Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Changes, whether big or small, can impact a person, family, community and society.
Those who look for creative ways to make change while leading others along the way are considered changemakers.
These strong warriors are exactly who Picture This Productions is searching for.
“To be brave, to stand for your convictions, to be willing, to be counted and to make a small difference that can lead to a big one, that is the version of warrior we are looking at,” said Maureen Marovitch, co-producer of a new series titled Warrior Up!.
The series will highlight Indigenous youth 13 to 24 years of age who are leading change across Turtle Island.
The 13 half-hour shows will air the later part of 2023 on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). It will be hosted by Anna Lambe and Michael Redhead Champagne.
“The hosts will separate and each of them will go to different parts of the country to film with the young people,” said Marovitch, adding filming will commence during the summer of 2022 and into the fall.
Until April 4 at midnight PST, applications from young people are being accepted by Picture This Productions at email@example.com. Applications can be made either by submitting an email with a written story or short video introducing applicants’ changemaking activities.
“There are so many different ways that young people are really taking a stand and making a difference in their communities and beyond,” said Marovitch. “We are looking for young people who are in some way leading, initiating or being in the forefront in a wide range of possibilities.”
Marovitch said there has already been a number of submissions from individuals across the country, but they are looking for even more inspiring stories.
One of the submissions was about a young girl who advocated for an Indigenous history class to be offered at her school. At first the principal said there wasn’t enough interest for the class. But, the young student called out to her fellow classmates to see if there was any interest and she was met with great enthusiasm. In fact, the class was over-subscribed, Marovitch said.
“She was like ‘wow, I can make a difference’ and she is making so many changes at her school,” Marovitch added.
Another story was about a boy who, with the help of his sister, began handing out food and supplies to people who were in need. Eventually, this led them to also starting a street clean-up. Now he is planning to host a summer camp with Elders and youth to share and learn traditions and stories.
Some of the other stories include a young girl who started a beading class and is sharing the traditions with her classmates, a hockey player trying to get a clean water filtration system brought to her community rink, and a university student who is organizing a marathon/walk with her grandmother to recognize residential school survivors.
“We want to show there are a lot of smaller actions that young people can take that will make a big difference,” said Marovitch. “I think that every person who’s going to be in this series, every young person we will feature, didn’t start with a huge project. They started with something small that worked and that made a small difference to someone.”
The two hosts selected for the series share a strong devotion to the journey of change within youth.
Lambe, is an Inuk actress from Iqaluit, best known for her part in The Grizzlies and the CBC series Trickster.
“She has a passion about helping to promote different causes and to encourage young people from rural and remote communities to take part in acting and other things that can help them see a little beyond where they are,” said Marovitch.
“She will be at the forefront because we will be having an English and an Inuktitut version (under the title Sapilisuittut) of the series, so Anna also will be doing the voicing for hosting of that.”
Redhead Champagne is a member of the Shamattawa First Nation, who most recently hosted APTN's season 2 reunion of First Contact.
“He’s done a lot of workshops with youth,” said Marovitch. “He’s pretty well known around Winnipeg and as an educator.”
In addition to the series, Marovitch explained there will be other shorter videos of other inspiring youth that will be highlighted in connection with Warrior Up!
These short stories will be published on their social media channels in hopes of reaching even more young people.
Marovitch said the series will also be available for educators to share within classrooms and other teachable settings.
But that is not all the production team wants to accomplish.
“If they (the youth) have an idea and their project is at a certain stage and they would like to see it move a little bit in a bigger or in a different way, or they have a dream, we will try to help and see how we can help them move forward with that,” she said.
Local Journalism Initiative Reporters are supported by a financial contribution made by the Government of Canada.