We are developing a documentary on the intergenerational relationship and incredible bond of three generations of women living on the Oneida Nation, with a focus on Oneida language, intergenerational trauma, residential schools, and their successes, while interacting with Métis filmmaker, Dianne Ouellette, who is collaborating with the group and mentoring the youngest member, Alexandra Ninham.
Through research we are sharing the story of our relationship and sisterhood of our friendship of 36 years. We are exploring our family, who live on the Oneida Nation as we engage by sharing stories, memories and language as a method of cultural preservation. Preserving Oneida language and culture, and sharing with one another through storytelling is important to pass to our youngest team member as Dianne mentors her in filmmaking and she learns from her family.
This project focus' on a Wolf Clan family and the Oneida language, stories, and their community, as a form of cultural preservation, while interacting with a Métis filmmaker.
Protocols are being adhered to with the support of an Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Mother, and Advisor.
Elder Ester Ireland
Kaliwahele Nen Thohahkwʌht (Colin Matthew Ireland)
Dianne and Joan have known each other since 1986, when they met in their first year of university at the University of Regina. They became fast friends and their relationship grew as they became family over the years. Over the many years of friendship Joan's family has become Dianne's extended family.
While researching in-person on the Oneida Nation in July Elder Ester Ireland, Wolf Clan Mother adopted Dianne into the Wolf Clan with a Wampum Ceremony enacted by Kaliwahele Nen Thohahkwʌht, where Dianne was given an Oneida name, Akokwe:sayʌ́:tas (Her Heart Takes in All), gifted a blanket, and a meal was shared by all.
Dianne and Joan began disscusions of creating a documentary project about three generations of women living on the Onieda Nation with a focus on residential schools, trauma, cultural loss, language preservation, and successes a year ago. Research for a documentary project began in June 2022 and with Dianne traveling to the Oneida Nation in July we are compiling our documented research as part of phase 1 of this project.
Joan is a wolf clan member of the Oneida First Nation and has one daughter, Alex. She has studied Indian Studies, Psychology, Indian Education and Communications. She completed her Masters in Professional Education at Western University.
She has worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Her proudest moment came was when she was tapped by her clan mother to sit on the Education committee or Onyota’aka Kalih^yonitsla Tehatalitakwas. Members sat according to their traditional clans and duties. Joan is passionate about equality in education and enriching the lifelong education journey of all Indigenous people. She believes in land-based learning and the importance that language plays in culture.
She enjoys knitting, beading, reading, and drawing.
Ester Ireland is a member of Oneida Nation of the Thames.
She is a Wolf Clan Mother and a survivor of residential school. She has lived on Oneida Nation all her life except for when she attended the residential school.
Ester resides with her companion, Chewie, a black panther-like cat who loves running for treats and basking in the sunlight near to her.
Matt is an Oneida from Oneida town, in Southern Ontario. As a lifelong learner, he spends his days helping in ceremonial, constitutional, and animal welfare circles. Also, as a former Educator and Hereditary Wolf Clan Chief, he is also trusted with the propagation of Oneida Language and Culture.
Though he's never had children of his own, he has had the good fortune of adopting many step children and is considered Totoh (grandfather) to several enlightened and gifted young heroes.
Alexandra is an 18-year-old member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames, living there for 10 years.
She is an aspiring film artist who wishes to learn more about making personal film and digital projects. Currently, she is learning more about the process by taking part in researching for this documentary, by sharing stories which are part of her family tradition for generations. Alexandra is also interning for the summer at Western University in the media department.
She hopes to learn more about the craft of all things film and grow the expertise to enter the film industry.
Alexandra is an excellent archer and was competing until the pandemic. She's hoping to get back into competition soon.