Stories of intergenerational healing fuel s-yéwyáw: Awaken, the latest documentary from Liz Marshall. This portrait draws upon the wisdom of Indigenous elders as Marshall collaborates with three multimedia artists—Ecko Aleck, Alfonso Salinas, and Charlene SanJenko—and chronicles their journeys to learn from leaders of their tribes. There are very difficult conversations throughout the film as the sit-downs with elders inevitably confront the violent past of Canada’s residential school system, which caused a chasm between families and complicated the transferral of culture, knowledge, and customs between generations.
Ecko Aleck of the Nlaka’pamux Nation (Lytton, BC,) Alfonso Salinas of the shíshálh Nation (Sunshine Coast, BC,) and Charlene SanJenko of Splatsin of the Secwépemc Nation (Shuswap, BC,) are learning and documenting the traditional cultural teachings and legacies of their Elders, including the impacts of genocide resulting from Canada’s Indian Residential School (IRS) system. Calling the audience’s attention to the filmmaking process of narrative collaboration between an Indigenous and settler team, this character-driven documentary connects the transformative stories of three Indigenous multimedia changemakers and their four Elders. Infused by Indigenous ceremony, s-yéwyáw: Awaken walks alongside the process of intergenerational healing.