Witsuwit'en Het'en: Seeing the Witsuwit'en People
This curriculum development project seeks to use archival recordings of the Witsuwit'en people to create new educational materials for students in the Bulkley Valley. In the 1920s, Harlan Smith, an anthropologist, filmed traditional practices of the Witsuwit'en to create educational documentaries for children at the Canadian National Museum in Ottawa. These films, long out of circulation, have been stored in the archives of what is now the Canadian Museum of History. This project reclaims those images and combines them with interviews and footage of Witsuwit'en people today. The new educational films provide an opportunity to see the ways Witsuwit'en peoples related to their environment nearly a century ago, and celebrate the resilience of those traditions today.
This project is a collaborative one. Numerous Witsuwit'en community members shared their time and knowledge. Tyler McCreary conducted interviews, collected footage, and edited these films. The Office of the Wet'suwet'en, Hagwilget Village, Moricetown Band, and School District No. 54 supported the project by providing guidance, access to a meeting space, and archival resources. Drafts of the films were reviewed for use in the schools by the Witsuwit'en Culture and Language Authority and Birdy Markert, Principal of Aboriginal Education, School District #54.
Thank you to all those who have made this project possible. Tabi Misiyh Tyler McCreary and Elders for all your work and efforts in seeing the Witsuwit'en yesterday and today.