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HCIP Profile: Judy Iseke

Dr. Judy Iseke, director/producer of Wesaketewenowuk: Roots Growing Up. As a filmmaker, author, educator, and researcher, Dr. Judy Iseke understands the importance of revitalizing the highly threatened Michif language, which is key to Métis culture and knowledge for future generations.

Dr. Judy Iseke’s new film and website comprise a “cultural ecosystem” designed to build “resources to inform educators interested in reconciliation and language revitalization”

As a filmmaker, author, educator, and researcher, Dr. Judy Iseke understands the importance of revitalizing the highly threatened Michif language, which is key to Métis culture and knowledge for future generations.

Her latest film Wesaketewenowuk: Roots Growing Up, supported through an EHC Project Accelerator grant, follows Elder Tom McCallum and musician Andrea Menard on a walk through the natural and built landscapes of Edmonton, creating a Michif song as they go.

The way Michif is spoken varies based on a speaker’s experiences in Métis family, community, and culture, including a variety of influences from French and Cree languages. Just as the Métis culture and creation of Michif language represent exchange, the exchange between McCallum, Menard, and Iseke results in a new cultural creation. Andrea is not fluent in Michif, and her song is created from McCallum’s stories and translations as well as his idea (shared during a trip from downtown into the river valley via funicular) to pair the song with a jig.

Musician Andrea Menard and Elder Tom McCallum share a song

Musician Andrea Menard and Elder Tom McCallum share a song

An author, educator, and researcher in addition to producer/director, Judy is excited about the opportunities for collaboration offered by creative filmmaking

Jaro Malanowski (director of photography, editor)

Jaro Malanowski (director of photography, editor) of Avatar Media

The film is available via Judy’s Our Elder Stories website, which houses storiesfilmssongs, and language resources for Cree as well as the Michif language; the site and film include contributions by Avatar Media. Together, the film and site form what Judy refers to as a “cultural ecosystem,” designed to build “resources to inform educators interested in reconciliation and language revitalization.”

Her next project? Michif Wesakechak Tune, an animation of the Cree trickster character Wesakechak in an urban Edmonton setting, with Elder McCallum telling “new stories based on the oral tradition . . . teaching his granddaughter about Wesakechak and the Michif language.”

Judy is excited about the opportunities for collaboration offered by creative filmmaking as she explores ways to unlock and share the wisdom and power of language, place, and oral traditions in modern times.

Wesaketewenowuk Film | Wesaketewenowuk Press Kit | Wesaketewenowuk Song Lyrics

Read the entire profile here: https://edmontonheritage.ca/2019/11/14/hcip-profile-judy-iseke/

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