underEXPOSED is a new series that airs this September on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network in Canada. It is a youth documentary series that brings action sports together with the Aboriginal language, art, and culture specific to the region of each episode. Featuring Cree photographer Mason Mashon and Metis journalist Tannis Baradziej.
I was brought into this picture through the good words of legendary snowboard photographer Mark Gallup. The one time I was lucky enough to shoot with him, it looked like he was standing around, hanging out, clicking his camera every once in a while. But when I seen his photos they blew my mind. It must be nice to be that good. He recommended me as a candidate for this show and voila. Adventures in TV Land-go!
Mount Cain, BC
Our crew of seven people started out on Vancouver Island, riding my home ski hill of Mount Cain. My family grew up skiing here, camping on the weekends in the parking lot. My dad was here when it opened in the 60’s and has some good stories. As a community run hill, it serves primarily the north island: loggers and fishermen. Hardworking people. I love it. Since it opened it remains largely unaltered, other than a couple new cabins and accomodations. Things still run on generators; there are no power lines. It’s just this magnificent cluster of mountains that are equally beautiful in the summer as they are in winter. I love picking blueberries in the fall here. Although, it has been a while.
Professional skier and woman of overall inspiration Leah Evans from Revelstoke came along as the extra athlete. She was golden, all the way. She runs a girls ski camp called Girls Do Ski. Her positive outlook and work ethic was so inspiring.
It really feels good to go home. Alert Bay is a small community off the northern end of Vancouver Island where my sisters and I spent our early years, and a lot of family still lives here. I love returning to visit; intergenerational relationships between families are so rare these days. Here people know where they come from. People take care of each other here. I’m glad through the years of fishing I was able to stay connected. What a gift it is to share this with people.
Jordon Demeulemeester promised me powder; I had my reservations about a place with a name as boastful as Powder King, but it held true to it’s name and delivered the goods: fresh, deep, blower interior pow. The secrets of this ski hill are delicate things seemingly reserved for the few. Jordon spent a good amount of time making sure our three days of riding were well spent, sharing the best that this hill has to offer.
Chris Rigets, a local photographer, spent some time on hill with us too. He had great style (all orange outerwear, a pipe for tobacco, beard) and a great artistic eye. Check out his blog at http://blissfullightphoto.tumblr.com/
The cultural component of this episode featured Jordan’s Kookum (grandmother) Henriette Landry. With pink glitter nail polish, a hunting hat, jogging pants, lumberjack plaid work shirt, rifle, and tattooed makeup, in a tinkerbell kitted out truck, we set out down the road to find ourselves a moose.
For Tannis and myself both it was our first time hunting. What a great introduction! She got the moose from 400 yards away. We spent the afternoon dismantling it-one of the most intensely emotional and connected sensations I have been through, and then enjoying the gift that it gave us for dinner. Sharing food is so powerful.
Those In Between Spaces
Vancouver is always so fun to stop in to. I have my favorite shops, my favorite restaurants, my list of people to visit. Vancouver this time included a screen test for the co-host position for this show I was in the middle of a true adventure with. Least said, it was a nice run.
We filmed the second portion of the “Sisters” episode in Vail, Colorado at the US Open of Snowboarding. My younger sister, Spencer, is a shining example of what hard work and dedication can achieve. I love her to bits and am proud as can be of her accomplishments. She inspires and uplifts me in many ways. She believes in the sky and her dreams, she dreams big, and it has carried her far.
Whenever I leave my house, it’s hard to know where I’ll end up. I try my best to plan things out and pack accordingly, but the world once it drags me from my residence doesn’t seem to want to let me go. Surrendering to life is a great thing. Difficult, but rewarding. Taking life as it comes and being available for it allows the possibility to discover newness in many ways. Perhaps it is the Irish in me, a bit of a gypsy finding it’s way out.
Discovering the beauty that can be in Board Sports
I have longed to integrate teachings and understandings derived from my work as a weaver in the Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw traditions. What a blessing it was to meet Tom Pohaku Stone, native Hawaiian surfer. He has brought back the art of creating surfboards as his ancestors once did, and riding them.
He talked about the transformation of a tree into a board. He talked about one life ending and another beginning. He performed ceremonies to mark and commemorate this transition of life shifting states. Exploring the storeage rooms of a museum is something I am familiar with. But visiting them with him to see the old surfboards was something else entirely, yet somehow the same. Pohaku even talked about his work being purchased as art, hanging on walls, and the importance of riding it first before selling it. I couldn’t help my amazement that he held the same traditions with his sport of surfing as our Northwest Coast people attach to dancing masks and weavings. I believe this man has huge things to share with athletes everywhere.
All The Way There, And Back Again
My journey ended in Vancouver with book concept meeting with Scriba Art Society, New Leaf Editions Press, and Dr. Martine Reid. Having a group of seasoned professionals help me in creating a solid concept to express my artistic vision and ideas is a blessing. The opportunity of this type of travel offers a rapid way of digesting the stuff that is the world in all it’s technological hubris and our poor traditions that are being steadily chewed up and consumed by it all. Change is happening so fast it seems increasingly we are losing context and meaning as to what it means to be a human. Finding the soul or self in society, and ways to integrate it honestly is the challenge of our times. True offerings of ourselves and each other are what we need. True contributions for the greater good of humanity. I hope like hell that my travel is not just a self serving and self gratifying thing of luxury. I hope that through it I am able to interpret the world and offer something useful.