I just returned from a fantastic week in Hartley Bay, smack in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. Through filming STAND, Nic and I were invited last year to facilitate a workshop with the students introducing them to shooting and editing photos and video. We were invited back again this year and I jumped at the opportunity.
The focus this year was to engage the students with the Gitga'at elders to document traditional harvesting techniques, stories and art and have the students produce short films. I had 7 students this year, 3 returning from last year and 4 fresh faces. After an introduction and afternoon tea with the elders on the first day, we spent Tuesday and Wednesday shooting. We spent time picking berries with Eva Hill, harvesting dungeness crabs with Cam Hill, chopping seaweed with Isabel Eaton, learning about tradition medicine from Marshall and peeling bark with Stan. Thursday and Friday was spent editing before a premiere of the 5 films in front of the whole school and some folks from the community.
Here is one of the films.
The students made some great films and you can watch all of them on the Gitga'at Video Program Vimeo page.
While the students learned lots, as ever, I feel that I learned infinitely more. To spend time with the Giga'at and listen to their stories and witness their culture is always revealing. It is a true privilege to be welcomed into the community and I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for the opportunity.Special thanks to Cam and Eva for hosting me and feeding me with the bounty from their back yard. To the students for all their hard work. Thanks to Marshall, Isabel and Stan for their patience, time and for sharing their knowledge.