Article and images provided by The Number
Voices on the Rise is a new documentary series produced by The Number following host Eli Hirtle as he travels to Indigenous communities across Alberta to explore ongoing language revitalization efforts. All three parts of this powerful new series launched on November 29, 2019, for free on TELUS Optik TV, and online at VoicesOnTheRise.ca
With 2019 declared as the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations the power and precarity of these languages has been given a much-needed spotlight. The series celebrates and showcases the beautiful path of learning Indigenous languages, in different ways, in different places, all with the common goal of reclaiming identity, culture, and traditions. Voices on the Rise takes an intimate look at the people behind this important work.
The first episode begins with Eli traveling to the northern Alberta town of Wabasca, the place his kokum(grandmother) was from. Eli has lived most of his life disconnected from his Cree family due to his mother’s adoption as part of the Sixties Scoop. This homecoming visit begins with the discovery of a second-cousin who helps Eli learn about his relations while creating a family tree. Eli is then off to witness local children’s coming of age ceremonies. An experience he was unable to have growing up. Ending his visit with a deep and spiritual conversation with knowledge keeper John Bigstone leads Eli further down the path of healing and reconnection.
From Wabasca Eli embarks on a journey across Alberta to learn about the current state of language and cultural revitalization in 9 diverse communities: Elder recording sessions; a mother and son finding ways to keep the Blackfoot language alive in the city; an elementary school’s first language festival; efforts to bring traditional names back to the mountains and land in a federal park. Important, powerful stories from the people at the heart of language revitalization work in Alberta find the light they deserve in this new documentary series.
See all three episodes by visiting the Voices On The Rise official website: VoicesOnTheRise.ca
This documentary is made possible with the support of TELUS, and is available for free on TELUS Optik TV on Demand & Online.
Eli Hirtle is a nêhiyaw(Cree)/British/German filmmaker, beadworker, visual artist and curator based in Victoria, BC, Canada. His practice involves documenting Indigenous cultural resurgence and revitalization, as well as investigating his nêhiyaw identity through beadwork. EliHirtle.ca
The Number is dedicated to creating work people value. We work on projects small and large, and like to build long-term relationships with mutual benefit. We not only work with all the standard mediums — web, print, photo, video, apps, media installations — but strive to create unique ways of interacting with technology, engaging audiences, sparking dialogues and communicating values. TheNumber.ca