Updated: Sep 3, 2021
"If a young learner, 25 years from now who wants to learn their culture, my goal is it to make it easier for them than it was for me."
I found it difficult finding media that was made past 1976. While I was pursuing my first degree, at the University of Alaska Southeast (JC), Anthropology with emphasis on the Haida history and culture. I took an Ethnographic film class, basically documentaries studies on culture. By no surprise, I was the only Native in my class. Skipping 6-8 years, I decided to go back to school to receive a degree in Film with a minor in Photography at the University of Alaska of Fairbanks. Again, I was the only Native in each class during my three year study.
With growing up on an island, living in places with less than 50 people, living in a town without running water and learning my language for over a decade, I feel that I can relate with the clients who I want to work with, Alaskan Natives. Finding that blend of someone who is Alaskan Native and knows the artwork of film/photography is honestly rare. I know I'm not the only one, but it's still rare.
I'm here to use every bit of my knowledge of not just the artistic side of things, but my cultural side as well. Majority of my clients has been non-Haidas, but yet, I still put myself as if they are Haida...If that makes sense. There are less than a handful of Haidas who are fluent in the Alaskan dialect. Storytellers are just as rare to find. With that, there is a surge of people who are trying to keep our culture alive, which I 100% support. To round it back, I make my films/photography to the best of my ability not just for brand purposes, but to make sure our cultures are being portrayed the absolute best way.
If a young learner, 25 years from now who wants to learn their culture, my goal is to make it easier for them to learn than it was for me. I would love to capture our history, storytelling, language and of course our way of life. Bringing that culture awareness to outsiders who may not have grown up with the culture around them, showing them the absolute best of our people is vital. Showing them the strive people have to learn, growing as a person, to passing on our knowledge to the next generation is what I want to show.