Moccasin Stories — The Documentary
Despite the devastating effects of colonization Indigenous culture has survived. We’re in an era now where Indigenous people are beginning to rediscover who they are and where they came from. The moccasin and mukluk metaphorically speak to the resiliency of Indigenous people and culture.
The moccasin is not only used and enjoyed by Aboriginal people — it’s also found its way into mainstream fashion. Moccasin Stories follows the women who are at the forefront of keeping the craft of moccasin making alive.
Moccasin Stories is a 22-minute documentary that can currently be viewed on through Bell MTS’ Video On Demand service (check the Stories From Home section).
The project was produced by myself and directed and produced by Winnipeg filmmaker Charlene Moore. The Winnipeg Film Group is currently distributing the project to films around the world.M
I’ve developed a presentation that features Moccasin Storiesthat’s suitable for classrooms and educators in terms of incorporating and integrating Indigenous Perspectives into the classroom.
It doesn’t end with the film. It can’t. If it does, we’ve failed.
The documentary is merely a story. One that is being crafted to illustrate the power of Aboriginal culture and the significance of what many look at as only footwear.
I had a neighbour from back home stop me the other day to ask about the project. Coincidentally, she was working on a project aimed to educate people on moccasins and Aboriginal history in Canada. What I learned in the 20-minute conversation I had with her only strengthened my vision for this project.
Learning doesn’t stop. There are no experts, only people willing to share knowledge passed down to them as they continue to learn more.
We’ve interviewed people from all over Manitoba for this project. We have hours of video files. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it will end up on the cutting room floor. It’s interesting to watch everyone’s interpretation as to the significance of moccasins. Charlene, our director, selected a group of people that were able to speak on our vision for the film. It was near chilling to listen and record the last few interviews and to hear the stories come together, to have the gaps filled, and many of our questions answered.
I’m hoping that Moccasin Stories can branch out to be more than a film — a transmedia resource guide that can be accessed by educators and those looking to further their knowledge on both the cultural significance and the actual craft of making the moccasin.
For myself, filmmaking has occupied the majority of my career, but I’m also currently in the process of switching paths and becoming an educator. I’m planning on ways to preserve and distribute the knowledge gathered from this project and sharing it with others. Coupled with the fact that Charlene, our director, who has a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Governance, I think it’s safe to say that the project is in good hands.
Right now the thought process is that digital media will be leveraged as a distribution device for both the film and the resources gathered from this project. The idea is that it will grow over time — the package will never fully be delivered. We’ll house everything at the Moccasin Stories website. It would be ideal if we could keep all of the material free. If not, from time to time, I could imagine future crowdfunding campaigns, corporate sponsorship, or paywalls being put in place in order to adequately compensate those who contribute. We’ll never portray ourselves, or a one-stop shop for moccasin knowledge. I want to help foster and create a community that takes on a life of its own, with our project merely being a member of something much bigger.
Also, I’ve developed a presentation that features Moccasin Stories that’s suitable for classrooms and educators in terms of incorporating and integrating Indigenous Perspectives into the classroom.