Voices of the Ancestors will be playing at Tivoli Theatre on Monday, July 19. (Courtesy of Creston Valley Arts Council)

Voices of the Ancestors will be playing at Tivoli Theatre on Monday, July 19. (Courtesy of Creston Valley Arts Council)

Locally produced documentary shares Indigenous knowledge of the Kootenay region

Hereditary Chief Robert Louie Sr. shares his unique life experience in the 32-minute video

Submitted by the Creston Valley Arts Council

Next Monday, there will be a special opportunity to learn more about Indigenous culture in the Kootenays at the Tivoli Theatre.

Yaqan Nukiy Heritage Centre in partnership with Creston Valley Arts Council (CVAC) has announced the release of a new film called “Voices of the Ancestors: Teachings of the Flatbow Kutenai”.

Produced and filmed in the Kootenay Lake region of British Columbia, the 32-minute video will share the traditional knowledge and unique life experience of Hereditary Chief Robert Louie, Sr.

Based on the oral history lessons Louie learned as a child, the project shares information of the Flatbow Kutenai that has been handed down through many, many millenniums, much of it previously undocumented in written or video form. It is dedicated to his maternal grandmother, Marion Ernest Goodman.

“I was adopted and brought into our people’s culture as a baby by my grandmother, who taught me everything she knew about our culture, including our language and our ancestral knowledge of the Kootenay region,” said Louie.

“These teachings formed the person I am, provided a strong base for my adult life and inspired me to accept and celebrate my life with joy, my connection to it, to give back, to return through sharing all that has been given to me.”

At the core of the Indigenous knowledge are the people who travelled in canoes up and down the waterways of rivers, swamps and lakes of the Columbia Basin region. People who had a strong belief system, family structure, and oral history. Many of these oral teachings included animal-based storytelling with gentle morals, which are reflected in the surrounding geographical formations of the area. The land literally comes alive with the teachings.

Producer Sharon Svanda, who is also the CVAC liaison, said the video has been similarly inspiring for its small crew.

“Our group has learned an incredible amount about the Indigenous knowledge and experiences of the Kootenay Lake and wetlands,” she said.

“After hearing Robert’s stories of the mythic animals and chiefs embodied in the rock formations along the Lake, I personally will never look at this region’s mountains or wetlands in the same way.”

Svanda and the Louies also thank the film’s numerous sponsors, including the Creston Valley Arts Council, Central Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Arts Council, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

“Voices of the Ancestors: Teachings of the Flatbow Kutenai” will premiere at the Tivoli Theatre on Monday, July 19 at a 2 p.m. matinee showing and a 7 p.m. evening event.

Tickets may be pre-purchased through the Yaqan Nukiy Heritage Centre (located within Legend Logos) or at the door.

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