October 31, 2009

Shi-Shi-Etko shot in Halq’eméylem

Residential school film plays Bay Street Film Festival

A film about a young girl’s final four days at home before going off to residential school aired Oct. 2 at the Bay Street Film Festival.

By Rick GarrickWhen Kroll first saw the children’s book Shi Shi Etko, which was written by Nicola Campbell, she realized she wanted to film the story.

“I came across the book by Nicola Campbell and could just visualize it in my head,” Kroll said, explaining she shot the film entirely in the Halq’eméylem language of the Sto:lo First Nation. “We got language coaches in, the actors were really dedicated.”

Kroll said the actor who played the Elder remembers being yelled at for speaking her own language while at residential school; only a few of the Elders now speak their language in the Chilliwack area of B.C., where the film was shot about a year ago.

“Only a handful of Elders speak the language anymore,” Kroll said. “I got to know about the language and the traditions of the people of that area. We wanted to keep the film as traditional as possible.”
Comment:  I haven't read the book or seen the movie, but it sounds like a good way to present the boarding-school story. Don't show the horrors of the boarding schools explicitly, because that only comes across as preachy. Imply the horrors by showing what the child is about to lose: her deeply-rooted culture and language.

For more on the subject, see Shi-Shi-Etko Trailer and Sto:lo Film of Children's Book.

Below:  "Kate Kroll, director of Shi Shi Etko, screened her film at the Bay Street Film Festival in Thunder Bay." (Rick Garrick--Wawatay News)

October 12, 2009

Apple computers with Cherokee font

Computer contribution helps preserve Cherokee language

By LeeAnn DreadfulwaterLiana Marquis of Richardson, Texas, contributed four Apple laptop computers valued at $4,000 to the Cherokee Nation Education Corporation with the stipulation that they be used for the Cherokee Education Language degree program at NSU. Marquis is a private citizen who has made several past contributions to the Cherokee Nation.

The biggest advantage for a Cherokee language learner is that every Apple computer sold since 2002 already has the Cherokee language font installed on it. Because the computers have the ability to type and display the Cherokee syllabary, they are a natural match for the NSU students, according to Gilliland. The computers will be available for check-out by the NSU Cherokee language program students.

October 09, 2009

Mi'kmaw board book for babies

Celebrating literacy and Mi'kmaq History Month with first Mi'kmaw board book for babiesIn celebration of Mi'kmaq History Month, the Read to Me! Program launched the Mi'kmaw version of Sheree Fitch's popular baby book Kisses Kisses Baby O!, translated by Mi'kmaw linguist Bernie Francis, and the Mi'kmaw edition of the Read to Me! bag at Indian Brook House of Learning today. The Mi'kmaw bag contains Weska'qelmut Apje'juanu (Kisses, Kisses Baby O!) and other books and reading resources for Mi'kmaw families. Weska'qelmut Apje'juanu is the very first Mi'kmaw board book for babies.

"It is important that our literacy resources reflect the diversity of culture and language in Nova Scotia," says Carol McDougall, Director of the Read to Me! Program. "I am excited to add the Mi'kmaw bag to our growing collection of literacy resources."