Produced by Lindsay Marie Stewart
In conjunction with Qqs Projects Society & Royal Roads University
Directed by Lindsay Marie Stewart and Matt Miles
Associate Producer Ian Hinkle of Global Reef
Filmed by Matt Miles & Lindsay Marie Stewart
Sound and Audio by Matt Miles
Edited by Matt Miles of Approach Media
Co-Editor Lindsay Marie Stewart
"A Hand To Stand" focuses on the Bella Bella Community School within the Heiltsuk First Nation reserve on B.C.´s coastal Inside Passage. The 13,000 square miles of land and sea is the largest of 23 Canadian reserves.
A Hand To Stand is a short film and trans-media journey to document and share their story, as this group of teenagers craft their own Stand Up Paddleboards. Made out of locally-sourced red and yellow cedar, the boards allow students to propel themselves through their traditional territory in a contemporary experience.Blending traditional knowledge of woodworking and the coast, and applying it to a modern sport, this is an inspiring group. This is the future of hope.
Visual journalist Lindsay Stewart and videographer Matt Miles are documenting the woodworking class as they design and build their own boards. In June 2012, we left Victoria, B.C. for an eight day visit to the remote Great Bear Rainforest community of Bella Bella. As two 23-year-old new media journalists with parents who are in the educational system, we feel drawn to developing greater opportunities for our generation. With extensive education and international experience in new media and visual arts we feel the need to use these skills for new causes. By developing awareness and understanding around some of the issues affecting education in our province through positive documentation and teaching, we can inspire more schools to take the lead in how they teach to truly benefit the students. This will be promoted and examined through the use of media and new technology to showcase these benefits.
Currently, the community demographic indicates that Bella Bella has more than 50% of its population under the age of 25. This is mirrored on a national scale as First Nations youth are now the fastest growing demographic in Canada. Studies in 2006 state 61 per cent of on-reserve First Nations from the ages of 20 to 24 hadn't graduated from high school.
If you are a student on a reserve, finishing school and breaking out of the poverty trap, does not look promising.
However, the woodworking class of Bella Bella Community School is challenging threats by doing something new. The school not only excelled in offering literacy support programs, such as long-distance learning, but they also took a practical approach to creative education. We see this changing community as an inspiring case study. Having witnessed the extraordinary feat of professional Stand Up Paddleboarder Norm Hann as he passed through the community, the students were struck with excitement, new possibilities, and goals. They are now building their own SUP's. We believe that if First Nations students can see themselves in the workforce, they will succeed.
Bringing this engaging story to light through new media, training and outreach, we seek to inspire schools across the province to take up a modern and practical attitude to creativity in an educational setting. In this story, by allowing a flexible curriculum, Bella Bella Community School creates an inspirational learning approach, where the children are energized to connect with their environment.
This in turn contributes to overall class attendance, a more positive attitude in the educational setting, and allows the kids to get a better understanding of their traditional territory and expand their horizons. We will work closely with school communities to both document and inspire kids to create their own stories. This will empower them and connect youth with the lands and waters of their traditional territories through an active lifestyle. We also seek to engage a new generation of teachers with the challenges and rewards of progressive learning.
Our solution addresses changing and re-examining creative learning expectations of both teachers and students. Attending school, pushing creative boundaries; and endorsing an innovative; hands-on curriculum; will become a priority. Creating competition and positive peer pressure through projects that have purpose allow students to become involved on a personal level, increasing dedication. Endorsing a hands-on approach develops perspective on how to handle real world experiences. By providing students with the materials required to start and complete longer term creative, practical projects, they can develop the life skills of patience, persistence, attention, and pride in their work. When done effectively these programs can really help to blur boundaries on what constitutes and defines classroom education.
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