Students and teachers in Prince George have completed a 30-minute film telling the story of Metis in Canada. It’s the result of a wide-ranging project which began at School District No. 57 (SD57) last year.
Called Exploring Historical Perspectives Through Place-Based Theatre: The Story of the Metis in Canada Film Project, it involved students from Foothills Elementary, Spruceland Traditional Elementary, Ecole College Heights Elementary, Heritage Elementary and D.P. Todd Secondary schools.
Jennifer Moroz, a member of SD57’s Learning Innovations team, lead the project which tells the history of Metis in Canada involving students from grades 4 through 9.
Each grade level – specific to curriculum in areas such as social studies, arts education and applied design, skills and technology – gave portrayals from part of the Metis timeline.
“It is my sincere hope that this film will be viewed as a learning tool to support discussion and inquiry about this crucial part of Canadian history (First Indigenous in North America - 1885 Northwest Resistance). The process of creating the film was embedded in key learning outcomes in grades 4-9 Social Studies, ADST, and Arts Education,” said Moroz in a post about the film’s completion.
The film was made over the course of 2020 with the help of Métis Elders, Indigenous Support workers, students, teachers, administrators, Spruce City Wildlife Association, and parent support.
It also features Leona Neilson, Author of "Niwechihaw-I Help" and "Nipehon- I Wait" - Cree/English books describing the relationship of a grandmother with her grandchildren.
Ben Giblson of MediaForge Studios filmed the production and all of the music is performed by members of SD57.
Music teachers in the five schools – Susan Klein, Elizabeth Morris, Byron Kurkiniemi, Sharon MacDermott and Chris Goodwin – taught students time-period songs including: Riel’s Farewell, Un Canadien Errant, My Paddle, Land of the Silver Birch and Alouette and the D.P Todd band performed the film’s soundtrack.
In one scene, Metis dance instructor Beverly Lambert worked with Foothills, Spruceland and Ecole College Heights students and assisted them during the filming, where students danced to live fiddle music performed by Raynie Gervais, accomplished musician and the North Central Regional Director of the Metis Nation of British Columbia.
Not only was the film production a unique learning opportunity for students the film is now available as a resource in current and future classrooms.