Residency in Pikangikum: Creation of a video series of local artists
From April 5th to 12th, Isorine and Gillian Mapp returned to Pikangikum.
Building on this story and Darwin’s portrait created in the Fall of 2022, during this visit, Isorine Marc (Alchemist at Jamii) and artist Gillian Mapp worked on a creating a series of 6 videos. Our intent was to shine a spotlight on the talented artists of the community in Pikangikum.
We are incredibly grateful for the support of art teacher Vanessa Hazel at Eenchokay Birchstick School, who was instrumental in supporting us through this project. With her precious help, Isorine and Gillian are (re)connecting with the community members of Pikangikum.
Morningstar Quill: Filmed in both September 2022 and April 2023. In this portrait, Morningstar speaks about how photography helps her mental health as she has been dealing with grief, and how she hopes to inspire the next generation of artists, including her son. She talks about the many talents in Indigenous communities and how she is there to answer any questions people may have.
Lindsay King: Lindsay, who is a staff at Eenchokay Birchstick School, has written a children book, “Storyteller Skye”. In the interview, she recounts the journey to bring this book to life, its meanings, and how important representation matters. Lindsay is also sharing how her (re)learning of medecine is inspiring her next book which is about a young girl learning about plants as medecine.
Amberlee Quill: Amberlee shares how grief influence her work and how painting is a way to express her dreams she has visions of. She also talks about housing issues in the community and ways she thinks it could be addressed.
Maddy King: Maddy discusses how photography has given her ideas of opening her new business and inspiring other youths to find their own passion. She talks about grief and how some photos she takes represent people she has lost. She mentions alcoholism problems she sees in the community and her hope for change.
Travis G Peters: Travis recounts how he picked up his first guitar and how music guided him through his life. He mentioned problems with youths and gas sniffing and how he would love to share his passion of music with them in the hope they would find a direction in their life.
The Jamii Team was also honored to meet with and create a portrait of Chief Shirley Keeper.
Chief Shirley Keeper, in her video portrait, shares how she accepted the invitation to become Chief and how she consulted her people to make this step. She shares why it is so important to take on this role, and what some of her responsibilities are. She explains how much she cares about the young generation, especially young parents, hoping to help them through the path and parenthood and breaking cycles of grief.
When we traveled to Pikangikum in Fall 2022, we were honored to be allowed to video record two stories shared by Elder Matthew Strang. He told the stories in his mother tongue, Ojibwe. Community members of Pikangikum had shared with us that stories of Elders had been captured years ago but it was lost in a fire. It was expressed that supporting capturing these stories for the community is something that would be precious to locals. During our 2022 visit, we filmed Elder Matthew Strang, who recounted a childhood memory of when there were only seven families in Pikangikum. When people heard the sound of bells coming through the forests, they hid all their precious belongings. The bells meant white men on dog sleds were coming to rob them of their rabbit fur, plant-based medicine for colds and coughs, and tools they had made.
When we visited Pikangikum April 2023, we were able to sit with Dannye Peters to work on the translation of these stories to English. With this project, the intent is to preserve these stories, as told by the Elder, and to share with the community at large, and especially with the youth. We are grateful for Dannye's time and care in doing such important work, and while Isorine and Dannye found laughter together, it was tedious work to honor Matthew's words.
To animate the stories and trigger our imagination, we invited Jenna Quill to create illustrations to accompany these stories. Jenna is a young women from the community who attends Eenchokay Birchstick School. Within minutes of listening to the stories, she started drawing landscapes and women on an Ipad - and we were stunned by her natural talent. The illustrations will be integrated wihtin the video of Matthew Strang.
Local musician Trav G Peters created music to go with the story, and in all that, we aim at doing our best to honor the words and the talent at play.
The intent is that this is a story that can be shared with the Eenchhokay Birchstick School students as well as in our community for all to continue learning.
Videos created will be shared on Jamii’s website and social media, as well as with the Eeenchokay Birchstick School and the community’s facebook page.