A Pauquachin filmmaker and educator is doing her best to encourage the regrowth of traditional Indigenous languages.
Renee Sampson’s latest venture in that pursuit is Bringing Our Language Back to Life, a short film featuring local youth – including two of her children – speaking, praying and singing using the SENCOTEN language. Through prayer and song, the youth demonstrate the importance of carrying on their language and culture in their community.
Self-identified as a language revitalizationist in her biography, Sampson is also a SENCOTEN immersion teacher at the LE,NONET SCUL,AUTW SENCOTEN Survival School offered by the WSANEC School Board on the Saanich Peninsula.
Her film will reach a wider audience when it is shown online April 14-23 during the 23rd Reel 2 Real International Film Festival For Youth, an event that annually provides culturally diverse films aimed at young audiences. Bringing Our Language Back to Life is part of the Docs – Made in Canada Edition section of the festival, recommended for youth in Grades 6 and 7.
For traditional Indigenous language fans, the festival also features Inuit Languages in the 21st Century, a film that looks at threats to the Inuk language due to diminishing numbers and access to traditional speakers. But technology may be the answer, audiences discover.
To register to view Bring Our Language Back to Life, visit r2rfestival.org/festival/tickets-and-venue/. To learn more about classes teaching SENCOTEN language, visit wsanecschoolboard.ca.