Michif Stories  with Land
2018 Indigenous
Funded

Michif Stories with Land

Elder stories and new Michif music, take the audience on a journey to reweave a story of relationships with land.

Length13:36
DirectorJudy Iseke
GenreDocumentary

Video

Video Poster

Pitch video

Video Poster

Synopsis

Michif, the language of Métis people, is adapted to its environment on traditional territories. But Michif is a highly threatened language with fewer than 800 speakers. This documentary records the intergenerational process of developing Michif-language songs for teaching the language. An amazing new and old way to learn a language is using music. Tom McCallum, the well-known Michif-speaking Elder, Sundance lodge keeper and traditional teacher, shares stories with land. Internationally-renowned singer-songerwriter and activist Andrea Menard, working with Tom, composes songs based on Tom’s stories. Their stories and songs take us on a journey through Michif language metaphors to help connect us to our homeland in modern times.


The team

The team consists of award winning filmmaker(s) Jaro Malanowski, Avatar Media and composer and award-nominated Métis musician Andrea Menard.

Profile picture of Judy Iseke
Judy IsekeDirector, Writer, Producer
Profile picture of Jaro Malanowski
Jaro MalanowskiProduction Design, Camera Operator, Lighting, Sound Engineer

Production

Interview Roster

Tom McCallum, White Standing Buffalo
Tom McCallum, White Standing Buffalo

Tom McCallum, White Standing Buffalo, is a Sundance lodge keeper, Elder, advocate of the Michif language, and healer. He is an eloquent speaker and impassioned advocate for the Michif language. I am grateful to him for all he has taught me. Tom uses metaphors to help us understand the ideas of Indigenous language and its connections to culture and the land.

Tom McCallum Michif Language
Tom McCallum Michif Language

Tom McCallum, White Standing Buffalo, shares stories in Michif language from his intimate knowledge of the language. Sharing in the verb-based language of Michif is very different than understandings in the noun-based language of English. He explores these differences using simple Michif words and their deep meanings. He helps English-only speakers get beyond their limitations to begin to understand our relationships with land from Indigenous perspectives.

Tom McCallum, Stories of Land
Tom McCallum, Stories of Land

Tom McCallum, White Standing Buffalo, shares stories in Michif language and ways it captures the ideas of life in traditional territories, on the Métis homeland, and in community today. His stories help us understand the interrelationship with land based on deep understandings in Michif. Both traditional understandings and current urban relationships are explored.

Production Design

We will be right in the thick of things with Elder Tom McCallum sharing storytelling sessions and composer Andrea Menard writing music and speaking with Elder Tom as they develop Michif songs. We will include one day of filming the recording of songs on the land and in studio and if further funding is secured, the sharing of songs in a community setting will be filmed.
We will be right in the thick of things with Elder Tom McCallum sharing storytelling sessions and composer Andrea Menard writing music and speaking with Elder Tom as they develop Michif songs. We will film the recording of songs on the land and in studio and sharing of songs in community.
Elder Tom McCallum will support song writing in Michif language using interactive electronic media (recording the screen and audio while a skype conversation is happening) that allows recording of Michif language expressions. This will include sharing meanings of words and involve pronunciation of Michif. Andrea Menard will ask questions and use recordings to practice Michif pronunciation. We will show the negotiations of Michif story text into song lyrics by recording this sharing process. We will shoot one day of live footage of their sharing to ensure film and audio quality.