In this animated short film, we see the human beings who enter the lodge in their spirit form and the animal spirits who help them heal. The bear, eagle, and buffalo spirits share their gifts with the participants in the lodge. A song of thanks can be heard as we see the spirits in the lodge. In the music we hear – in Cree – thanks for the bear, for eagle, buffalo, and the children. This film was inspired by Albert Desjarlais who concludes the film sharing with viewers the need to respect the teachings and the sacred lodge. The filmmaker is thankful to Albert Desjarlais for his inspiring stories and for sharing his knowledge with her and also to Sherryl Sepegeham for sharing her creative talents and song in the film. Download films here.

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A Living History of Métis Families as told by Dorothy Chartrand


Dorothy Chartrand, a Métis grandmother, tells the story of her Metis families as their lives are affected by the political and social change that impacted Métis lives in the 1800s to today. Her story tells of her family relocation, effects of government land policies, and ways that Métis women in fur trade and later community life helped to sustain communities. This film also tracks some of Dorothy’s more than 25 years of research in archives and HBC and church records that lead to understanding the history of her family and community of St. Albert, Alberta. The filmmaker is indebted to Dorothy for sharing her story and the history of her family and community.
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Grandmothers of the Metis Nation


Indigenous Elders are the educators of our children, youth, adults, and communities, and the storytellers and historians of our communities. The contributions of Metis Elders help communities understand the contributions of Metis peoples, past and present, to our provinces and Nations. This film shares Metis grandmothers stories and histories told by the grandmothers and a narrator, to understand the complex roles and responsibilities of Metis women in the past and today. Thelma Chalifoux’s role as a community activist and leader in Alberta as well as her role as the first Aboriginal woman in the Canadian Senate are explored. Dorothy Chartrand shares stories and histories about Metis women in her family and community to unlock the complex community roles women played in history and today. Alma Desjarlais explains the roles of grandmothers as educators and healers in communities. Taken together, these three grandmothers help us understand the important roles of Metis grandmothers in Metis history and today as leaders, historians, activists, educators, and healers. Download films here.

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Understanding What Life is About – Storytelling with Tom McCallum

Banner - Tom

Tom McCallum (White Standing Buffalo), Métis Elder and storyteller, explains that stories are a history of our people from many lifetimes and that stories are real. In English, with some Cree, he shares 6 entertaining stories which have been animated. Through his engaging stories Tom helps us understand the complex uses of storytelling as community activities that educate, entertain, and increase community bonds. He also demonstrates how creation stories and Wasakechak tales teach about our relationship to the natural world.

Tom shares how storytelling connects the past with today and how it may impact the future. He tells the story of falling through the ice as a child and when he was starting to sink he saw a trembling aspen tree – the tree used in the Sundance ceremony. His life was saved by this tree to which, as an adult, he gave thanks at a Sundance. In another sequence, Tom shares the story of a very slippery night in a sleigh behind a horse. The horse is slipping and ends up skating on the ice. Tom also tells the story of birch bark canoeing with his parents and the voice of water, wind, bulrushes, and wood on the birchbark canoe, and paddles moving through the water. That is Indigenous language that is written into his psyche. Tom further shares Cree creation stories –Wasakechak stories about the creation of mountains, the change of a swan, creation of sturgeon, as well as the story of birds getting their song. The animated sequences make Tom’s entertaining stories come to life through artist-drawn images that are animated. Download films here.

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Paper Mache Totem Poles

Misrepresentation, appropriation, and denigrating Indigenous knowledge is still common practice in educational institutions despite efforts of critical educators to challenge these practices. One such challenge was to papier mâché totem poles in an education institution’s library in a faculty of education that houses teacher education programs. A papier mâché cross focused attention on the use and misuse of symbols and educated people about the problematic representational practices of papier mâché totem poles and crosses. In a child’s voice, the practice is whimsically challenged and the practice collapses as we imagine a world devoid of these misrepresentations. Download films here.

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