Filming the Story with Displaced Indigenous People from Little Saskatchewan First Nation and Lake St. Martin First Nation
Research objectives - Engage flood-impacted communities in each phase of participatory video and measure the videos’
Research methodology – Two films were assessed for process and product outcomes considering nine indicators of
participation with flood-impacted community members in each aspect of the film process and six indicators regarding the
film’s outreach and impact.
Key findings - Two First Nations over five years of displacement, due to flooding, were documented through two short
roughly 20 to 30 minute videos. Each film had more than 10people sharing their personal stories of the flood and
displacement, which were similar across the two communities. Elders suffering and harsh treatment was made visible to the
public, including policy-makers, to cause people to question the rationale of the province for targeting First Nation
communities with diverted water without needed supports for them. Community members engaged actively with all aspects
of film set-up, production and post-production but avoided the hands-on aspects of filming and editing. The films were
downloaded many thousands of times versus a few hundred for papers on the same topic and gained a wide audience through
being shown at film festivals, meetings, conferences and community workshops. The YouTube films were quicker to publish
than papers and appeared at least a year prior to academic papers despite sharing the same interview data. Policy
implications: To effectively mobilize knowledge and influence policy, film seems to be more effective than journal papers.
Being easier to publish than peer-reviewed papers means that important messages can be timely, while reaching a large,
diverse audience, to change the conversation and policy around an issue.
Recommendations for future research: More research on the impact of academic research videos should be undertaken to
determine how to effectively mobilize academic knowledge for different audiences and subject areas.