Saskatoon·Video

Video uses animation, storytelling to chronicle Yellow Quill First Nation's water struggles

Researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have teamed up with the Yellow Quill First Nation to chronicle the community's struggles with water in a new video.

University of Saskatchewan research group interviewed 22 elders from Sask. community

Artist Cheryl Buckmaster was selected to help create the animated video part of a U of S research project called Spirit, Safety and a Stand-off. (University of Saskatchewan)

Animation might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to serious academic research.

But researchers from the University of Saskatchewan have teamed up with the Yellow Quill First Nation to chronicle the community's struggles with water in a new video that combines storytelling and animated drawing.

It's a part of a School of Public Health research project called Spirit, Safety and a Stand-off.

Research associate Lori Bradford said the group interviewed 22 elders from the community, about 200 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, to hear and analyze their account of the changes to water in their community.

Bradford told CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition that's when the group decided to take a different approach to their report.

She explained that they wanted to create something that would be inviting to their audience and would help other people understand the history and the challenges that the elders faced with the lake and the waters in their area.

"So the idea of the video was born from that," she said.

"We reflected that part of their tradition is storytelling and there is a deep respect for fine arts. We thought that we can create this video as a combination of fine arts and research results and storytelling, so it really checked off all the boxes for us."  

The chief and council, along with the research team, selected local artist Cheryl Buckmaster to help create the animated video.

Bradford said they worked closely with the chief and council to make sure that everything that they wanted to include in the video was included in a very respectful way.

"The community was quite moved," she said. "They felt like it was a way to begin a healing process and to affirm and reaffirm for some of the elders the struggles that they face."

With files from the CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition