Transforming a 700-year-old cedar tree into an ocean-going dugout canoe was about more than building a boat.
That process and those who made it happen are at the centre of the documentary film Slhexun’s tthu Xpey’ (Medicine of the Cedar), which will première tonight, July 4, at the Port Theatre.
Nanaimo-based Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services documented the canoe carving process over a year.
“In the process, they also captured the transformation of indigenous youth as they followed the path of their ancestors, learning skills and teachings that have been passed down the generations over thousands of years,” noted an event press release.
The 40-minute film follows master carver Luke Marston, knowledge keeper Lawrence Mitchell and a group of youths as they carve the canoe and prepare to take it on an ocean voyage to Puyallup, Wash.
At tonight’s premiere, those in attendance will get to see the canoe and performances, and there will be a question-and-answer with a panel of guests including filmmaker Peter Campbell.
The screening is free and open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at this link.