Documentary films offer clients the ability to use voice, images and scenery to engage community members in a modern form of storytelling. Though documentarians have always understood the power of this medium, Indigenous people are developing new methods of media production to support there are all traditions.

kwist̓aǂanmiyit: seven days with the chief.

This short documentary follows the Lower Kootenay Band’s chief councilor for seven days. It gives viewers context regarding social, political and economic activities today’s Indigenous leaders engage in. The film follows Chief Louie in the execution of everyday leadership activities, both on the Lower Kootenay Reserve and in partner communities. The project was filmed from first light to days end on seven different days in late 2017 and early 2018, and presents a realistic view of leaders, often highlighting difficult aspects of leadership.

Indigenous designed & developed narrative.
Release Date: 1/14/19
Running time: 34:20, streaming in 4K UHD.
Story by Jason Louie, Directed & Produced by Christopher Horsethief.

Horsethief, C. P. (2018). kwist̓aǂanmiyit: seven days with the chief. A film by Chief Jason Louie and Christopher Horsethief. Spokane, WA: Horsethief Productions.

As an elder once told me, “if you can give me something to watch, where I can listen to a community member, then I’m going to watch it over and over again. If you printed out and put in a three ring binder I’ll probably never open it.“

As one of our chiefs commented, “kids today have cell phones with the Internet in their hand and televisions that get 500 digital channels, so if you’re producing materials they have to look good and sound good. Nobody’s interested in cassette tapes or coloring books anymore. Outdated technology stays out of our hands.“

2019 Kootenai Falls Teaser

Kootenai Falls is a sacred place to the Ktunaxa People. It was also a prime candidate for a hydroelectric project in the 1980s. This project is the story of the balancing act, with tribal sovereignty and environmental protections on side and the country’s insatiable need for electricity on the other.

Running time: 4:15, streaming in 4K UHD.

Most importantly I found a video production and streaming delivery to be valuable for a completely different reason: it’s a non-threatening medium best of you are can pause or turn off as they need. This might seem ordinary in the context of the sitcom’s, but when the viewer is using the video to access parts of their culture that they have never experienced the process can be overwhelming.

Streaming media allows the viewer to experience cultural materials in an environment where they have a sense of safety—they can watch it alone, they can watch it with friends and loved ones, they can pause it if they feel triggered and they can come back to it when they are ready.

Ktunaxa Nation Council Social Investment Sector Impacts on Health Timeline Video

This documentary details the Ktunaxa Nation Council Social Investment Sector’s background to the major social, political and legal impacts on Ktunaxa health.

Running time: 45:22, streaming in 1080.
Copyright 2018 Ktunaxa Nation Council.
Directed by Christopher Horsethief.

Please contact me if you’re interested in a consulting relationship where I can provide guidance to your community, can help your storytellers record their words or preserve their stories and a short documentary.