In 2015, Berens River First Nation approached us to create a short documentary, which we have titled Mino Kii-Kii-Nah Ma-Ghe-Win (which roughly translates to “Seeking Knowledge” from Ojibwe). For one year, we met with young students from their community as they transitioned to high schools in Winnipeg and beyond; with no high school in Berens River, children as young as 14 are forced to leave their families to finish their diplomas.
The process began with an outline of the issues and the guidance that Berens River’s Student Services division offers during the transition. Dennis Boulanger from Student Services has a particular approach to preparing kids for their journey, and our film is shaped by his expertise – exploring the challenges students face but also focusing on the things that motivate them to keep going. The band wanted us to take a holistic approach to the transition, so we interviewed students, educators, council members, and parents, to learn as much as we could about the issue.
The film’s reach
Mino Kii-Kii-Nah Ma-Ghe-Win premiered in November 2016 at Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival and is available through Berens River’s Student Services office.