Vernon's School District 22 has teamed up with Axis Theatre and the Towne Theatre to bring two Indigenous films to students.
Both Th'owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish, and Kwi'ah: The Girl Who Heals are adaptations of plays written by Joseph A. Dandurand.
They have themes of respecting the environment, problem solving, friendship, courage, co-operation, and honour.
Dandurand is a member of the Kwantlen First Nation. He is a poet, playwright and author, and director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre.
The film festival is a way for the school district to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Month. District lead teacher Carly Hills says she envisioned a festival showcasing stories and voices of Indigenous people.
“It’s important for students to not only learn about Indigenous culture and language but to also see Indigenous actors, read stories by Indigenous authors, and listen to music created by Indigenous artists – and these films have it all,” says Hills.
She hopes the festival can become an annual event for the school district.
This June, more than 2,600 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will have the chance to view the films.
“I wasn’t expecting this to take off. I thought maybe a few classes would sign up, but not 30% of the students in the entire district,” said Hills.
“It goes to show how many teachers are eager to integrate Indigenous content into their classes, particularly during National Indigenous History Month.”
The films will be showing June 6-8, and June 14-16 at 9:30 a.m. and noon with admission free for all SD22 students.