By Tawnya Plain Eagle
1. How do you feel about becoming a STORYHIVE ImagineNATIVE 2019 fellowship participant?
I feel very honoured to be one of 7 artists chosen to attend ImagineNATIVE 2019, this is the icing on top of the cake for me because I’ve been working non stop while creating films in my ‘spare time’. It’s been an amazing experience working on the Telus Storyhive project with my team and hoping we can continue to work together and make more films.
2. What kind of opportunity does it provide you?
I am looking forward to the networking opportunities and will pitching a webseries and a feature film. This is my first time pitching to industry professionals and I am very nervous but I hope I can do justice to the stories that need to be told to a larger audience.
3. What are you hoping to learn from this experience?
I think getting back into the film industry and focusing on creating more stories. I’ve been quiet in my previous works and had a lot of anxiety releasing Treaty Money but it’s been a beautiful reminder that storytelling is what I love and it would be a blessing to continue to do what I’m passionate about.
4. What is your film about?
Treaty Money uses humor and sarcasm to explain the ‘free money’ we as Treaty 7 members receive each year as part of the treaty agreement signed on September 22, 1877. Too many times we as indigenous people are faced with the stereotype that we are useless people but we’re not, we contribute, we are active and most importantly, we are alive.
Video Courtesy of Kelli Morning Bull
5. Why did you feel this was an important film to make?
As Niitsitapi, I am exhausted and thought it would be fun to use film as a way to explain what is treaty money and where does it come from but to also dispel those myths of the freeloading indians. Now in this time of Truth and Reconcilation we are constantly having to remind and educate Canadians that the treaty are agreements created between two parties and they are not going anywhere. I think it’s a starting point to a larger conversation but money is always a great way to get peoples attention because at the end of the day it’s always seems to be about what the treaty pays for and where does it come from. However it’s also for our own people to begin to understand our history and where it the relationship started with Canada.
6. What is next for you?
I don’t know (Laughs) I’m just going through the motion. I work full time at the Calgary Public Library and it’s sometimes hard to coordinate time off but my dream is to work film full time but you never know what’s going to happen especially with this new/old goverment. I just take things as they come and am always grateful with how things turn out.