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Available for rent

48'

Canada, 2004

Production : Good Medicine Media

Cree, English

French, English


DOCs from the Vault



Synopsis


Among the First Nations of Canada there are still those who know the old songs, the ancient trails where the strong medicine grows, and how to gather and use it in healing ways. Dr.Dale Auger is a remarkable Cree artist, educator, and medicine man, and our host. Medicine walks in the rich boreal forest of the northern Alberta Cree, as well as with the Haida on their enchanted north Pacific archipelago, are featured in this beautifully shot hour.

A word from Tënk


Dr. Dale Auger guides the viewer on a forested path in search of maskihk—medicine in his native Cree tongue—and finds it everywhere, from the plants to the loon songs, the waters to the various Elders he encounters. With humour and curiosity, he explores first his home territory, the land of the Sakaw Cree in Northern Alberta—sakaw itself signifying forest—and then flies coastal to Haida Gwaii to feast with new eyes, learning through touch and tongue alike the ways of the Haida through encounters with knowledge keepers there.

 

In his own words: “A Sakaw Cree philosophy of education acknowledges multiple sources of knowledge (Elders, Animals, Land and the Spiritual Realm). Education comprises the crossing of knowledge and the sharing of knowledge among all beings. Sakaw Cree educational systems will support processes which acknowledge and affirm the spiritual connectedness of all that exists.” This is really felt in the film, as he relishes learning with a youthful excitement, inviting the viewer to do the same.

 

First we meet his uncle, Elder Denys Auger, a medicine man who shows us how to speak to the willows, share the berries with the bears, and how to accept the honour of the medicine allowing you to take it home with you in order to help heal humans. With reverence and humility, we learn the essential wildcrafting skills that, unfortunately, have not always come hand in hand with interest in herbal medicines and the riches of the forests. The elusive skill of learning to situate oneself as a human in interconnection with all other life is a precious wisdom that this film passes on as an oral history, a document that attests to various First Nations’ knowledge, philosophies, and ways. Teaching and learning walk alongside each other as Auger walks the land and grazes the waters, asking us all to consider what he so vivaciously senses in his bones: “I feel the ancestors coming together, nation to nation.”

 

Aurora Prelević
Writer, translator, herbalist, cinephile

 

Item 1 of 4
Item 1 of 4

Item 1 of 4