Get to know me a little bit better
Dr. Judy Iseke is an artist and filmmaker and former Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Education, Lakehead University; Associate Professor, University of Toronto; and Director of Indigenous Education, MacEwan University. She is originally from St. Albert, Alberta where she descends from the Métis Bellerose family. She now makes Edmonton home. She is a mother of 3 and grandmother to 1.
Her academic research and production shares films and Métis Elder storytelling to help younger generations know who they are and their roots. She has produced 6 films including Paper Mache Totem Poles in the Library which premiered at Imaginative in 2006. Four educational documentaries with Elders were broadcast on Shaw network in 2013 and 2014 including 1) A Living History of Métis Families as told by Dorothy Chartrand (2008); 2) Grandmothers of the Métis Nation. (2010); 3) Understanding What Life is About: Storytelling with Tom McCallum (2010); and 4) How the Spirit Moves with Albert Desjarlais (2011).
Her latest film Wesaketewenowuk: Roots Growing Up (2019) is broadcast on Telus Storyhive. The current website has 170+ Elder stories and is a product of many years of work with Métis Elders. It is intended to share stories towards Michif language revitalization.
Learn a bit more about the project
Language is essential to the human condition. For more than 20 years Dr. Iseke has been working with Métis Elders whose goal is to revitalize Michif language – a threatened language like so many other Indigenous languages around the globe. Today, fewer than 2% of Métis people can speak Michif. Most of these are age 65 or over.
While living in Toronto a number of years ago, Dr. Iseke learned to sing with Anishnawbe women. She learned words and phrases through their songs. From this experience, she began to realize that learning Michif, the language of her nation, could be facilitated through song. Stories and songs are vital in understanding the culture and language of any Indigenous nation.
This website draws on the knowledge and wisdom of Elder storytelling to stimulate pride in Michif language and culture. It draws on song keepers who carry culture and language in their songs. Viewers can experience music and storytelling here to create emotional connections and meaningful experiences in support of their language learning. Please also visit the ourelderstories Facebook page for more content.