The stories of Enoch Cree Nation elders have come to life on a small screen in an animated way.
Enoch Animated is a YouTube channel that features Enoch Cree elders Bob Cardinal, Beatrice Morin and Garry Morin telling stories brought to life through animation.
The 24 videos, each one or two minutes long, were created to offer entertainment and education for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
They tell tales of berry-picking, fishing, having a scare while hunting and playing hockey dressed up as a boy. They include English and Cree closed-captioning.
The stories are illustrated by Henry Andrade, also known as M.C. Red Cloud, who came up with the animation idea after he was approached about a year ago by Nola Wanuch, a council member at Enoch, just west of Edmonton.
Andrade loved watching the elders reminisce, he told CBC’s Edmonton AM.
“You just close your eyes and listen to an elder speak,” he said.
“You know, I don’t want to sound all mystical native on you, but you see, you can envision it. You can see everything that they are describing.”
Last October, all 24 episodes were premiered for the Enoch community drive-in movie theatre style, in front of an audience in 50 vehicles.
“It was emotional, it was beautiful watching the elders light up, the youth light up,” Andrade said.
The videos are entertaining and will also be used as teaching tools.
Late last year, Etienna Moostoos-Lafferty, an Indigenous education coach and consultant, joined the team to create a teachers’ resource from the video to extend the learning to the classrooms.
“I think it’s a beautiful, beautiful way to connect elders to our youth,” she said.
Moostoos-Lafferty said the videos are a good way to not only talk about the history and culture but also learn the Cree language.
‘A way to reclaim culture’
The resources are created from stories featured in the videos. She explained how the video on horses would be used for a talk about Enoch’s history and connection with horses.
The berry-picking video could be used to create art, to talk about the land connections, the seasonal changes that affect the berries and the birds that pick on them.
Moostoos-Lafferty hopes the videos help reclaim things that are missing in the education system.
“I hope that this is a way to reclaim language, a way to reclaim culture, a way to participate in Indigenous ways of living and being and a way to create relationships with Elders and their very incredible stories,” she said.
Draft forms of 24 resources have been completed, she said. The plan is to continue talking to community members, elders and teachers to create a final document by June, which teachers can use in the fall.