Elder in the Making
Director: Chris Hsiung
Won Best Documentary at the Alberta Film Festival
Cowboy Smith is a Blackfoot man from Piikani Nation. Chris Hsiung is a first generation Chinese-Canadian raised in Calgary. These two young urban dwellers share a common quest to understand their heritage and what it means to be a wise elder for their community. Like the vast majority of Canadians, Chris is a descendant of immigrants. He grew up thinking there was no history or culture before the Europeans came. Today, he realizes he is missing an important part of his own story as a resident of Treaty 7. Cowboy, like many of Canada’s indigenous peoples, is re-establishing his identity on the land that for many millennia his ancestors called home. The “X” in his name marks his missing history wiped away by generations of cultural genocide.
Together, Chris and Cowboy embark on a journey across traditional Blackfoot territory and thousands of years of ancient history mediated by the wisdom of modern day elders. Through their exploration, they begin a process of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people relevant to all of us. “Elder in the Making” invites all Canadians to explore the tragic and hopeful history of their home. And through the journey of an aboriginal and a newcomer rediscover our responsibility as stewards of the land and people yet to come.