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s-yéwyáw: Awaken film image

s-yéwyáw: Awaken

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Created in collaboration with a trio of Indigenous multimedia changemakers, s-yéwyáw: Awaken allows us to bear poignant witness to intergenerational trauma, and to partake of the wisdom and insight of Indigenous Elders. Through various means, Ecko Aleck of the Nlaka’pamux Nation (Lytton, BC,) Alfonso Salinas of the shíshálh Nation (Sunshine Coast, BC,) and Charlene SanJenko of Splatsin of the Secwépemc Nation (Shuswap, BC,) are learning and documenting the traditional cultural teachings and legacies of their Elders, including the impacts of genocide resulting from Canada’s Indian Residential School (IRS) system. Gently guided and sometimes chided by their mentors, they seek to build a bridge that their children may cross.

Saturday West Coast Premiere: Leading the opening ceremony, honouring the life and legacy of Elder x wu’ p’ a’ lich, Barbara Higgins In loving memory (March 1933—November 2023,) Ecko Aleck and Alfonso Salinas – featured on-screen participants, fellow producers, writers, and Ecko is the film’s composer.

Team Statement

As Indigenous multimedia creators, and as parents, we are deeply committed to healing, finding our voice and speaking our truth. We can make a profound difference in our families and our communities, as this documentary shows. As fellow producers and writers in collaboration with settler changemakers we are sharing the stories of our Indigenous Elders with the world so that their voices are heard and their knowledge and wisdom are shared with an ethic of care. The teachings of our Indigenous Elders are needed now more than ever to navigate a changing world.

Ecko Aleck, Alfonso Salinas, Charlene SanJenko

I humbly walk with this film as a settler director at the request of Indigenous friends, filmmakers and the communities who invited me to bear witness to their truths and healing journeys. Guided by Indigenous teachings to bring our whole selves to the work, this film has initiated a profound process of decolonization. I hope it will serve as a model for other Indigenous and non-Indigenous teams working together, toward personal and systemic change.

Liz Marshall


Nov 25: Q&A with elders Sen7kiyap, Terry Coyote Aleck and hiwus, Calvin Craigan, director Liz Marshall and members of the film team


Liz Marshall


Kawaya7 (Ecko Aleck), Liz Marshall, Kwamanchi (Alfonso Salinas), Charlene SanJenko

Country of Origin






Content Warning

Coarse & sexual language


Open to youth!

92 min

Book Tickets

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Executive Producer

Liz Marshall

Associate Producer

Özgün Gündüz

Written & Produced

Ecko Aleck, Liz Marshall, Alfonso Salinas, Charlene SanJenko


Eva Anandi Brownstein, Liz Marshall, Inder Nirwan, Diana Parry


Eddie O.

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