An Ode to my childhood
This film is a love story to Northen Michigan, and the culture and scenery that I, the director, grew up with. I spent my childhood surrounded by the lakes and forests of Northern Michigan, always fascinated by the wildlife there. It wasn't until later that I learned about the cultures that were connected to it, the Odawa and the Ojibwe tribes that had been there for multiple generations.
When I decided to make the film, I immediately contacted the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians with the intention of working with them to make the film as accurate as possible. They helped me to translate, narrate, and bring to life this story, encouraging me to narrate it myself in order to learn some of the language. Anishnaabemowin is a language with only about 50,000 native speakers, so to be able to retell this story the way it's meant to be heard is something I'm extremely grateful to them for.
To spread awareness about the real Sleeping Bear Dunes, and the culture behind it.
The Mother Bear Dune is disappearing. With every passing season, she's eroding more and more until someday soon she will no longer exist. The cause of this is colonization.
In the early days of Michigan colonization, fur traders traveling up and down the coast used the trees on her back for firewood, loosening the sand until there were no more roots to hold it in place. Later, when tourism became a popular industry in the area, dune buggies drove up the face of the dune, wearing her down more. This sacred place has literally been torn apart piece by piece by people with no respect for its story.
The mission of this film is to preserve an important piece of Odawa and Ojibwe culture, before she's gone forever.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes is a real place, with real people.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes is a National Lakeshore, on the North Western edge of Lake Michigan. The Mother Bear is a giant sand dune that stood as a landmark for generations of Anishinaabek traders, and the North and South Manitou Islands are the baby bears over which she watches. Dozens of shipwrecks have happened in the waters surrounding them.
The legend belongs to the Odawa and Ojibwe people of Northern Michigan, and has become a story that children in the area grow up with.
For more information about the Tribe, click here.
For more information on the Dunes, click here.
The music for the trailer is performed by the Red Shadow Singers of the Turtle Lodge, a drum group whose members represent multiple First Nations of Canada. The song, called the Spirit Bear song, is a celebration of the Spirit Bear coming to love us. It is a traditional Anishinaabe song that's been passed down for generations.