LISTEN: Blueberry youth search for happiness, identity through music and film

A group of youth from Blueberry River First Nation got a hands-on lesson in a search for their connection to the land and one another last week. 

The seven students were able to do that through music and film, collaborating with N’we Jinan, a mobile music and video studio that embeds itself in First Nations communities across the country.

article continues below

The students produced a song and accompanying video called Where Happiness Dwells—a story of the Blueberry community and how it was displaced decades ago from its sister community of Doig River in the Montney area, and how youth from the community are growing up trying to understand just what it means to be indigenous. 

“The students are from different families, different background, different lifestyles,” said Patsy Greyeyes, who helped bring the workshop to town with Sage Birley at North Peace Secondary.

“I want their voices heard. I want people to hear what they have to say, and how this has affected them and where they are at in their lives.” 

The students included Trinity Desjarlais, Remington Davis, Tichia Davis, Douglas Jensen-Apsassin, Nikita Jensen-Apsassin, TJ Sochan, and Charlie Yahey.

For Yahey, the project was a chance for him to channel his great-grandfather, considered a great dreamer in Beaver and Dane-Za culture, and whose name he inherited.

“The dreams he dreamt, about something in the community or the world, would come true,” said Yahey, 17, referencing stories that have been passed down about great floods that were prevented at Charlie Lake, or helping give his community the strength to fight off a flu epidemic.

“My great grandpa has passed down his name, and now I’m in a place to make a change,” Yahey raps during his verse in the pop-infused hip-hop song. “In a small community, where all we need is unity, our home is so resilient, we should try to see it beautifully.”

For 16-year-old TJ Sochan, the project was about bringing awareness to the Blueberry community—the good, the bad, and everything in between.

“Not a lot of people have heard of this place. I want people to know about it, we exist,” said Sochan, an active member of the high school poetry club. 

“It’s not all good, it’s not all bad, just like the rest of the world. There’s still things wrong, and I would like it to stop. We can’t do it alone, and that’s why we do projects like this.”

The four-day workshop was facilitated by David Hodges, a non-indigenous educator who says art gave him a path to follow in life when he was young. 

The job is a chance for him to help other youth find their own paths, he said.

“It’s given me a purpose and a path to harness all the energy life gives me, and develop skills to transfer to other people, and inspire them to engage themselves,” Hodges said.

“It’s cool to be creative. You can have a future being a creative person.”

Hodges said the workshop gives students insight into the artistic process. 

“It’s a huge process, but in a condensed form so they get an idea of what’s involved,” he said.

editor@ahnfsj.ca

© Copyright 2018 Alaska Highway News

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Alaska Highway News welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus
Sign Up for our Newsletter!

Popular News

Lowest Gas Prices in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St John, Tumbler Ridge
British Columbia Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.