Drone footage by filmographer Joshua Lemmons, such as this shot of the Stullawheets reservation in the Dogwood Valley, will be featured in a film documenting Yale First Nation elders’ stories and memories. The film and the book, which also includes traditional recipes, have been in the works for two years. Joshua Lemmons photo

Yale First Nation project preserves elders’ memories and recipes

Community members are encouraged to share their traditional food recipes by Feb. 28

Yale First Nation is documenting the collective memory of elders and they are doing it through food.

“It’s something everybody enjoys in the community. Everyone loves coming out to community gatherings, eating good food,” said Talon Coghill, Yale First Nation housing intern.

Yale First Nation elders and community members are encouraged to submit their recipes to the band office before Feb. 28 to be entered into a recipe contest. Recipes need to include at least one traditional ingredient, such as fish, wild berries or stinging nettles.

The contest, which promises prizes of cash and cooking supplies, is one part of a larger community memory project.

For the past two years, the project has been recording the stories of Yale First Nation elders, which will eventually be shared in a film and book.

Working with filmographer Joshua Lemmons, Coghill has been getting elders on camera, many for the first time.

“They’ve never really done anything like this, going in front of a camera. So we tried to tell them this what it’s about. It’s about passing on and sharing the information we have,” he said.

“Once they saw that, they were really excited about it. They had a lot to share.”

The project is documenting the personal stories of elders’ lives, their views of their community and their vision for the nation moving forward. Coghill said his own family members shared personal stories he had never heard before, of how they overcame struggles and how they see their community.

“That was really deep and moving for me, to experience that, and for them to want to share that,” he said.

The memory project is for the Yale First Nation primarily, but Coghill said historians, teachers and others who enjoy learning about local history will likely be interested. Money for the project comes from a federal government program, New Horizons for Seniors.

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