We first got introduced to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council when we were hired to cover a press conference. FPCC does many things… but one of their main goals is revitalizing Indigenous languages. After listening to a few speakers and doing a handful of interviews it was obvious to us that this organization, and the people they work with, are a fountain of story. So when they approached us about a wanting to create a couple films that showcase what the organization works on, and some of the impact that they’ve made, it was a no-brainer for us to seek out personal stories to tell. The idea was to create two films: one as an overview of all the programs the organization offers, the second was to focus specifically on the language programs, namely the Mentor-Apprentice program.
What makes this program so unique is that they take a young person that’s looking to learn their traditional language and pair them with an elder that speaks fluently. This isn’t a typical text-book based set of sessions. This is about learning their language naturally, in conversation and around typical, everyday events. We knew that telling this story through the eyes of one person would be much stronger than running through a list of features and benefits that the program offers.
And so the search for a subject began. It wasn’t long before we found Natasha Green. Natasha is from a very small nation on Northern Vancouver Island. Before she entered the program there were only 10 fluent speakers of her language. She had fond memories of listening to her grandpa and other family members speaking the language when she was growing up, so when she found out about the program she reached out to him to ask if he’d be willing to be her mentor. This program has not only given her the gift of her language, but also uncountable hours with her grandpa that she may have not otherwise have. As an early childhood educator and principal at a preschool, Natasha is now passing her language on to the next generation.
We couldn’t have written a better story than that.