STOUGHTON - Louise BigEagle of the Ocean Man First Nation came to the Stoughton Public Library on Feb. 25 to speak on her filmmaking experiences.
Stoughton librarian Rheanelle Callfas was contacted by the Southeast Regional Library to have BigEagle attend the library and she gladly accepted as part of Aboriginal Storyteller Month activities.
BigEagle has a bachelor of fine arts degree and began her film career shortly after finishing her degree.
Her first film was called, To Wake Up the Nakota Language, which is an observational film, as this is what the grant she received required.
She contacted her uncle Armand McArthur of the Pheasant Rump First Nations, and he became the star in the film.
BigEagle and her crew would follow McArthur as he spoke freely about the disappearance of the Nakota language.
This film was captured by Pheasant Rump First Nations medicine wheel and in Kisbey at the Recreational Hall. It took two days to film. It took another two weeks to edit the clip to get six minutes of film. Included in the film was McArthur’s wife, but she was so nervous and asked to be removed, but her dog did manage to get into the film.
According to BigEagle, the Nakota language is slowly disappearing as there are only a handful of Nakota speakers left. All the others have passed away.
In the film, McArthur speaks about how sacred the language is and the importance of the Nakota traditions. He goes on to say how the Creator has given the land to the people to care for.
In Canada alone, there is over 30 Indigenous languages, with Cree and Nakota known more in the southeast area of Saskatchewan.
A Nakota dictionary has been completed in Indiana and one is being shipped to BigEagle so she too can learn the language, as it is not one she knows well.
BigEagle’s parents attended a residential school where they were not allowed to speak the language. Once they grew older they did remember some Cree and this is the language that BigEagle remembers. It wasn’t until BigEagle was older that she found out that she was also Nakota.
She is eager to learn the language and continue with the tradition. McArthur did teach in the schools. They hope to have the younger generation take an interest in teaching the language so it will be carried on.
Her next film, which will be more in depth, will feature a documentary on the Nakota people, which will be interview based, not observational.
BigEagle has gone around to many communities with her short film, and later in the afternoon would attend the Kipling Public Library.