L’íl’wata (Interior Salish Version)

L’íl’wata (Interior Salish Version)

L’íl’wata was conceived and produced as a series of educational filmstrips in the early 1970s, as Alanis Obomsawin began working with the National Film Board of Canada.

Filmstrips were widely used in educational settings until the early 1980s, and the NFB was a leading producer of multimedia kits on a wide range of subjects. Obomsawin, an established artist but a relative newcomer to the world of cinema, would use the filmstrip form to begin her ambitious documentary career – one based on giving First Nations control over their own image while telling their own stories.

Working in solidarity with the people of L’íl’wata – approaching them as a fellow Aboriginal rather than an outside “expert” – Obomsawin reframed Indigenous experience from the inside, providing young Canadians with a more complete knowledge of the country’s first peoples.

  • Basket - Lhk'wál'us (Salish Version)
    2009|7 min

    A series of still images follows master Líl̓wat basket maker Mathilda Jim, from the harvesting of materials to the creation of a functional work of art. Told in the Lil̓wat7úl language, this short documentary evokes the powerful connection between language, knowledge and culture.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Salmon - Tsúqwaoz' (Salish Version)
    2009|3 min

    Expert fishers for their entire lives, Líl̓wat Elders Cora and Daniel Wells share their deep knowledge of salmon fishing, cleaning and smoking.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Xúsum (Salish Version)
    1975|4 min

    Accompanied by a song in the Lil̓wat7úl language, we follow a woman as she makes gwùshum, a Líl̓wat dessert and a very special treat. From the harvesting of the xúsum (soapberries or salmonberries) to the construction of the corn-husk whisk, a dish is created that is equal measures mouthwatering and awe-inspiring.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Mount Currie Summer Camp - Pipántsek swa7 Its7a l'íl'wata (Salish Version)
    2009|5 min

    In a series of playful portraits, Líl̓wat children and youth go about their daily duties at the community’s summer camp outside Mount Currie, B.C. Infused with a sense of love, togetherness and pride, this short documentary is a remarkable visual archive of a Líl̓wat community through the beautiful faces of their young people.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Puberty Part 1 - Kwaozán'tsut ti pál7a 1 (Salish Version)
    1975|14 min

    An intimate portrait of Marie Leo, a Sto:lo woman who was adopted into a Líl̓wat family as a baby. Marie’s gentle narrative of her remarkable early childhood demonstrates a deep connection to culture, land and family that continues to endure.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Puberty Part 2 - Kwaozán'tsut ti án'wasa 2 (Salish Version)
    1975|17 min

    Elder Marie Leo recounts her experiences going through puberty. Growing up on the Líl̓wat Nation near Mount Currie, B.C., Marie details the important process of preparing for womanhood. The various tasks and duties she undertakes demonstrate a complex, beautiful journey a young Líl̓wat person undergoes as they welcome adulthood and increased responsibilities.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.

  • Farming - Lep'cál (Salish Version)
    2009|1 min

    The farming practices of residents of the Líl̓wat Nation near Mount Currie, B.C., are presented in a series of snapshots that illustrate the fertility of their territory and the people’s deep connection to their land.

    This short is part of the L’il’wata series. In the early 1970s, at the outset of her documentary career, Alanis Obomsawin visited the Líl̓wat Nation, an Interior Salish First Nation in British Columbia, and created a series of shorts that provide personal narratives about Líl̓wat culture, histories and knowledge.