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Writing the Land

Writing the Land

| 7 min

In this short documentary, a Musqueam elder rediscovers his Native language and traditions in the city of Vancouver, near where the Musqueam people have lived for thousands of years.

Writing the Land captures the ever-changing nature of a modern city - the glass and steel towers cut against the sky, grass, trees and a sudden flash of birds in flight and the enduring power of language to shape perception and create memory.

  • writer
    Kevin Lee Burton
  • director
    Kevin Lee Burton
  • producer
    Selwyn Jacob
  • cinematographer
    Helen Haig-Brown
  • editor
    Helen Haig-Brown
    Eliot Piltz
  • sound design
    Tony Papa
  • sound supervision
    Tony Papa
  • online editor
    Eliot Piltz
  • colourist
    Eliot Piltz
  • re-recording mixer
    Jeff Yellen
  • editing consultant
    Tony Papa
  • post-production services
    Avanti Pictures
  • production coordinator
    Jennifer Roworth
  • technical coordinator
    Wes Machnikowski
  • production supervisor
    Kathryn Lynch
  • marketing manager
    Kay Leung
  • program administrator
    Bruce Hagerman
  • executive producer
    Rina Fraticelli


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Ages 14 to 18

Geography - Territory: Indigenous
Geography - Territory: Urban
Indigenous Studies - History/Politics
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
Indigenous Studies - Issues and Contemporary Challenges

This documentary can inspire research, discussion, projects and entry points for developing foundational knowledge in relation to First Nations language, connection to the land and survival. How important is learning language related to knowing who you are as a First Nations person? How are First Nations languages connected to the land and spirituality? What would be the significance of learning original First Nations place names of landmarks within Canada? How has urban sprawl affected the health and well-being of First Nations people? What does traditional, ancestral and unceded territory mean in terms of First Nations in what is now Canada?  Who are the Musqueam and where is their original territory? How has the Musqueam land base shifted over time and how is this a reflection of the disregard for First Nations lives and livelihood? Like the plants that grow amidst concrete, how do the Musqueam continue to flourish and thrive? 

Writing the Land
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