Film Review - From Earth to Sky (2021)

From Earth to Sky

National Indigenous History Month has passed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to learn about Indigenous people and their culture, to gain empathy and a better understanding of what Indigenous people have experienced through colonialism. You can check out local community events like the West Coast Summer Nights at Strathcona Park, every Wednesday evening through the summer or stop by UBC's Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre when it re-opens. There’s also a plethora of documentaries that you can watch from the comfort of your home. The most recent one I saw is From Earth to Sky. It’s a beautiful and captivating look at Indigenous culture through the eyes of Indigenous architects from all across Turtle Island including Canada’s first Indigenous architect and America’s first female Indigenous architect.

“I felt that young Indigenous architects, if they spoke from the heart it would show another way of looking at the world. To share that loving and caring for the land so that we’ll all have a future together.” – Douglas Cardinal, Canada’s first Indigenous architect.

Throughout our history, Indigenous people have been discriminated against, made to feel worthless and stupid and seen as lesser than compared to European settlers. Unfortunately, that mindset and bias is still very prevalent today. Each of the individuals featured in this film describe the struggles and challenges that they have had to overcome to achieve their dream of being an architect. It’s truly inspiring and their work proves that Indigenous people are capable of incredible things.

“Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

Seeing the buildings and structures these Indigenous architects have created is not only breath taking, but wondrous as well. A deep respect for the land, the people, and the culture and traditions are so delicately interwoven into each of these projects you see throughout the film.

“Listen to the elders and the youth. Looking to what inspires them in the future.”

Have you ever walked into a building and felt the heart and soul of the community in it? Compare that to other buildings that feel cold, sterile and unwelcoming. For Indigenous architects, their designs not only take into consideration of what the elders and youth want but they ensure that everything they create is done in a loving and caring way. You can see, and I’m sure feel, the heart and soul of the architect within each structure they’ve created.

I absolutely loved this documentary. It gave me such a great sense of pride in my own Indigenous heritage. Whether you have a love for architecture, a curiosity for Indigenous culture or just a lover of documentaries, this one is definitely worth watching!

From Earth To Sky is available to stream for free on TVO.org  

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