In 2013, while still in the early days of the production company I co-founded (Stuffed Motion), we had the honour of working with the Native Women’s Association of Canada. They were looking to produce a series of videos telling the stories of Indigenous families who had a missing or murdered relative. The job required bringing all of our filming and editing gear to a hotel in Ottawa, where families from around Canada were staying for the duration of the project. Each day we would meet with families and elders, and when a family was feeling comfortable, they would sit down with us and tell their story.
It was an incredibly delicate project to be a part of, and it was devastating to hear what these families had gone through. Normally, the last thing you want is a client over your shoulder while you edit, but in this case, that was the whole point. It was the families story to tell and so they sat with us and we worked on it together. As we worked through the edit the families would tell us more about their loved ones. We’d scan in old photos and take pictures of cherished items to include in the video.
I felt incredibly honoured to sit with them each day, smudging and listening to their elders talk about living through the residential school era. You wouldn’t believe the strength and humour with which they handled the intensity of the week.
After the digital story telling project was complete, we went on to do other work with NWAC.
Human trafficking disproportionately effects Indigenous communities, and so NWAC was looking to create a variety of PSA’s on the issue. We worked along side young Indigenous women working and volunteering for NWAC to come up with effective ways to deliver that message, all on a pretty small budget.
While I wish I was still able to work with the organization, they understandably put a priority on hiring Indigenous videographers whenever possible. At the time we first signed our contract with them, they were unable to find a local Indigenous company, but once our original 2 year contract expired, they were able to find a local company to take over.
They continue to do important work which you can see at www.nwac.ca