Cree teachings say that identical twins are born with two bodies, but share one heart. Meet Tapwewin and Pawaken, 10-year-old brothers trying to make sense of the world, their family and each other.
NiiSoTeWak means “walking the path together.”
Tapwewin and Pawaken are 10-year-old brothers trying to make sense of the world, their family and each other. They’re already grappling with some heady questions about identity. What does it mean to be a twin? What does it mean to be Cree? How do you define yourself when you’re forever linked to someone else? The twins discuss these questions with their two elder brothers — 22-year-old actor Asivak and 20-year-old basketball player Mahiigan — and their parents, Jules and Jake.
- Filmmaker's Essay: '‘I wanted children like mine to witness a positive story of Indigenous family life:’ Why director Jules Koostachin made the short film NiiSoTeWak
The twins’ ancestry is rooted in Attawapiskat First Nation, Moshkekowok territory, yet they’ve lived most of their lives in urban centers. Their Cree identity is informed by their parents’ and grandparents’ cultural experiences. Like many First Nations youth today, the twins are caught between contemporary and traditional worldviews, experiencing the shift between rural and urban settings.
NiiSoTeWak is an honest and raw glimpse of what it is like to be a twin and the reality of being a Cree twin in unfamiliar territory — unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, to be exact. In this short documentary film, Tapwewin and Pawaken explore the significance of their names and the stories behind them, including the challenge of having to sustain the significance of cultural ways away from their home territory.
A VisJuelles Production
Directed by Jules A. Koostachin
Produced by Shiren Van Cooten
Director of Photography
Post Production Sound Design and Sound Mix
Pacific Surf School
Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs