Below is a description of each of the story categories that we use to separate and sort our videos. Take a look to learn more about the topics of conversation.
Elders describe the use of arts, crafts, and sewing in their lives growing up. From moccasin making, to beadwork and sewing, Elders emphasize the importance on knowing these practical skills – “the old ways”. Storytelling accompanied these lessons.
To Métis dancing is important. Dancing was learned growing up and an important part of being in community. It brought joy. Music got their feet moving.
Drumming was a part of Indigenous communities but was removed through colonization. It’s return was part of recovery and return of pride. Music was important to communities but some never returned to drumming.
Metis Elders describe the distracting effects of technology and television in modern times and the need to counteract that by teaching language and culture using technology.
These humorous stories share the humor of Métis communities which is a big part of living in community. Most of these stories are based on experiences in communities but may well have some creative embellishments added.
Elders describe their relationships to Michif language, Cree language dialects, and the challenges of writing these languages. They further talk about words in the Michif language and teaching the language.
Knowing who you are as a Métis person is based on teachings passed on and language. Language is part of knowing who you are and enriches one’s life.
Each of the Métis Elders and speakers of Michif shared a bit about themselves to introduce themselves to the others gathered and to the filmmakers. They describe something of their lives, the sources of their knowledge, the communities they grew up in and inhabit today, and aspects of the names they have been called or call themselves.
Being Métis is being born into political contexts. Elders describe treaties dividing peoples, traditional roles of bundles, government controls, language influences, involvement of politicians, road building bringing change, infrastructure accords, racism, and struggles for understanding, and Elders teachings about traditional contracts.
Elders describe storytelling for education, as a form of social activity, and share stories from their past with insights and fun along the way.
Métis/Michif Elders know who they are based on their families and communities and the knowledge from these important sources in their lives.
Music in Metis communities is very important. Here Elders share stories about music in communities, teaching language in music, growing up with music and its importance in teaching children and youth.
Elders share stories about supporting others in learning, providing teachings to children, and engaging with the natural world as teacher through humor, sharing stories, and community shared work.
Teachings let us know who we are, who we are related to, and help us learn lessons that guide our lives. Guidance while growing up comes from Sundance, medicines, stories, feasting, and shared knowledge as well as parents and grandparents. Elders speak about the disruption of teachings and impacts of residential schools. Elders contemplate a difficult future without teachings and Elders to support learning.
Elders explored the topic of teaching Michif to children and adults, the importance of teaching the language and strategies to help learners learn. Music, games, play, and making it fun are important in the learning. It is not only children who need to be taught and to learn but all of us. There are many challenges to language learning. Elders explore some basic Michif language and how to teach it through fun activities.
The Elders share stories the help understand the educational value of storytelling for youth and community. Teaching stories, like those from Wesakechak, or from community and Elder experiences educate in communities. These stories help us learn of the past and prepare for a positive future.
Check out more of our elder stories
What's Going On
Edmonton Heritage Council Blog: 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 […]
Michif language comes alive through film and new resource
Wesaketewenowuk. The seven-syllable Michif word is the very apt title for Dr. Judy Iseke’s new short documentary that will be shown Saturday at the Musée Héritage Museum. The screening is part of a celebration of Métis culture and the launch of her new internet resource called Our Elder Stories.