Our First Voices

Our First Voices

Release date:


Running time:

31 minutes


Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:


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  • Audience level:
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With the help of her grandmother, a young mother composes a lullaby to her baby in Halq'eméylem; at the Chief Atahm School in Adams Lake, children learn math in the Secwepemctsin language of their ancestors; and on Haida Gwaii, musician Vern Williams honours his culture with songs in his traditional language of Xaad Kil. These are just three of the 13 stories in Our First Voices, a film that celebrates BC First Nations languages and pays tribute to the drive to preserve and revitalize the languages for future generations.

First Nations producers Marilyn Thomas and Catarina Longmuir joined Sharon Bliss to produce this omnibus of 13 poetic meditations on the importance of native languages for future generations. The DVD consists of 13 short films, varying in length from two to four minutes. The fllm are directed by four talented young Indigenous media artists–Helen Haig-Brown, Zoe Hopkins, Lisa Jackson and Kelvin Redvers. While noting the effect the Indian Residential School system had on the decline of Indigenous languages, Our First Voices focuses on efforts being made today to create a whole new generation of teachers and learners. Using innovative technology and creating entertaining learning tools, generations come together with a common goal to reinvest in the future of their communities.

Discussion guide available for download here: Our_First_Voices_discussion_guide.pdf

Short  |  Language  |  Filmmaker:
• Syilx Song  |  Nsyilxcǝn (Okanagan)  |  Helen Haig-Brown
• Typewriter  |  SENĆOŦEN (Salish/Northern Straits)  |  Lisa Jackson
• Math Class  |  Scwepemctsin (Shuswap)  |  Helen Haig-Brown
• Lullaby  |  Halq'emélem (Halkomelem/Cost Salish)  |  Kelvin Redvers
• Earl Smith  |  Nuučaaǹuł (Nuu-chah-nulth)  |  Lisa Jackson
• Sisters Sam  |  Nak'azdli Dakelh (Carrier)  |  Kelvin Redvers
• Spelling Bee  |  Nłe?kepmxcín (Thompson), Sťáťimcets (lillooet), Nisga'a  |  Zoe Hopkins
• Ktunaxa  |  Ktunaxa (Kootenay)  |  Zoe Hopkins
• Ts'ak  |  Nisga'a  |  Kelvin Redvers
• Airplane  |  Hailhzaqvla (Heiltsuk)  |  Zoe Hopkins
• Songbringer  |  Xaad Kil (Haida)  |  Lisa Jackson
• Mom n' Me  |  Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin)  |  Helen Haig-Brown
• City Speaks  |  Skwxwú7mesh sníchim (Squamish)  |  Lisa Jackson

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