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Students Tell Saanich Myths Through Computer Animation

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It’s a Saanich myth familiar to many in this First Nations community: The creator turns Ciye, a woman picking blueberries, into a blue bird.

Now this and other ancient myths are being told through computer animation by students in a tribal school in British Columbia, the Saanich News reports.

Andy Smith-Harry, a student at the Lau’Welnew Tribal School has known this story for years, but for the past few months he has been working to bring it to life through a program called ANCEStor, a project of Camosun College, which uses traditional storytelling to engage aboriginal youth in computer programming.

Using a three-year, $54,000 grant from the Canadian government, Camosun assisted the students with their programs and helped develop a database of cultural images and sound effects that the students could tap, the newspaper recounted.

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The result: Last week Smith-Harry and five other students from seventh through 10th grades presented their one-minute stories and video games at Camosun’s Interurban campus.

Smith-Harry started with a template and set the scene with bushes and trees from the database, plus other characters, text bubbles for narration and his own voice, according to the Saanich News.

Longer term the plan is to create an eduational package of software, training materials and lesson plans that can be brought to remote communities, the newspaper said.